2021 REWIND: Powerful women centric poems of the year by Award Winning Poet Pragya Gogoi that you shouldn’t miss

Pragya Gogoi is carving a niche for herself in contemporary Indian poetry with her powerful poems ever since the release of her debut bestselling book. With a handful of awards in already her kitty for her poetry pieces and record-breaking book written in just 3 days, the talented young poet is gearing up for book number 2 where she is laying special emphasis on women centric themes. Here’s a collection of some of her best written women centric poems this year. 

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Tw- Sexual abuse

For the longest I can recollect,

I have floundered to fathom this country’s hypocrisy.

I discern tongues enumerating prayers on temple altars

where flowers congest below the idols of goddesses,

the same oblation carrying hands reverting home

to abuse women.

My fingers, bleeding poetry on most nights

Fizzled to determine values of x’s and y’s in labyrinthine equation systems

And hence when I was 12, I got a tutor at home

who calculated the size of my breasts more than variable values

And taught me more of human anatomy than algebra,

His lewd eyes scanning my body more precisely than x-rays ever did. 

He asked me one evening if I would sleep with him

 and pinned my hands against the wall, stuffing my mouth with cotton 

oblivious that women had the sun burning betwixt her thighs

and flames lighting up her belly;

she is made of wildfires in her hair 

and embers trapped between fingernails

to burn libidinous hands into cinders

and drown oceans with her eyes.

Men like him, soaked in lust,

do not understand we are no less

And that every time they try to smirch us in cloistered roads-

at dusk or dawn, envisaging us 

to wobble before their feet like petrified kittens,

women made of fire

exfoliate their tainted imprints,

absolving her divine body 

with three drops of honey and a bucket of milk

and fills herself with lemon scents

to bury the rotten smell of their mouths.

Men like him, aberrating us to understand love

in bruised skin and sealed lips,

do not realize,

women of fire rise again….


I grew up betwixt 2 bashful towns

And a 3rd loud city.

Memories- a lion’s share of it

now hazy

Like trees through a cloud of dust.

But from traces I can recollect,

my mother didn’t teach me

about pedophiles.

She didn’t tell me

those hairy hands of uncles

caressing my neck and inchoate breasts

wasn’t love.

My mother, raising 2 daughters

didn’t teach me to love myself.

On dinner tables,

I swallowed less of rice

and more spoonful of self loathe.

She served on the chinaware

epitomes of ideal kids,

scorning how I wasn’t like them.

And tells me how she yearned

I was one.

My mother, carrying in her tender back

the sack of patriarchal rules

didn’t teach me

that women had a voice,

to stand up for themselves

in vanquishing male households

And have a universe

tucked beneath their kohl eyes.

My mother, seeing me bleed

didn’t teach me periods were


I grew up around men

hushing about bleeding

Conjecturing how it made me unholy

And how speaking of it upfront

of a round table family conference

made me a flagrant criminal behind bars.

My mother didn’t teach me

“Log kya kahenge” was frivolous.

Instead, she taught me to walk

around the periphery of it.

My dreams could conflagrate into cinders

but tongues of other people

were paramount.

My mother didn’t teach me

that it wasn’t erroneous to fall in love.

She told me how society will talk

with their vicious tongues,

and taught me good girls

only garland strangers chosen by family

And bad girls fall in love.


The 127th night,

Hands pinned to clean white sheets,

My nostrils inhale the smell of cigars-

The one that reminds me of burnt coffee

And the ashtray in our smoldering kitchen. 

I hassle to see him,

My gaze perforating the clouds of smoke

Circumventing the pipe 

Almost admonishing to asphyxiate me,

Blinding my eyes- watery and haggard. 

He tucked under my blouse

10 crisp notes of 500,

Reminding me of how my body was bought each night. 

I obscure tears in the creases of my profaned skin

And tuck my izzat in folds of my saree

Letting his brown hands explore 

the mountains and craters on my body’s terrain,

Nefarious nails and teeth engraving asperous lines-

The color of charred bricks on my fair back,

The amalgamation almost resembling the roots of the old Banyan in our village. 

My body feels like raw meat,

Devoured in bits, each night by a different vulture. 

At other times, my body resembles a bush of spring blossoms

The petals withering away with every lustful touch. 

6 summers ago, I saw my identity burning-

A slow, mephitic death; the ashes buried in my collarbones.

My sarees exuded sharam, the torn blouses sniveling in reticence,

Coerced to beguile the flock of flesh hungry hombres. 

My kids- whose fathers I don’t know, wail at home for rice

One of them, Kabir looks like Abdul– who paid me each night for a month

And whom I never saw again.

The other evening, Kabir came home crying

The villagers at the teeming village market called me kasbi  (whore) he said.


The word burns my throat,

 like a stream of hot charcoal cascading down my esophagus

to incinerate my bones and rotten flesh. 


Will the sharam conflagrate in this fire too?

I hold my inflating belly in tears,

A 3rd child whose father I didn’t know,

A 3rd child who will have his veins poisoned with my lewd blood,

A 3rd child who will grow under the canopy of my tainted identity. 


 Do I even have an identity?