Ramesh Mukhopadhyaya ji on the poem My sheet

My Sheet


That morning when I woke, I saw

a small hole in my sheet,

the result of being lost in sleep.

So I struggled with silken thread throughout the day

and by night had stitched a window

for glimpsing a few, new dreams.

The next day I woke to a new hole

and this time added paint to the thread.

Before dark I’d built a door.

My dreams could leave now and wander

instead of gazing out a window,

dreams freed to roam the entirety of the night.

Each morning brought new holes;

each day bustled with thread and paint.

Today my sheet is an enormous courtyard

with a banyan tree filled with birds with beaks like red stars,

though both sun and moon remain absent.

So I spend my mornings searching for holes

where a sun and moon might be woven,

not only in this galaxy

but also across

the many, layered others,

knowing at the end there’s a final hole

through which to exit

and join the great beyond

in a seamless realm of light.


The poet wakes up in the morning only to discover a hole in the sheet. Was it the dream that revealed a hole in what seemed to be solid and  continuous? The poet says that it has been the result of her being  lost in the sleep. One wonders whether the subconscious mind  explores  the holes in the perception of  the conscious mind. The poet however
takes the cue from her dream and labours the whole day to weave a  window out of the hole. It seems as it were the truths of subconscious  seek to have room in the solid and continuous matrix of the  perceptions of the conscious. The poet does not repress the
aspirations of the subconscious mind. On the contrary she makes a  window of the hole so that she can have a glimpse of the workings in  the subconscious. Instead of looking without she seeks to look  within. Once you let dreams  have their free play they  overwhelm the  conscious mind. The next morning the poet wakes up to find another  hole in the sheet. The poet is amused. With coloured threads with  great care she weaves a door out of the second hole. And now the dreams  of the poet can get out of her body and descry the sights that the  veil of the body does not allow them to espy. The sojourns of the poets  dream now freed from the cabin of the body every night opens up fresh
horizons of perception. And everyday morning there is a fresh hole and  the poet works at that. Here is an aesthetics. What is poetry but  weaving the dreams into the matrix of the conscious mind? Consequently  the sheet becomes as big as a courtyard. Of course this cannot be  detected with the aid of the five senses. There must be room to  accommodate the sixth sense the mind. So the sheet has become big/.This  can be seen only with the aid of the mind’s eye. The courtyard has a  banyan tree   loud with birds with beaks like red stars. The poet is  now transported to a new world. While a factory produces one consumer  good only the banyan tree serves  numerous functions. It gives shelter
to birds and snakes and squirrels it feeds the birds and other  creatures. Tired men and women can rest in its shadow and so on. While  our factories do not last for more than two decades the banyan tree  gives service for thousand years. And it is below the trees that the  Buddhas sit and attain enlightenment. One wonders whether this dream  figment  beacons the poet to plunge into meditation. But there is no  sun and the moon. The poet stitches the sun and the moon into the  matrix. In the contingent world consciousness perceives the sun and  the moon. The poet weaves them into the embroidery. Thus the poet  enriches the visions of the subconscious  with the wealth of the  perceptions in the conscious state.. But this is not all. The poet  stretches her imagination beyond the earth and espies the countless  galaxies that people the multiverse which is beyond our ken. Thus the  imagination of the waking state and dreams together stuff the canvass  of the sheet only to find that  however much we load any vacuum with  substance the vacuum becomes wider. The more we try to stuff the  vacuum the more it grows till it gobbles up whatever substance is in  the contingent. . And the poet instinctively  escapes through the all  compassing vacuum or sunya from the bondage of the many layered  contingent and reaches the great  beyond  in a seamless realm of  light. And hence forth we can hear the blithe spirit of the poet  shut  up in the privacy of glorious light singing hymns unbidden till the  world is wrought to sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not.  This is truly an outstanding poem. On one level it is a narrative made  of the stuff of dream. We find how a person paying attention to her  dreams discovers fresh worlds one after another and there is no end of  them. Poetry and dream are similar. But while poetry has a medium
dream has none. But here is a poem  embodying a dream that dreams on  dream and hence it is an instance of meta dream embodied in a poem. The  sojourns of dreams lead to the dreaming of dreams. But this is not  all. The nuptials of imagination with dream is an emergent motif in  the poem. The poem also seeks to decode the self and removes sheath  after sheath of the self. The subconscious self creates a hole in the  conscious. And when the poet probes into the hole she discovers n  levels of sub conscious self till she discovers  the null as her own  self  winging and singing in the blue deep of nihil. The poem reminds  of Shankaracharyya  Buddha and Nagarjuna