August Rituals

5/5 - (9 votes)

Author: Ritamvara BhattacharyaA sample cover of the book: olive green coloured sari with gold embossed nameplate and lettering for the title and author's name. The border of the sari lines the right hand margin of the cover.
Pages: 56
Year of Publication: 2022
Price: Rs 200
978-81-956648-7-0 (9788195664870)

About the Author
Ritamvara received the Nissim International Poetry Prize and the Tagore Poetry Prize in 2020. Her poems have been published in portals like Muse India, Café Dissensus, The Sunflower Collective and Plato’s Cave. Her debut chapbook, In the mirror, our graves, with writer Ravi Shankar N (2021), received accolades. She is an avid lover of life, literature and colours.

About the Book
In his foreword to the book, Tim Tomlinson writes:

“In these pages of lyrics, haibun, prose poems, and free verse, the same superabundance of stimulating detail — fragrance, colour, meteorological event — occurs and unfolds as naturally as flowers lean toward light. In its pages, the landscape is lyric and alive, familiar yet strange — “jacaranda trees give off a cellophane effect”, and trousers overturned on a wooden chair “are theatre to the imagination”. Where there is fear, it’s “the affectionate fear of pink begonia flowers”. The sky “peels like an orange” and the sun hangs on an umbilical cord, as though worlds are contained in other worlds from which other beings peer, and one feels as if one has entered a vibrant colour-soaked surface of a pichwai painting…

The great Canadian songwriter/poet Leonard Cohen once dismissed “Suzanne”, the song that made him famous, as “mere journalism”. Journalism, perhaps: there was an actual Suzanne, who lived near a river, who served Chinese tea and oranges, and who wore vintage clothes. But certainly not mere, for without them, the song would not have soared into the vast megacosm. August Rituals is similarly anchored, and therefore similarly aloft. You’ll want to travel with it.”


To My Mother Who Has Forgotten to Write

Her face draws circles into an unknown hemisphere,
in a cocoon of eternal silence,
she feeds on love and light.
Her eyes open up
as closed windows to the cotton clouds,
her fingers are a pattern of two sparrows
balancing on an overhanging branch,
her hair like waves swings back and forth on the cold marble,
her nape, her navel, her vagina
clap like a frolicking sea —
A monument of untold words
hiccups at her first stroke on the page of a torn notebook,
the afternoon inhales in her.
My mother hums a Ramprasad song —
The trapped moths in the sofa
come back to life.
My mother, a Goddess, a God of everything
that has died —
If I knew
how to write an invocation to the Goddess,
if I knew
how to make the galaxies in her eyes
whisper to her once again,
if I knew
how to bury her spent married life,
if I could tell her
Ma, you are my little girl,
perch on my forehead
and draw a mandala of the seventh heaven.

39 poems