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Date of Publish: 2018-07-01

 

A few poems of Mridul Haloi

 

To a Brother

 

 

The grass,

beginning to sprout,

in our winter-fields,

abound.

 

Like a seed,

in a granary,

my words

silently slumber.

 

Does yours too?

 

The mid-day rolling upon

The sundried paddy's mat is

Of those old times itself.

Only the two boys—

Who are running breathlessly

Along the paddy field lanes

Are not us— are like us.

 

Mangoes are budding

In our homestead land of those bygone years

The warble of a dove

pierces through the evenfall.

And the baritone you left

to my heart to make inroads

lingers till date..

From where the lamps

of our eyes cannot meet,

You, I know,

Still hear the birdie chirp.

And rummage in the grass

for a lost fig.

 

And here,

I all alone hunt for

the red dragonfly

that eluded us

after a chase of

seven stretched fields.

 

Thick paddies are swinging in our fields

The sprouts of the preserved words In our hearts are restless

Like seeds in the granary

 

Your breath cleaves through my heart.

 

The two boys running after

The red dragonfly

are so much like us of those yester years

 

The same old fly,

and two lads,

get blurred

by two drops of tears

I cannot keep at bay.

 

(Translation by Jyotirmoy Talukdar)

 

HOME

We have chucked in

the old dwelling

and sitting on the

stainless tiles of a new one,

 

are ruminating upon

the relinquished home

that dad erected before

assigning a sapling the job at its threshold.

And mom as a bride

entered it veiled.

The petals from the sun flew

to the veranda tidied by her,

as she untied her locks

and their umbra.

 

At the moonlit nights

the sapling branched off

in the reveries of

my genitors.

 

The areca-nut developed calyxes

for many twelvemonths.

The betels mellowed and withered.

 

The home

dad protected with

portals and walls

gradually

aged.

 

We have decamped

from the old home.

The fallen leaves

strewn on its entrance

 

veil the grass

that has lately turned green.

We no more wade across

the threshold to reach

the deserted lodging.

 

With novel colours and beams

our new home gleams.

 

We have knocked together

a new threshold.

Have planted trendy saplings

and fashionable doorways and gateways,

helping it look cosy.

 

Our veranda is brushed

by the laughters of our boys

like by tides.

 

A fig drops somewhere.

The home too

slowly degenerates.

 

 

And to fabricate the plinth

of another abode

the boys have left.

 

In the forecourt

of the old dwelling place,

we root out the

obnoxious weeds.

 

The ripe leaves fall off

the tree

one after one.

 

(Translation by Jyotirmoy Talukdar)

 

 

TALE OF SKY

 

I knew that sky was only one

Wide and blue sky

Touching earth at its distant end.

 

Sky where cranes fly

Wind blows

Sky where moon shows

Dripping moonlight.

 

A sky stared

By the fore-leaves of the paddy plants.

 

I heard the sky cry every night

The tears fell upon the house-roof drop by drop.

 

And how hurriedly the wind

Wiped those tears with its cloth!

The sky was all gleam next morning.

 

Looking at the face of sky

The people knew everything.

They fathomed. everything.

 

They

Reaped paddy

Cropped pulses

Blossomed mustards.

 

Just one sky belonged to all

And the houses had no windows.

 

The fingers of moonlight were thrust by the sky

Through chinks of the sling-door.

It wanted to scratch cheek-and-face

With the nails of sunlight.

 

How could people carry

So wide a sky

And that sky

Shed tears for everyone.

 

******

 

I have completed

Reading this tale of sky Inside my closed room

 

And opening the window

I long to see the the piece of sky

That belongs to me.

For so many days

Throughout the sky I have seen the many skies

Of those tall buildings.

I have seen the cable wires

, The towers for mobile phones

And the circular dishes of dish TVs.

I've heard a clamour ignorant,indistinctr.

 

Waking up even in the middle of a night I've heard a ringtone of mobile,

The loudness of FM radio

Honk of the cars, and

Scream of sirens that rends the heart asunder.

 

And everywhere so much blinding light!

Where are the flows of dripping moonlight

From the fainted moon's eyes!

 

I should better forget this tale.

Closed windows are better here.

Dearth of sky!

(Translation by Daisy Barman)

 

THE FALLEN LEAVES OF UNENDING TIMES

 

The fallen leaves of unending times

I know not, what they cover hidden from me.

 

I know everything

The sun sets this way

The moon descends by this ghat

I understand everything

At the time of lighting the lamps

Whom I left, is mine only!

 

The dark from the end of the night and moonlight,

I know not, what they want to store hiding from me

Thawed by pain ,my heart

Drips as letters of poem.

 

My countless dejected dreams

And the restless thoughts

Have built me into a poet.

 

How the restlessness of my feelings

Paint the faces of countless people within me

The hands of unfriendly times wipe!

Countless dreams build me

And then shatter again.

 

Countless people tread in and out

Through my thoughts everyday

And I remain lonely.

 

I look to the horizon with stunned eyes

Like a tiny grass

I turn my ear in the direction of the tune of an old song.

Coming from distance.

 

I know not, in which meadow of solitude

I lose my voice.

 

I dig my mind

I bury myself

I uproot myself and throw

I pick myself up

And put me to sleep.

I know not, what these rivers of still pace

Carry hidden from me

I know everything

Birds fly this way

And the stars make

Their homeward journey everyday.

 

And maybe only I know this fact that

The torpor from the unblinking eyes

Of the child lying at the edge of the river knows

Through whose thoughts I curve my path....

 

The fallen leaves of unending times

What could they hide from me?

 

NOTE:

Ghat-: The edge of a bank of river or a pond.

 

(Translation by Daisy Barman)

 

MAY THE CHILDREN BE WELL

 

May the children be well.

May the frolicking waterfall of life flow forever.

 

May the pet-birds be well.

May the sonorous songs of

Merrymaking and revelry

Forever be there!

The mothers, sisters, fathers and the brothers of yoursMay

they forever be well!

May the subtle stream of dreams

Gush from everyone's eyes.

 

The kohl in the women's eyes

And the buoyant red in their lips

May they forever remain well.

 

May your songs sung in the paddy-field

May the sound from the bell hung on the leaping calf's neck

Forever be well.

 

You are the holy waters of our life's pond.

May you be well.

Wave at the rain

And call them from amid the dust

Call the wind from amid the smoke

Call the moonlight from beside the fire

Call a torrent of songs from above the fiery rock.

 

The rivers are not dried yet.

The tear drops of women's eyes

And the flowers from children's palms

Are not withered yet.

The sanguine blood of your hearts is not black yet.

 

The lamps of the infinite stars

Are not smothered yet.

 

May you be well

May you keep the children well.

 

If you stand up in the lost way

Clearing up the meadow grown on our bones

You would see the birds

Flying faster than a bullet.

 

(Translation by Daisy Barman)

 

VERSE OF SEPARATION

 

Tomorrow you would walk afar from my eyes.

You would walk away

To seek for that voice

That placid umbra of affection.

 

Tomorrow a rain looming above

Would hastily desert my sky.

Boiling heat of the metallic sun

Would burn me thoroughly.

 

A flock of weaver-finches

Would fly away, leaving behind

The paddy field of my heart.

Who would bring me word of Aghon again?

 

Tomorrow there will be no dew drops.

Flowers won't bloom.

The banana leaves won't be swayed by the wind.

And on the roof of the house ,

There won't be a pair of pigeon

To play with its feathers.

 

Tomorrow the throat of the noon will echo

A lonely dove's voice.

And in front of the ringing bells

Of a hill top temple

 

Two lonesome hands would perplexedly wait.

 

Tomorrow a boat would plunge into a whirlpool.

An unripe fruit will fall in the wind.

 

If the evening falls tomorrow too,

What smell would the courtyard carry

Sadness.

If the moon appears tomorrow too

Only Solitude would grace the moonlight.

 

Tomorrow I would rub off both the stars

from my eyes.

Drown in the ancient nothingness of darkness.

Make the heaviness of a rock the guard of my heart.

 

Tomorrow with your own hands

you would dislodge mine

You would adorn my lips

With the serenity of unborn words.

 

I would have no dreams left

Even to decorate the platter for worship.

Tell me with whom would I fall asleep !

 

You would leave me alone tomorrow

At the end of some desolate street

Seeking for the placid umbra

Of that voice, of that affection.

 

And then

How would I find myself?

How would I bring back home

The destitute me?

 

(Translation by Daisy Barman)

About the Poet :

Young poet Mridul Haloi ( 1988) obtained his Master’s degree in Assamese literature from Gauhati University. He has, to his credit, two poetry collections in Assamese – Akale Aso, Kushale Aso ( 2010) and Amar Bhal Hobo ( 2014). He is a recipient of the Munin Barkataky award ( 2013) and Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar ( 2015). A journalist by profession, Mridul Haloi is currently working with the Janambhumi Group of Publications in Assam.

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