top of page

A Death Lesson

by Shamik Banerjee

I woke up from a decent sleep—more sound

Than all the intermittent ones. A glad

Mood came to me, then something strange occurred:

It seemed as if I barely touched the ground,

My weight was feather-like, my flesh unclad,

Some voices from the joining room I heard.

On reaching there I saw a seated crowd

Of relatives and neighbours, dressed in white.

They circled my old parents who were weeping

And gave their sympathy. There was a shroud.

The corpse's face filled me with shock and fright—

I saw myself so motionlessly sleeping.

A garland of bright flowers draped my chest,

And paste of sandalwood adorned my face,

A pack of incense sticks perfumed the room;

My cousins tended to each outer guest—

A constant murmuring soon filled the place,

Yet none could see me. I did not know whom

I could approach to say I was not dead.

I cried out, "I'm alive!", but none could hear.

Rapped on the panes, but that too was in vain.

"So many sinful things I've done and said.

Hence, their resulting Karmas brought me here."

I told this to myself to ease the pain.

The guests then started leaving one by one.

They played their part, proceeded back to life.

The neighbours had to do their daily chores.

My relatives were tired—their mourning done.

This home then had a husband and his wife

And their young son gone to the airy shores.

I could not stop myself from not believing

That this was true, I'd left my earthly stay.

My parents were bereft, their lives were shattered;

Oh how I prayed to God to ease their grieving,

Regretted my unsympathetic way

But, then it was too late and nothing mattered.

My dream was dead. I could no longer be

A poet. I wept but tears did not fall.

I wished to turn the hourglass of fate

To once again embrace humility

Like I did as a child. "I love you all",

I wished to say aloud and not to wait.

How easily a moment is quick taken,

How late we realise the worth of love,

We dig our own pitfalls and later weep;

As I felt these, my soul was hardly shaken

As if a lightning struck me from above

And perspiring I woke up from my sleep.


Shamik Banerjee is a poet from India.


bottom of page