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Date of Publish: 2017-06-10

A few poems of Bipuljyoti Saikia

 

 

 

 

The River Unto Man

1

The river recalls the past for man;

the charming or the ungainly vignettes,

converges all songs and all dreams.

 

Like a bird the river puts on ageing throats

a youthful strain,

on a youth’s hand the fantasies of adolescence,

puts in adolescent lips

the golden script of childhood.

 

Caught in the self’s rediscovery

he forgets the divergence of addresses.

 

 

2

Sometimes the river sings in man’s veins,

lends him a moment’s immortality

as it surfaces the sorrow in the blood,

gives all the hallowed beliefs of life

to man’s thirsty hands.

 

3

The river lends the sense of touch,

gives trusting hands, hearing hearts.

 

When man finds seeds of war in his heart

he rushes to the river,

as the plaintive poet to his woman.

 

1985

[Translated by Pradip Acahrya]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chanting The Gita - I

 

The meaning of this wait itself is travel, dear Parth

Actually, you don’t wait here.

 

Around you the world moves constantly

The buds one day turns into flowers and fall, the children

One day, tying the knives on their waists turn terrible youths,

The green hills are now furnace of bellowing black smoke.

 

The rivers that flow inside and around men one day descend as raindrops

The raindrops become rivers again, the unlucky birds that migrated

From their houses return home, the evening shadows of men on the pages of history

Becomes longer, the darkness spreads beyond what the eyes can see.

 

Oh, my exhausted Parth, the meaning of an indecision like this is travel;

The endless journey through the flesh-and-blood time

Inevitable descend: There is nothing to regret,

This is now your reality.

The reality is not only hard, sometimes it’s absolutely meaningless

But since we have no control over the results of our actions

Since you are just a cause, or in simple words, an actor;

Let’s continue this travel of this waiting.

1989

 

[Translated by Dibyajyoti Sarma]

 

Reading The Geeta - II

 

When the night of time comes to an end

all things come back to my bosom,

king or hermit, man or bird,

the uprooted or the river.

I write time’s diary. Light up the beyond.

 

I am Brahman; the end of beginning,

the beginning of end,

I am infinite and endless.

 

I am with you now, your charioteer,

but I am free, Partha;

I tread freely like infinite space.

I rub shoulders with you but I am beyond reach,

I am here with you but I am beyond count;

 

I myself am freedom,

Absolute.

 

1989

[Translated by Pradip Acahrya]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refuge

What easy definition have you of refuge

that you would hand me a house

four walls on four sides

a roof above

What easy definition is there of refuge

that you would waylay a wanderer

and bring him home.

1989

[Translated by Pradip Acahrya]

 

The River of Forgetting

(1)

The evening too has a sky, all its own,

a solitary sky,

flowing down from beyond even the past

of my reaching.

 

For me and for my past

so familiar and yet so fresh is this sky

arrogating brightly in the pervading quiet

after the seminaries of dreams false or true

dazed time and my dumb age confront

 

But do I really have the silver meadows

to gaze at the golden sky?

do my strains stack such abundant grain?

 

(2)

The egrets are lost. The fields too are lost.

After football and Kabaddi,

now a guitar strums a western strain and many more.

 

Many a thing is lost. The Golmohur at the gateway,

a sky full of crimson flute notes beyond the afternoon,

and ripe vermilion mangoes dropping on their own,

 

the shadow of the berry tree by the river,

childhood.

(3)

No sounds. It’s a silence from you to me,

such silence enfolds me,

where would you be?

 

I am here, the land’s alphabet beckons me,

the boulders on land break my itinerary,

after so many rights and wrongs a lettered dream

that is within living memory.

 

Where may you be?

At the other shore of many emptiness?

(4)

I too own mistakes, O Time,

I know,

you harbour no evenings under your wheels.

 

But I am only human,

crazy to adorn the evening’s garb.

One lone man, what could I want?

beyond past clocks, dream women and memories?

 

What do I have? the corpse of a whirlwind

that would override the magic of roots;

I retrieve festering time and talk to my dreams,

I am Abhimonyu.

 

Time, you too have erred.

(5)

The tits and bits I would recall

before crossing the river of forgetfulness

the letters that would harrow me

till my arms fall off

the skys that would tease me

till my eyes move beyond vision

 

the land that would clamour for me

till I am shorn of my legs

the strains that would haunt me

till I lose my voice

the dreams that would nourish me

till the tears dry

 

the river of forgetting stretches

till the poems are dead.

1991

[Translated by Pradip Acahrya]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Unborn Daughter

There's a tale to my unborn daughter not being born.

The mother hadn't knit a sweater for the tale.

Didn't even make her a dress,

No question of the buttons being sewn on.

Nor had she saved the heirloom

from her mother's mother and her mother's days

to give her when she left with her groom,

should the tale become a novel.

 

The tale started as a haiku and one day became a sonnet

after traversing stories and plays

it turned into an exquisite myth

and moonlight from home and abroad

from distant rivers beyond the seven seas

overflowed in our not-yet home.

 

As it was turning into that exquisite myth

Someone aired my tale

Some saved it in dark cold room

Dust from the road settled on the letters

Someone spilled acid on it

Others carried the tale to alien lands

While others tore it to pieces

Without leaving any trace

 

Shedding unshed tears

the not-yet mother went crazy

 

being the not-yet father

I hugged the undying body of my unborn daughter

planted a kiss on her nonexistent forehead

and said:

 

My child, I won't be born too,

let your mother not be born either

let the sky be unborn

like wind tree and river

and this our world.

2013

[Translated by Pradip Acahrya]

 

The Road That Leads The Soldiers

 

Through the road that leads the soldiers to battlefield

we may instead bring back the fertile rivers

 

The road through which now passes the refugees

of destroyed cities

may instead lead young children to schools

living individuals to art galleries, eager travellers to

forests

The road through which tanks go

the road that leads to deaths and graveyards

we may instead bring back dreams of teen aged seasons

hymns to fertilise the dismal corn fields

 

And the bright suns of life.

1984

[Translated by Rituraj Kalita]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come Rain

 

Come rain

My door is ajar,

Windows are open.

 

Wash away the monotony

Cover the earth

With the white sea

Let the worshipped ancient sun go down in the courtyard

 

Wash these dusty hands

So that I could set sail again

Striking with the oars

Not blood , the bluish water of the Yamuna of my sorrows

So that I could open up the vein of the current and look through.

 

Wash the shadow of the blood smeared face

So that I could drink with the cupped hands the water from the lotus pond

So that I could see the ripe season of the eyes again, clearing the hyacinth.

 

 

Come rain

Ajar is my door,

Open are the windows.

 

1983

 

[ Translated by Priyankoo Sarma]

 

To Children

(A few advices like parents)

 

Live here keeping your eyes shut

here, that we are keeping them open

doesn’t help; we don’t see anything

 

Don’t ask for air to breathe

this very vacuum

actually is air

 

Don’t read history

why don’t you see -

how we are reading future?

 

Don’t listen to anything

don’t speak anything

here that we are listening

here that we are speaking

are actually symptoms of being deaf and dumb

 

Don’t talk of your parents and forefathers

here that we are present - your father, your mother,

actually we

are not at all ourselves.

1985

[Translated by Rituraj Kalita]

 

About the Poet

 

Poet and translator Bipuljyoti Saikia is a scientist at the Centre of Plasma Physics – Institute for Plasma Research, Nazirakhat, Tepesia in Assam. His collections of poetry include Mahakabyar Pratham Pat, Pahoronir Noi and Swapna Smriti Bishadar Gatha. His collections of translations include - Japanee Mrityu Kabita and Anil Sarkarar Nirbachita Kabita. Other collections include Ramanujan, Sonali Sankhya, Leonardo Da Vinci, Ishwar Konika Aaru Ananya Prabandha Albert Einstein Samipeshu, and Ganarpara Bigyanaloi. He has translated a number of books including Bismayakar Chip, published by National Book Trust, New Delhi, Kerketuwa, and Mokora, both Published by Scholastic, New Delhi. Selected poems of Bipuljyoti have been translated into Bengali and published as a book titled Esho Bristi. He was awarded the Anil Kumar Sarma Memorial Award by Asam Sahitya Sabha for his book Sonali Sankhya in 2000.

 

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