Poems by Ritoshree Chatterjee
Volume 2 | Issue 1 [May 2022]

Poems by Ritoshree Chatterjee <br>Volume 2 | Issue 1 [May 2022]

The Politics of Nolen-Gur1

by Ritoshree Chatterjee

Volume 2 | Issue 1 [May 2022]

I. Gathering: a Shiuli2 speaks

our skies are the brown of hollow domes where
only palm-sap drips in darkness

sleepless, we move with a hundred winters on our shoulders
and rugged barks – once our feet  – brave thorns
to pluck clay pots from the cradle of the night –

our only silvers, squeezed from stars.



II.  Honey-Dark

unclasped and spread – the nectar blushes in heat
smoke too, feels sweet from a distance
and all things sugar are often the colour of blood–
brewed darker than caramel welts on legs

our children frown when asked to climb date trees
some little feet – like those in cities – want
socks more than scars.



III. Sun Burns Leftovers

by morning, our toddy3 dreams all fizzle
to lands of endless palm fields, sated sleep

the gur – a base-born damsel of the dark
leaves the village in glass jars,
smears itself on sugar and cream in city light

all the rest are lost to night.


1- jaggery processed from the first flush of sap from the date palm tree (Phoenix sylvestris) during winters in and around Bengal.
2- skilled harvesters of date palm juice, the Shiulis span generations.

3- fermented beverage produced from date palm sap.



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