TagoreAwardWinningPoem-2020

 

The New Immigrant

 by Monalisa Dash Dwibedy, Toronto, ON, CANADA



Where are you from? You ask.

I am from the land of wealth and misery, 

The mystic range of Himalayan  mountains.

Land of bomb blasts, surgical strikes and sufferings,

Land of love, yoga, sun and devotion,

I am from a border village of India and Pakistan.

 

How many of your villagers have come here? You ask.

They are a few, alive with their past misfortunes,

Grabbing every little happiness, living one day at a time,

You will know when you see them.

That terrifying brightness in their eyes,

Tells about their life near the border of death,

They lived and died at the same time, many times,

A circle of infinite tiredness never leaves their face,

The way they laugh, you can envision their whole life in that laughter. No one can laugh like them.

 

This is a very new country, do you feel home? You ask.

On the hillside in the bright daylight,

I see the birds fly with same zeal in their flight,

The garden near that lawn,

I watch the new plants being born, the same way they are born on my land.

When it rains here, leafs shine.

Hungry soil soaks the first rain like a sponge.

The smell of rain drenched earth brings the smell of home.

This summer, your city with blue-white skies, 

High-rise buildings, tulips in the spring and Camellia in winter, suddenly felt like home.

 

Additional Description: Canada is a country of immigrants. The above poem is inspired by the story of immigrants who migrate from the boarders of India and Pakistan. They have something in common. Each has a story to tell, a story of death. When they migrate to Canada, it takes substantial time to get settled. The struggle of life ends but the starts the new struggle to earn a living. Still they live, laugh and love life. Slowly, they make Canada their new home.



Judges


Kae Morii - Japan

A. Molotkov - USA / RUSSIA

Avik Gangopadhyay - West Bengal, India

 I have been working on Diaspora, diasporic consciousness, the pang of displacement, cultural and psycho-social identity crisis for the last 20 years. Authored books on the same, attended seminars but a poem that ingresses into the consciousness -- be it on “unwanted immigrant” or on the life at the “border of death,” or when “smell of home” overpowers “misfortunes” to embrace the “hungry soil” as a “new home” for sustenance --enables one to envision reality from a perspective.

Congratulations Monalisa Dash Dwibedy. Your approach is different from others, your achievement is truly commendable. Many dream, some try and only a few achieve. You are an achiever today.

Everyone wants success, but it only follows those who make a true approach to get it. No matter how big a crowd may be, a poet like you always stands out.

Avik Gangopadhyay, West Bengal, India
Judge



Monalisa Das Dwibedy’s poem The New Immigrant starts by invoking an interlocutor – a “you”, which whom the speaker enters a conversation. In this imagined conversation, the speaker reveals the suffering of her people and the effects of their prolonged exposure to violence. The poem investigates what is and what becomes home, and why – an insightful and empathetic inquiry into changing fates and the way new circumstances reframe prior experiences. This is a poem that invites us to pay attention, to ask questions.

A. Molotkov, USA / RUSSIA
Judge
The New Immigrant' by poet Monalisa Dash Dwibedy, naturally draws readers into the scenery woven by fine emotional expression to resonate and arose empathy. The first two lines alone are enough to gauge the extraordinary ability to casually inform readers of the problems and difficulties of the homeland,  and the contrast of 'Wealth' and 'Misery' impresses her deep affection to the land. In the second stanza, the suffering and sadness that had to leave home are caved, but it turns by overlapping herself on the flying birds, into an open mind with natural beauty.  The smell of rain, the moisture of heart appears immigrants' painful sorrow, and her poem has its outstanding beauty.

Kae Morii, Japan
Judge
Multiple emotions empathetically conveyed in a silent and beautiful way, the nostalgia and pride in ones homeland at the same time seeing things from a foreigners perception and so on are the highlights of this poem

'You will know when you see them...that terrifying brightness in their eyes...life near border of death...' Aren't these lines so powerful in its expressive quality...?

A new home land were ‘tulips and camellia flowers’ ...and in a comparison with poets own native land ...she merges it like 'when it rains, leafs shine and birds fly with same zeal' These kind of beautiful indirect expressions can be done only by poets ...isn’t it ?

I adore and appreciate the poet and poetry...

Gopakumar Radhakrishnan,
Founder - Rabindranath Tagore Award