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Scattered Pearls - "The Scarlet Rain"

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We are extremely excited to introduce our new column "Scattered Pearls" by Lopa Banerjee. 
 
About Lopa : Lopa Banerjee is a freelance writer, poet, blogger, wife and mother of two beautiful girls, Srobona and Sharanya. She is also in her final year of studying creative nonfiction writing at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has just completed her memoir, a book-length collection of personal essays and stories on her childhood, motherhood and her internal journey titled 'Thwarted Escape: A Journey of Migrant Trails and Returns'. Besides, she writes poetry, reads classic, romantic and post-colonial poets as intimate voices that echo her own helplessness, pain and anguish. She has been a consultant at the Writing Center of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and now participates in writing workshops and reading events in the Midwest of US. A recipient of the Ralph Warden/Robert Spire scholarship for being an outstanding graduate student in 2012, her poetry, essays, articles and book reviews have appeared and are forthcoming at 'Prairie Fire', '13th Floor Magazine', 'Fine Lines','Yahoo Voices', 'The Mind Creative', 'Incredible Women of India' and 'Ampersand Review'.
 
 
 
About "Scattered Perals"in Lopa's words : What are words, anyway? They were there, my first milky blabbering's that delighted my parents, they were there, my first attempt to construct a sentence with meaning, they were there, in every step of my way, in my rhetorical journey to womanhood. Like scattered pearls, I have collected them, internalized them, nurtured them and put them down on paper, in my quest to understand the tapestry of creation. With these scattered pearls, today, I contemplate and reminisce, with them I have come to know of my little moments of epiphany which I may share with you in this little space. They have remained with me all the way, while growing up in the outskirts of Kolkata, India with my small family, as I witnessed the world in its simple, every day paraphernalia. They have chased me every day, as I have passionately sought my creative forces and the true significance of my femininity. Today, working my way as a wordsmith, these scattered pearls are helping me define my self-identity as a writer, an artiste, a partner and a mother every single day. In this column, I will unfurl them, one at a time, for you to discover their truth, beauty and mystery. 
 
 
Lopa's first poem for this column is : "The Scarlet Rain' is a poem which is a part of of my recently finished poetry compilation 'All My Plain, Earthen Songs'. It celebrates a woman's body, the first shock of knowing about our menstrual cycle when we are very young, and the gradual surrendering and discovery of our body, our sexuality. 
 
 
 
The Scarlet Rain
 
 

 

 

(1) 
 
When I was a little over nine, I smelled flower in my bath.
 
Every night, my dreams rained, the flowers swept along.
 
My dreams were pieces of cut glass, odors entered
 
And withered away, the night hung in my mouth
 
Stale, unwashed, bleeding away.
 
 
Unzipped, squatting on the bathroom floor 
 
The blood washed the night from my flesh,
 
Then swirled around the wet tiles like shimmering fish.
 
My mother and aunt supplied cloths, tied
 
Napkins in tight strings as blood gushed inside me,
 
Hammering words in my ears, insisting I should be happy
 
To grow up, surrender to this monthly leaking.
 
They called it by strange, funny names, 

Tickling laughter, making it a reminder, 

A lovely, shy inheritance. 

I smelled flesh every time I ate fruit,
 
In my tongue, I tasted the stench of chopped, peeled skin.
 
 
When I was a little over nine, I walked dainty,
 
Fairy-like, my smiles spreading with sparkles
 
And songs. I bled and smelled slaughtered animals,
 
And rain. I saw in colors, beautiful ones,
 
The dark unknowing, the swelling of seeds, buds, flowers.
 
The year revolved around spotty clothes, fumbling,
 
The bumps and holes of hormonal wavering.

 

 

(2)
 
When I was a little over nine, and bled for the first time,
 
I didn't know my lips, the sweet swelling of curves.
 
I didn't know how bodies floated, shivered in caress
 
I didn't know how girls were slapped, blindfolded and raped.
 
I didn't know the voyeurism of men.

 

 

              (3)
 
My body has weathered the cycle and calendar
 
Of bleeding, birthing, milking. My body is a moving train
 
With a pout, a cleavage, and legs that spread
 
In between cycles. My body stops at the edge of surrender
 
Resting against yours. Feel my heart breathing a love poem,
 
Or coax my flesh into yours. Know my blood, tears and sweat,
 
Or veil my face within locked bars. I bleed the scarlet rain
 
Of generations—surging, writhing, crackling, moaning,
 
Boiling like stew, melting away.

 

 

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Image Courtesy : http://pictify.com/184335/young-woman-35

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The scarlet rain

It is a lovely and bold poem that captures a topic that few care to write on yet one that marks some important beginnings and ends the innocence of childhood in an almost gory way. Well done Lopa Banerjee. Kudos to you.
-Reena Prasad

Scattered Pearls

You have, indeed, collected the scattered pearls and strung them together in this searing, moving poem about the beginnings of womanhood.. I salute you Lopa!

The Scarlet Rain

Oh myyy!! I have no words to describe how good this poem is!! Every woman will relate to this mature, yet tender portrayal of something that is so natural yet such a taboo subject. Eloquent, real, touching -- overall very impressive write! Waiting for more :)

- Gargi Sarkhel Bagchi

The Scarlet Rain

The last stanza took me to a state of silence and contemplation. Lopadi's. writing has increased in me, respect for the women and their very existence.

The Scarlet Rain

This comment was done by me

Anand Sehgal

Just when I think I've read

Just when I think I've read your best, you better yourself yet again! Lovely Lopa di. More power to the pen, more love & sensitivity to the heart.

Scattered Pearls - "The Scarlet Rain"

This is wonderful, that's just how budding womanhood is felt by every woman. - Jayati Chakrabarti

One Scarlet Pearl...Rain....

Beautifully written Lopa....something we as young women, girls all experience and feel....and often are so surprised at...not always a good surprise. Your words flow beautifully linking this red pearl to the beauty and love to come....

The Scarlet Rain..

Lopa...A very bold and sensitive subject and brilliantly attempted and crafted. Each word carefully chosen and put it beautifully with raw emotions...Outstanding poem...claps :-) - Maaya Dev Nair

The Scarlet Rain

Lopa,

I have tears in my eyes as I read your poem. This is undoubtedly one of the best pieces I have ever read. The bold and beautiful, simple yet subtle words truly signify the depth of a woman's life, how much she goes through from childhood through motherhood, and accepts every physical change , while growing spiritually inside as time goes by. I had a very empowering and elevating experience as a reader of this poem. Hats off to your creativity, my dear! God bless!

Sonali.

The Scarlet Rain

Lopa,

I have tears in my eyes as I read your poem.The bold and beautiful, simple yet subtle words have profound impact. The poem truly depicts and signifies the true beauty of a woman's life; how she travels from childhood through motherhood, through all the physical and emotional changes, growing spiritually from inside.
One of the best pieces of modern poetry I have read! Felt very empowered and elevated as a reader.Hats off to your creative genius! God bless you my dear!

Sonali.

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