Life stands paralyzed
Pyres burn in makeshift
Crematoriums in
Vacant lands

Bodies lie stacked
The disease is killer
But apathy killed too,
As did lack of amenities

Country sends SOS
Help arrives from
Foreign shores
As Indians gasp
For lack of oxygen

She sits in the park,
Now a burning ghat
Amidst logs of wood
And watch the dying
Embers – a vacant look –
The last rites of the nation!

Author’s note:  India is experiencing Covid horrors. People are dying in hordes. Many have died not of corona, but of lack of oxygen. Sordid pictures are emerging from all corners of the country. The following is the link to a news story portraying the horror. It is just one among several.


Pranab Ghosh is a journalist, poet, author and translator. He has three published books to his credit. Air and Age (co-author; published from Kolkata), Soul Searching and Other Poems (first solo book of poems, published from Toronto) and Bougainvillea And Other Stories, a book of short stories in English, translated from the Bengali original. His poems have been published in Tuck Magazine, Dissident Voice, Literature Studio Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, Leaves of Ink, Weasel Press, Ochebooks.com, Harbinger Asylum, Spillwords, The Piker Press, Visual Verse, Hans India and Setu Magazine, among others. He is married and lives in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Read other articles by Pranab.