(Poetry Compitition for General)

Compititions : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Compititions - 3

Award Winning Poems
All-India Poetry Competition

Organized in collaboration with the

British Council, India

The Poetry Society in collaboration with the British Council, India  organsed nine  All-India Poetry Competitions  since 1988.  Thousands of poets have participated in these competitions.  Nine volumes of short listed poems were published under the series  POETRY INDIA.  The following are the names of the award-winners:

Third  National Poetry Competition :  1991

The judges of the third All-India Poetry Competition were Mr. Peter Forbes, Editor, Poetry Review (London), Mr. J.P. Das, Mr. Nissim Ezekiel, Mr. Keshav Malik and Dr. Lakshmi Kannan. Dr. Neil Gilroy-Scott, First Secretary, Cultural Affairs, the British Council Division, and I, were the ex-officio members of the committee of judges.

The Awards

First prize

Rajlukshmee Debee Bhattacharya (Pune) for her poem "Punarnava".

Special Prizes

1. Hemalatha Shetty (Madras) for his poem "The Archaka".

2. Krishna Tateneni (Ohio, USA) for the poem "Re-Entry".

3. Sudeep Sen (New Delhi) for the poem "New York Times".

Special prize for a young poet: Ms. Shampa Sinha (Australia) for the poem "The Differences".

Award Winning Poems

PUNARNAVA   by  Rajlukshmee Debee Bhattacharya

(The Ever-renewing)

(A creeper that renews itself, if you cut it: Jnanendramohan’s Bengali dictionary.)


In some rainy month, did you decide

to climb up our lichened wall, to reach

the rusty tin-roof, transforming

its shabbiness into velvet-green,

to hang your emerald-pendants

around the neck of our home?

All knew the perennial Madhavilata;

the fragrant Hasnuhana; queen of the night.

They gaped when they saw you

running wild on our roof –

Velvet-green, strange, unknown.

We shouted with glee, "It is Punonnoba … Punarnava."

That you had medicinal properties

that your juice soothes and heals

we never knew till the Vaid

sent his servant,

a demon who expertly climbed our roof

hacked away at its emerald-fringed coverlet!

Oh the despair and the hope

the running out in soaking rain

to watch your extending tendrils,

sprouting leaves,

growing in greenness … Punarnava …

eternal companion on the root-top.

That home was left behind,

as birth-strings snapped.

A refugee, wanderer, I

look for you, but no one here

knows your name. No one knows

a velvet-green medicinal creeper.

Lost to me, Punarnava,

your shade, your cool décor,

your healing magic.
THE ARCHAKA  by  Hemalatha Shetty

Bone thin, in a tired dhoti

clinging to his bare frame,

he intoned the Vedas

with the weariness of years,

spent in placating Gods

that were silent to melody and to man.

Hungry eyes scann’d faces

for the day’s alms-

Meanwhile those Vedic verses

recited by rote,

mocked a deity de-mystified -

Only in dreams he sought his God -

without shape,

without name, Someone who gave him,

more than supper and shame.

RE-ENTRY  by  Krishna Tateneni

You’re going home, says the girl,

so kiss me goodbye.

I tell her this kiss is special-

it has crawled out into the night

from a cheap iron trunk rusting

in a cobwebbed attic corner

with storybooks and the rest

of my childhood.

I remember my sister ruffling my hair;

how in bed after dad turned out the lights,

she told me made-up funnies about Laurel and Hardy;

how quarrels led to violent exchanges

of words, pillows, and slippers; how I screamed

at mother trying to talk me into

unlocking the bathroom door,

"Where you gonna find her a husband?"

I dread the return to childhood;

the opening of channels that have contracted

into narrow veins; the rediscovery of home;

the smelling of ghosts in familiar rooms

with unfamiliar arrangements; the finding

of the cleaned-out attic;

the hovering above my head

of the future.

NEW YORK TIMES  by Sudeep Sen

Every morning I scurry

through the streets of New York, turn around theavenue,

pass the red and white awning of the Jewish deli,

walk out with a bagel or croissant or spilled coffee,

disappearing underground

speeding in a subway of mute faces, barely bitten the bagel,

barely unfolded The Times, barely awake.

Before I realize, it’s lunch-time,

and then late evening,

being herded home with the flow of humankind,

up and down elevators, escalators, staircases, and ramps.

I’m back on the street again, late night,

though early enough to glance at next morning’s paper.

In this city, I count the passage of time

only by weekends

finked by five-day flashes I don’t even remember.

In this city where walking means running,

driving means speeding,

there seem to exist many days in one,

an ironical and oblique efficiency.

But somewhere, somehow, time takes its toll,

overburdened, over utilized, and malnourished,

as the tunnels seeping under the river’s belly slowly cave in,

the girders lose their tension like old dentures, and

the underground rattles with the passing of every train.

After all, how long can one stretch time?

Illusions can lengthen, credit ratings strengthen,

even Manhattan elongates with every land-fill,

but not time, it takes its own sweet time

the way it always has and always will,

not a second more, not a second less.

THE DIFFERENCE  by  Shampa Sinha

The new housemaid came today-

a tall slender dark-haired girl of twelve

who wanders deer-like from room to room

Untrained as yet

she cannot control her fingers

picks up, touches too much

and stares without shame

as if she had a right to

Soon enough when she is allocated the space

on the floor in the corner of the kitchen

for her meals she will learn

that though she may live with us

and travel with us

and clear away our dirt,

there are distances, codes of conduct

which must be observed

at all times

and, as she realises,

that, because she was born

more hungry than I

her world cannot ever fuse with mine

her eyes will stop

gazing up at me

and asking me why.

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