> Creative > Poem  
Date of Publish: 2018-08-25

A few poems of Manoj Barpujari

 

ASSOCIATION

 

I would have taken along if I could

Your face getting tinged at the time of sunset

 

A whiff of intensely eager wind coming from the sea

Descends down onto your hair

What is my capacity that I’d say to be mine

 

A salty taste has flexed its body on my balcony

 

The entire house appeared to breathe

In short and quick bursts

From noon till midnight

 

My immediate past turn senseless

A solitary serene fort

Brings forth to my room

Past of my past

 

There had not been any remorse

No bondage

Nothing is waiting

Be it new or old

As the past exchanged with present

The row was resolved

 

An eager river heading towards the sea in me

And still you are modest like a sea

Even after rearing me

 

That is the excuse

I wander on divided into two parts

For the two days prayer

While the sea mingles like it’d never been

 

The sky was waiting

I saw the same congregation of stars

Appearing to shed tears right away

 

A piece of conceited cloud near me

 

There is no way out

It never waited for anyone as the East embraced the West

I just stood dumbfounded

 

One mother transformed into two in the sandy light

 

Translation : Bibekananda Choudhury

 

 

UNBEARABLE

 

All these days

I could not make out one thing

Even after understanding

 

A flock of bird with singed wings

Sordid necklace and amulets

 

Whose fault has it been

That it so happened

Why did it happen

Actually what happened

 

Days are dark

Nights lit

 

None of the chasers are lunatic

 

A row of boots galloping away

It becomes a matter to watch

The face of the Moon that forgot to bat its eyelids

 

Ask Aniruddha

Where is the joy of rescue

Ask Usha

Which happiness is different from love

 

The flying Jatinga

Stay put shutting the eye

In gratitude

There is a fête in the relief camp

 

The flock of birds

Prances in its own wildness

All return homebound

Leaving behind the camp

 

And, we feel satiated

Thinking the thread of relationship

As the bonding

 

Though

Myriad things happen

Actually

Nothing happens

Amidst

So much hardship

 

Only you stay back

As the support

Of lonely days and

Troubled nights

(Blasted memory!)

 

Some of Earth’s habits do not change ever

Why did not I grasp

Such a basic truth

After following it so long

 

Memory is just bird’s feather…

 

Translation : Bibekananda Choudhury

 

 

 

INTERPRETER

 

Often I feel pain at not understanding you

 

What I wished for what I got

I understand even without you deciphering it

 

I am sitting now at the most coveted pilgrim spot

With you

 

Lifelong oblation of words

For you and me

Because darkness exists

 

The glitter of heaven in the bead of language

What else is it

If not the golden fruit

 

Those words carry no value

If human eyes

Do not converse

With human eyes

 

What is the problem in thinking

If not today

The following day

All eyes will meet on a line

Inebriated by dream-sweet voice

Never ever imagined by arch rivals

The sighs and sobs

Would be translated to laughter and mirth

 

Silvery magic

With the twilight

With lightning

With the aurora borealis

 

Three languages

One over the other

Three ages

Three worlds

 

Without knowing you

I am indebted to you

Forever

Translation : Bibekananda Choudhury

 

 

SELF IMMOLATION

 

 

Myriad possibilities dazzle on the rocks

Turning into inscriptions.

Thought settlement would be the rock-lines

The nights do not appear dawn

 

Gandhari tied cloth over her eyes –

She couldn’t have it tied.

The blazing morning ran along the street;

Yours mine everyone’s body

Mightn’t have been burnt

 

Come let us judge

Was the blind deference for Dhritarashtra actually needed

Give away land be it akin to a needle tip

Let the pseudo rightfulness end.

 

No one stayed without hearing the Big Bang of the beginning

After that

You carried on your shoulder the silence of destruction

Come let us settle where the end of this agony is –

At the ladder leading to heaven

Or, at the plinth of hell.

 

That fiery morning

Didn’t stop burning even at midnight

 

So many invaluable lives

Are burning thus like torches for all of us.

Fire has relieved us from lying hanging in mid air

What fire did not do

From beginning to end of civilization

And in boundless barbarism.

 

 

With this fire

You, and many others

Have ransacked the stack of corpses

Allowed a river formed by teardrops to flow by

For kith and kins.

The barrage for the eyes were blown away.

Has the river been allowed to flow before the blaze

(What is the difference between staying alive or dead,

If you search for only the near and dear ones!)

 

You had always immolated yourself on the altar of

Blindness, greed and anarchy

Just look how devious you appear

In the fire of hanging justice

 

Where is God? Let the trial start now

Till eternity

 

Translation : Bibekananda Choudhury

 

 

CONVERSION

 

It is perhaps easiest to disrobe.

And if religion is just for good looks

Then it is easy to change religion

 

Is not it that

For you

Religion is just a dress?

Is that why you put religion on other’s body

Like putting clothes,

You utilize religion like opium

 

I have changed many a thing in life

It is so easy to change things

But is religion a ‘thing’?

At this point I have deep disagreement with you:

I cannot change religion

My faith do not match with that of you

Can you

At your will

Get the North Star down to Earth?

 

Just imagine, today I tie a bond with you.

In the fire burning in my heart

This bond will be warmer

Will face many trials

And would be even deeper

The bond would become an asset to the heart.

It would bond into a single entity

Would become inseparable to each other

It would become my religion

It would expose itself

Far from the dazzling world of debonair clothes

Deriding your religion

 

This feeling of closeness, is my religion. Many times in my life I have

Transformed souls of my dear ones. Those belonged to men or women,

With whom I spent hours after hour, days after day, season after season.

I have extended company in long journeys, in return I got a reeking deep

Wound of unadulterated love. Perhaps one feels good by

Putting warm pack by palm.

Thus I have entwined the surrounding nature with my soul.

You would perhaps say nature is God and you have provided clothes to others

As directed by nature. But would you claim the pride and rights of all tribals,

All migrants, all indigenous, all bonded labourers

As your body cloak?

Can you claim so?

 

But I would defiantly say they have all seen the light of

My earnestness. Each of them invented the wheel,

They poured the curse of language like charmed water

On each other’s palm, made the pronunciation of the tongue

Sweet like the stock of molasses, converted sounds to songs,

Handed over all their valuables like

Contented neighbours. So I cannot change my religion.

 

Change of clothes is simply insignificant compared to all these.

 

 

Translation : Bibekananda Choudhury

 

 

ABOUT CORPSE

 

He reacted sharply on seeing the photograph

A lifeless body carried like a slain goat.

Oh, how barbaric, dead body should not be carried like that,

He said. The body of an unknown girl,

His poetic self was shocked

Noticing the bloodstains on the hands of two carrier sepoys

 

There was no adornment on his statement

He saw two or even many bullets

Piercing even his own body

He pronounced just two words

‘He Ram’ in the public meeting

And ‘Please don’t shoot’ in the desert.

Two words without any variety or any fresh flavor

 

Those are the times

When we get entangled in moral dilemma

Of searching for a simile

We are still a slave of tradition as far as cremation

Is concerned. I hear that the tradition of chopping and throwing

The dead body away from deserted hill-top is no more.

Should we feel remorse for that?

 

There is no new word or slogan in your mental agony

But it won’t go in vain,

O poet! One day these forests will recite

Your anger against all battles

These hills would broadcast through reverberation

These rivers would leave

The seed of this anger

Along its banks like silt

 

I’m waiting for such a day…

 

Translation : Bibekananda Choudhury

 

 

LUNAR ECLIPSE

 

We all are truly the same. The longest Lunar Eclipse

Of the century being the witness.

 

You are the semi-sphere of the sky. So am I.

The same pain has pierced through our hearts.

You have not seen me, neither have I seen you.

Would the pain just disappear if we meet each other?

Would it be double, if we part, or

Would it be double if we do not meet at all –

My thoughts just could not fathom the reply

(Akin to a dwarf stretching out to the Moon!)

 

The shadow of the Earth covered the Moon. A routine

Phenomenon. If we see our shadows on the Moon,

Does not it feel like finding someone just beside us

From our neighbourhood? Shadow brings us both

Close together. We have seen each other,

Feel each other touching too. One bead of memory illuminates

The doorway of our heart.

My favourite dreams are embedded in these

Beads of gems. The dream of the past

Remain blended with the dream of future.

Thus we provide shadow to each other

Bearing the pain from eons.

Unable to dream even of a single shadowless day.

 

It’s better not to ask since when we are related.

Have the Earth and the Moon ever asked?

Translation : Bibekananda Choudhury

 

 

 

About the Poet :

Manoj Barpujari’s poems represent hurt feelings of humanity, foreboding of the tumultuous time and conscience ever since his poems were published, although occasional take on philosophies of life reverberate across his wide experimentations. His first poem in print was in an erstwhile left-wing journal Natun Prithivee in 1980. He has four volumes of poetry and won the Munin Borkotoky Literary Award in 2003 for his collection Amlakhi Gasar Suhuri. His poems are translated to several major Indian languages and included in various anthologies and literary journals. Besides, he is an acclaimed film critic, having been bestowed with Swarna Kamal at the National Film Awards of 2011. By profession he has more than three decades of experience in journalism and received honours including a Caribbean fellowship.

 

Comment


Ronghang Rongbong—from where the king rules sans political power
With an eye on assembly polls, party hoppers start knocking the doors of new political masters
A few poems of Rabindra Bora
Snapshots of paddy harvesting in Assam- a photo story by Anu Boro
To Heaven and Back
History of deprivation should not be prolonged - Centre should patronise OIL and ONGC in Assam
Gendering the Actions- A New Way to tackle Climate Change