In her professional life, Sharmila Mitra is an English senior school teacher. She makes her classrooms places where adolescent and young adults can find a place to learn with pleasure, and she teaches how learning the English language and literature can transform their thinking. She decided to take her creative retrospection outside of her classroom and started writing. 

Her poetry is mostly free-form, expressing her own experiences of life that have influenced her thinking.

She lives in Kolkata, India with her elderly mother, and the rescued and adopted non-human children who have really rescued her, but that is a very long story.



As daylight faded, dimmed
and whispering night did fall,
The dark graveyard stirred
to the impatient raven’s call.
Graves, so far sleeping, opened
and I smelled the stench;
Rotting flesh smeared on the ground
right under my wooden bench.
Flesh-eating worms
crawled right up my leg;
I wanted to move but could not,
for escape I did beg.
A piece of slippery worm
lay wriggling on my knee;
Yes, I had cut it in halves,
But now I retched to see
Its struggle to still crawl
Away from my knee;
I was petrified, dear heart,
I could not feel me.
One half finally stopped
its motion that nauseated;
I flicked it as far as I could.
Sickness, oh it permeated
The whole graveyard old.
Shadows stirred…silent…
Suddenly I was covered
with a hundred worms bold.
Choked I was, wanting to scream
Like a headless horseman
Riding through burning hell.
But fell from the bench—
Fell, fell, fell…hearing a doom-song,
The raven crying a death-knell!
How long my body fell
I knew not, or reached where;
A strange stench came,
A pulp, fly-blown, who lay there?
Eyes open, dark holes, in the snare
Of wiggling wet worms…was this hell?


It rose from his bones.
The terrible acid-burns were cauterized
By capable hands of faceless, silent mannequins.
The burning, oh the burning!
Day and night, hands wiped at wounds.
His visceral burning they seemed to crave,
Licking at his eroding bones.
As he was hung on chains and twin hooks,
His flesh, melting, dripping,
Fell to the ground like pieces of gutted raw fish;
Dripped on to the slippery floor, the stench made him faint.
His flesh fled, and his raw bones cried out, “Pain!”
In the dungeon unknown, his bones turned to dust.


“Because I don’t want to!” Said I.
Everyone’s eyes were burning flames,
As men and women with red gashes for mouths
Looked at me; the flames licked at me—burned like ice!
Each raucous voice taunted me:
“Why, why, why? Fool, why?”

I was stripped down to my skin
Where they scorched me with their flaming eyes;
Fine cracks opened up, bloody moisture oozed.
They roared with their jaws with shark teeth wide open,
As if they would drag me out of the cage
To bite my skin off me, slice by slice,
Their mouths and teeth red with my blood.

I shivered without control;
Something seemed to wriggle under my skin, like so many worms crawling,
Or perhaps gigantic lice.
Then—horror of horrors,
My skin was getting covered with eyes!
Eyes, hundreds of them, creeping up my skin,
Staring eyes—heavy lids—red as sin.
I tried to put my fingers on my chest: was I alive?
I touched eyelashes like wires made of iron,
Grasping my fingers like a vise.

Then the laughter started.
Men and women roared, mocking.
I heard heavy, shuffling feet.
Everything went dark;
The eyes all over my body became blind.