Minefields of Memory | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 14, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:16 AM, November 14, 2020

Poetry

Minefields of Memory

(this poem is dedicated to all the loved ones That I and so many others have lost in this pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives)

Ceaseless the struggle to comprehend how

Such cataclysmic upheavals, such seismic seizures

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Altering the landscape of lives,

the very topography of trauma

The entire rhythm to which millions would

Eat and sleep and breathe

Could be heralded by the unlooked for arrival

Of dread droplets of invisible pestilence,

Spreading like a phantom army to lay siege to the world.

Eternity beckons with the hope of reunion

But in this realm temporal of tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

The silent spinning of the sun 

Dances its mechanical measure,

Marking the paralytic passing of empty pain filled days;

 

Meanwhile the minefields of memory

Lie strewn with unexploded grenades

Ready to explode at the slightest touch—

The faint smell of perfume lingering in the air,

An empty chair, a turn of phrase used in casual conversations,

The most mundane debris of shattered lives once shared together

Can cause the shrapnel of timeless moments,

Glittering like glass in the reflection of teardrops

To scatter in a shower of rainbow crystals

Forming patterns in the dappled

Sunlight and shadow land of love and loss,

And the fertile phantoms of the past

Then dance in now silent rooms

Once peopled by love and laughter.

 

Batool Sarwar is an Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Dhaka.

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