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Absence and other poems

Poile Sengupta

Juca Máximo, ‘Absence II’ | Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons


Two men sat gradually

down on a park bench, knees creaking.

One said to the other

– You do not look that old,

   Your face is strong.

His companion mused awhile then said

– I seek a jewel in every moment of the day always

   I find some.

The other clicked his dentures 

into place, he said


– Your faith is strong.



The absence is as wide and full

as cupboards with clothes suddenly 

abandoned, a line of footwear, mouths

open, waiting to be foot fed, a wristwatch 

still ticking 



They lie who say the missing return

in the slope of a child’s gesture, the tone

of a smile, in photographs weary

with the telling.

These are pixels that emerge randomly, uselessly,

They cannot make a presence throb.


Memories sharp as rose thorns snap up

from the undergrowth, mired and marred,

we slither, we slip, we laugh like crows.


Nobody told us

Mourning wears motley. 


The Dictator

When it came to the hands,

work stopped.

The Maker said, “This piece seeks

unencumbered power;

It has decided 

it will not be informed by majesty.

Make the hands small, counterfeit,

they will never hold a sceptre

never nestle a shepherd’s crook.”

… And so it was.

Poile Sengupta is a writer, playwright and poet.