Celebrating the Woman in Art | A Poem by Lopamudra Banerjee

Note: This poetic tribute is inspired by the depiction of the quintessential woman in these three artworks (paintings and sculptures) of the 17th-18th century artists, mostly European, Renaissance period artists, seen during my visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas.

I know you will immerse in my shimmering breasts and the river poems traipsing in between.
I know my weeping willow and my flower-decked dainty form will be your muse in many art-laden nights.
I know my black, clipped wings,
Dying to burst free
will be your cherished souvenir
of my elemental ‘jihaad’.
I know, my dear poet and firebrand lover,
You will turn to my swan songs,
my revelations and
my celebratory curves a zillion times
To make romance out of a fallen petal.
You know the blood and the dripping wet between my thighs and a babe nestled in my arms, suckling my surrendering nipples, threadbare,
Makes for a damn good tapestry, ‘a thing of a beauty’, ‘a joy forever’.
I know the layers of my own skin
And the molten lava spewing, the death of poems in my nooks and crannies.
I know how I have babbled and wiggled in your inspired palms when you have become other-worldly in your quest
To invoke me, craft me, your ‘lady’, your ‘crowning glory’,
Your ‘helluva woman’.
For once, dip your ink in fading sepia
And craft me like a fluid, sexless dribble, like a ferocious black flood.
For once, follow me in a black moon night
and sculpt me like a trampled, torn mosaic, a cancerous bud.
I know there is enough poetry in my
Infertile steam, my burnt morsels
More so, than in my petrichor tunes.
Only, you need to know them,
Nurture their fumes.
I know my frailty, my white succulent stories, as much as I know my dark, tarnished moon.
In my bare, shriveling form, my dear
I wait, for your sex, your art,
Your poetry to know this too!

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Lopamudra Banerjee is a writer, poet, editor and translator, currently based in Dallas, USA. She has a Masters’ degree with thesis in creative nonfiction writing from the Department of English, University of Nebraska at Omaha and also a Masters’ degree in English from the University of Calcutta. She is the co-editor of Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas, published in collaboration with Readomania and Incredible Women of India. 

Thwarted Escape: An Immigrant’s Wayward Journey, her debut memoir/nonfiction novel (Authorspress, 2016), has recently received Honorable Mention at the Los Angeles Book Festival 2017 (category: memoir/autobiography/nonfiction). The manuscript has also been a First Place Category Winner at the Journey Awards 2014 hosted by Chanticleer Reviews and Media LLC. Her poetry, essays, stories and articles have appeared in numerous renowned e-zines, journals and anthologies, both in India and the US. She has received the Reuel International Award 2016 (category: Translation) for her English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s novella Nastanirh (The Broken Home) instituted by The Significant League, a renowned literature group in Facebook. She has also been a featured poet performing at Dark Moon Poetry and Arts, Dallas, USA. She is the deputy editor of Learning & Creativity e-mag and an editor of Blue Pencil, the editorial imprint of Learning & Creativity.  

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