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Date of Publish: 2018-05-05

A few poems of Kushal Dutta

 

Water-born

 

Tearing the water, grows on the water

The poetic scenes of the restless waves

 

By welcoming it and having seated it

On the bow of the boat,

My boat moves upstream to the paddy fields

 

In the stroke of the oar show off

Pani-paruwas* Elengs* Ilihis*

Jump apart like grasshoppers

 

Hearing your laughter ?

 

The picture of the fully grown paddy

Waiting, looking at us,

How unbearable !

 

Go

Reap the paddy

 

 

*Pani-paruwa : A kind of water insect, backswimmers, Notonectidae.

*Eleng : A kind of flat white fish of medium size, Megarasbora elanga.

*Ilihi : Ilish fish, The hilsa fish (small size), Tenualosa ilisha.

 

Translated from the Assamese by Ajit Barua

 

 

Shivering Sprouts

 

... so vitally alive

 

like the sculptured foreplay

of an eager couple

 

Throbing between moments in the wind

 

A fresh red sprout of a sapling

at the water’s edge

 

At the roots of the sapling

where, from this side of the river

at a precise angle

you see that unearthly sight

from there till the middle of the river

a root slithers like a cobra

 

Where, a while from now

a drenched maiden that came swimming

will trip and faint

 

After another while

at the root of the sapling

the sculpture will be sculpted

till the sun drowns

through the horns of the homing buffaloes

 

Down the mustard fields

through reeds and sedges

down the thick woods

the wary eyes discern

the fresh red sprout

of the sapling

 

On the other bank of the river

where the road diverges to the woods

the steadily closing lids of two eyes

 

Will throb between moments

till the buffallo bells recede into the distances

and merged with the silence

 

 

* Uri-am : Biscoffia javanica

* Dhunduli-phëti : Coelognathus radiata

 

Translated from Assamese by Prof. Pradip Acharya

 

 

The abstract star

 

At one time everything slips into the past

 

Let me take it for granted

that I am flying in the sky

over my head

below my feet

beginning from the fingers of

my outspread hands the endless sky

 

 

The sky of the night of the dark moon

the enchanting endless sky

of the night of the dark moon

 

 

“Do not start your journey on the night of the dark moon”

 

 

The known warning of my mother’s simple faith

yet I was born in such a dark night

she hides thing truth from me

 

 

The star gazing at which I am flying

in enchanting sky of this night

is dead is it’s sky in the same present

yet it is living for me

it is the living abstract star of the projected truth

 

 

At one time everything slips into the past

 

 

Am I going or flying

gazing at the star

just asume by

my own reasoning

 

 

What a pleasure in making assumption

many a journey begins with such asumings

what is the end of all these journeys

the abstract star of my assumed sky

 

 

Translated from Assamese by Prof. Prodip Khataniar

 

 

Suspicion

 

1.

He is waiting eagerly to listen to my new tune

But he is overwhelmed by the apprehension that progressed sluggishly

Like some slow lethal poison

Have I lost all my saved tunes in that still undetected ailment

 

His suspicion is not at all baseless

He is my well-wisher just because the suspicion embraces him off and on

 

And that’s so I can feel on closing my eyelids and pray from my heart

He is ever suspicious towards me just because he is my well-wisher

And let him remain suspicious ever

 

2.

Just think – actually suspect that your brains are healthy

I do also suspect the same at the same time – how healthy are your brains

 

It is good to suspect – Like you do – Like I do

At least for a healthy brain

 

3.

“I think, therefore I am”

 

Sartre inverted the sentence suspecting the correctness of Descartes

“I exist, therefore I think”

 

And I have profound suspicion for both these sentences

Fuming slowly ensnared in suspicion in the hearth of sordid darkness of the past

The location of a stationary starting point suddenly glows up

From where the history commences all over again

 

Does it actually keep the life continued like deference

 

 

Translated from Assamese by Bibekananda Choudhury

 

 

Is situation under control?

 

1.

Only the smoke and ash are floating in the air

The smell of burnt corpses smacks my nostrils again and again

 

Within the perimeter of this smoke, ash and smell of burnt corpses,

is the situation under control?

 

2.

Leaving aside the perimeter of this abstract circle

made by the imaginary lines of smoke, ash and smell of burnt corpses

I look back into my feet and once again I clutch the soil

 

Since the time of learning algebra, after having finished simple arithmetic,

I have learnt to draw

Various triangle, rectangle, circle or quadrilaterals of various sizes

with lines of various length and degree

All these geometric skills I have applied successfully

in the answer sheets of my school exams

or flower garden or in my newly constructed house of the latest design

Yet, till today, with the angles of smoke, ash and corpses,

I have not been able to draw

A single triangle or any geometric pattern

 

Within the perimeter of this smoke, ash and smell of burnt corpses,

is the situation under control?

 

 

Translated from Assamese by Rubee Barua Das

 

 

Poem

 

Sometimes I come out for a morning walk if I feel like

To imbibe pure oxygen unadulterated serenity

 

Till falling on the bed again at night

To remain standing continuously and firmly

The morning walk is really very useful and inspiring

 

But the path changes suddenly on the way

Logic takes the logical path and illogical the illogical one

(It is a different subject altogether the power of counter argument and the tussle)

But I always wander off my cursed path

In deep hazy fog of polluted argument

 

And

In some such cursed mornings

My shadow that often sets out of the house by the same exit

Suddenly proceeds leaving me aside through the path that he considers to be the true one –

To imbibe more pure oxygen and more unadulterated serenity

 

I gaze at my shadow with the natural fondness

At some point of time losing the shadow with the natural arrogance after a prolonged weight

I tread on my moody rainy natural path

Because I am sure that till the Sun emerges

The shadow shall never return

To my path

 

And

In the chilly December winter

Till the path clears after the melting of the dew

I keep on walking keep on walking keep on walking

Dripping sweats from my forehead

Through my very private path of my arrogance

 

 

Translated from Assamese by Bibekananda Choudhury

 

 

About the poet

 

Kushal Dutta (B. 1976) is an Indian poet, journalist and editor writing in the Assamese language, has five collections of poems and three other non-fictions. He has also edited a number of literary, cultural, GK, cine magazines, souvenirs and books including ‘Ajit Barua Kabita Samagra’ (The complete poems of Ajit Barua, 2015). He was awarded the MUNIN BARKOTOKI LITERARY AWARD (2003) from the Munin Barkotoki Memorial Trust (Assam); the KATHAMALITA AWARD (2011) from Kathamalita Magazine (Assam) and the SRIJAN SAHITYA SAMMAN (2013, from ‘Srijan Xahitya Sammelan’ (West Bengal). Moreover, he has participated in several major literary events, including NEW VOICES (Bhubaneswar 2004, organized by Sahitya Akademi); the 51st AKASHVANI KAVI SAMMELAN (Ujjain 2007, organised by All India Radio); the 31st SAARC FESTIVAL OF LITERATURE (New Delhi, 2010, organised by FOSWAL); All India Poetry Festival (New Delhi, 2016, organised by Sahitya Akademi); the 2nd KAVYA HOTRA (Goa, 2016, organised by Goa Kala Academy); the 53rd South Asian Literature Festival (New Delhi, 2017, organized by FOSWAL) etc. His few poems have been translated into all major Indian regional languages including English and also translated into some major languages of the world. On the other hand Photography is also a subject of keen interest for familiar poet Kushal Dutta. His first ever photo exhibition (along with painting based on Dutta’s poems titled ‘the baya’s nest’ by Manjit Rajkhowa) was held at State Art Gallery, Guwahati from 4th to 9th Feb. 2013. By profession Kushal is a journalist working with Dainik Asam, an Assamese daily from Guwahati.

 

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