“Blue and Crimson” by Priya Chatterjee

by Priya Chatterjee ’25

Winner- Best Poetry

The ground quakes
The grey flakes drift down in a rush
The shouts and bangs are drowned out
Replaced a dull ringing
The world is quiet,
for the first time in a long long time
I close my eyes as ash covers my bloody wounds
Gentle, grey, and soft like snow
But burning, burning with the fury of the fallen in uniforms
But soft, so soft
And for a second, just one second,
I’m at peace
It’s time now— time to open my eyes
A hazy sort of sheen distorts my vision
I feel weightless; my pains momentarily alleviated
Detached from the bloodshed— from myself,
I watch the scene in a dreamlike state
When I was young,
My mother used to read me stories
Along the rolling hills of green pastures
Peace and prosperity
Lies, lies I now see
Now.
When I was young,
My mother used to read me stories
Words are power
I had hoped.
No longer am I naive
No longer do I fancy myself moral or just
Not when my hands still clutch the slender rifle
Not when my hands are crimson and stained with blood
So so much blood
The dirt and trenches and troops and explosions
all swim in the overwhelming tsunami of blood
Blood gushing

Blood on every one of our hands
Blood Underneath our nails
Blood caking our skin
Too too much
Blood
The sun will never rise again in this gloomy sky to splash the world with gold
The clouds will forever stream not rain but blood
The stars no longer twinkle as they did back home,
instead, they turn away disappointed,
never to grace us with their light again
and I’m overtaken by sorrow
For the vivid world in which I first experienced love and joy
For the wounded world now covered in blood and dirt and fire and colors of sorrow
Sorrow
Then the most miraculous thing
A delicate blue flower
Not trampled
Not burnt
Not withered or grey or dying
it covers the land with brilliant opalescent blues
The sky and oceans and lakes
all swimming within the delicate petals
And my heart swells with love as death wraps its cold grip around me
As hands full of poor souls pull me from the dull and ever so bright world
As the last of the miraculous blue flowers fade away
As I look to the stars one final time.