Amlanjyoti Goswami

A different Shore (for Leonard Cohen) by Amlanjyoti Goswami

A different shore

(for Leonard Cohen)

Hum those perfect words of song
In your body.
Till they come, hum,
You are all there is.

The perfect words breathe a demon
In your heart
You are all there is.

Later, seek, the kindness
Of those who believe
In feeling – imperfect –

The twisted turns of leaves
Jagged in the storm…

The unfinished house, standing on four stilted feet,
The jar without a cover –
Marking your bones.

Things don’t quite add up
Yet you go searching – the hunt
for perfect feelings, words, deeds.
You are sure – you won’t be
Disappointed – or –

A new leaf turns up
At your door
You flutter your wings.
Window a morning opening.
Finally, find the calm
More humane.

You have left seeking
A different shore…



AMLANJYOTI GOSWAMI’s poems have appeared in publications in India, Nepal, the UK, Hong Kong, South Africa, Kenya and the USA, including the recent Forty under Forty: An Anthology of Post-Globalisation Poetry (Poetrywala, 2016). He grew up in Guwahati, Assam and lives in Delhi.


Amlanjyoti Goswami’s spring


Two Sisters

The first time, clanging utensils next door
A little late for washing, but who knows.
The cold knows no reason

Then, the swish and splash of a bath. Our bath.
The door opens
A bucket lying idle, dust borne ages

We felt something, a shiver,
Blamed it on the cold
The spirits inside

Then, finally, a knock
On the door, we open, finally.
And let the spring air in

Two sisters, the chowkidar said at morning.
They come and go
Sometimes, they are in the village festivals too

Once they slapped the new engineer
Like a breeze,
Asked for tea, laughed.

They laugh, so lovely,
They are, so beautiful, like air and water
And the dark forest nearby.



Sunlight talks to Zenzi these days.
She mumbles, yes
And sunlight listens, and falls in love slanted.
All quiet, they talk a silent language.
Her eyes follow, light’s trail,
Hopscotch plays, now dappling here, now there.
She is surprised, and shows it!
How light moves, so swift, a comet’s tail.
Her eyes turn, earth and venus,
Waiting for light’s next move, cat and mouse.

Amlanjyoti Goswami’s poems have appeared in The Caravan, Mint, IQ: The Indian Quarterly, Indian Literature (Sahitya Akademi) and The North East Review. His stories have been published by Himal SouthAsian andPapercuts: Desi Writers Lounge. He grew up in Guwahati, Assam and lives in Delhi.