SILENCE THE GUNS
Image, Calm at Glencorse, by Vibha Pankaj
Can we call for a ceasefire to silence the guns
And let peace and tranquillity reign?
Can we hear rivers flowing, the ocean waves tumbling
And soak in the melody of birdsong again?
Can we banish the bombs, missiles and drones
From our skies that are sent from elsewhere –
And reclaim our canopy like the land that we own
To enjoy sun and cloud without fear?
Can we liquidate ordinance factories and re-employ
Researchers and workers to invest their knowledge
And skills in a programme where health and education
Become central to society in a new global pledge?
This beautiful poem is taken from Bashabi Fraser's collection, Patient Dignity. Illustration, Calm at Glencorse, by Vibha Pankaj.
Professor Bashabi Fraser, CBE is an award winning poet, children’s writer, editor, translator and academic. Bashabi’s work traverses continents in bridge-building literary projects. She has authored and edited 23 books, published several articles and chapters, both academic and creative and as a poet, has been widely anthologised. She is the Chief Editor of the academic and creative peer-reviewed international e-journal, Gitanjali and Beyond and on the Editorial Board of RLF WritersMosaic.
Bashabi is the recipient of a CBE (2021 Queen’s New Year Honours) for Education (academic achievements), Culture (poetry) and Integration (for work connecting Scotland and India) and has been made an Honorary Fellow by the Association of Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS) in 2021. She has been declared Outstanding Woman of Scotland by Saltire Society in 2015. Her other awards include Kavi Salam from Poetry Paradigm and Voice of the Republic in India in 2019; the Word Masala Foundation Award for Excellence in Poetry in 2017; Special Felicitation as a Poet on International Women’s Day by Public Relations Society of India, 2017; Rabindra Bharati Society Honour, 2014; Women Empowered: Arts and Culture Award in 2010 and the AIO Prize for Literary Services in Scotland in 2009. She has received various Scottish Arts Council Grants in 2009, 2008, 2003-4 and 2000, a British Academy Research Grant for her book, Bengal Partition Stories: An Unclosed Chapter (pub. 2006) and her co-edited book (with Debjani Chatterjee), Rainbow World: Poems from Many Cultures (2003) was the runner up for EMMA Best Book Award in 2003-4.
Bashabi is Professor Emerita of English and Creative Writing, Edinburgh Napier University; Director, Scottish Centre of Tagore Studies (ScoTs); an Associate Royal Literary Fund (RLF) Fellow and an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Edinburgh. Bashabi is on the Editorial Board of several international peer-reviewed journals and has been an Adjudicator for several national and international creative writing competitions. She is also Professor Emerita of Bankura University, India and on their Advisory Board.
Bashabi is a Trustee on the Board of Scottish PEN, the executive committees of Writers at Risk, Writers for Peace, Poetry Association of Scotland; she is Honorary Vice President of the ASLS; Trustee, Kolkata Scottish Heritage Trust; Director of the Patrick Geddes Trust; Chief Ideator and President of the Advisory Board of Intercultural Poetry and Performance Library (IPPL, Kolkata) and Advisory Board member of V&A Dundee. Bashabi lives and writes in Edinburgh.
To read more about Bashabi and her work, please visit her websites:
Edinburgh artist Vibha Pankaj’s inspiration comes from her deep-rooted connection with nature, its offer of hope, comfort, freedom and unconditional friendship. Memories of childhood (the Himalayas) and Scottish hill walks through the changing seasons - beaming with different colours and sounds - provide stimulation for her work.
To read more about Vibha and her work, please visit her websites: