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Date of Publish: 2018-06-04

A few poems of Pranjit Bora

 

The Poem of the Wise Pragmatist

 

The old man fell down

while just getting off the rickshaw--

the waling stick knocked off his hand,

clothes torn, knees bruised and blood flowing out:

Let it flow out

What is it to me?

 

 

A woman is screaming aloud

From the inside of a car in great haste

Her screams bouncing off the street

Let it bounce off,

What is it to me?

 

A procession down the main road breaking though the barricades

is being fired on

and

there drops down a young man,

Let him drop down,

What it is to me?

 

A grenade left by some nameless assailant explodes in the motley crowd of the market

a tuition going girl of class six dies

let her die,

What is it to me?

 

Clothes have vanished off a girl in the mid of the road

So what, my clothes seem to be all fine.

 

The car has dashed off

dumping the semi naked girl on the road in the very middle of the day,

so what, my woman seems to be all fine in the house.

 

While sitting in his own verandah in a dusk

Someone has been slain

By assassins his son’s age,

Let it be, what it is to me?

 

In the old age home,

the dementia-ailed old woman

repeatedly utters

and calls for

her little son,

let her plead, what is it to me?

 

Unable to feed her baby most precious

The mother has thrown it off the boat to the very middle of the river

Let her be, what comes or goes for me in that?

 

By the chimes of midnight

In the middle of a road

A mad woman is snatching out her share from a plastic bag

Let her be, this after all, since the dawn of consciousness

Has been the norm of society and history

 

Someone sets ablaze villages after villages in the dead of the night

Temples and Mosques flare up into sea of flames

The wails of dogs and children engulf the horizon

I remain still very fine

 

Wrapped in the timeworn blanket head to toe

The woman of my mother’s age

Sleeping on the hospital verandah in the cold winter night

Coughs non-stop

 

The teacher of my father’s age

Ages day by day

As he treads his path to the pension’s office

 

I remain still very fine

I am the image eternal

 

What shame after all am I to myself, in my own eyes?

 

Translation: Dr. Kaustubh Deka

 

Since Dream is that Unfailing Seed

 

Sometimes in dream a river has to be dug up

Sometimes in dream the earthen lamps are to be lit

At every turn of the silent long roads

 

Sometimes in dream the sun has to be found out

Sometimes is dream a ray of sunlight has to be flown

Along the currents of mossy blood

Sometimes in dream a cloud, a wind or a flower

Has to be invited

Sometimes in dream a dream has to be implanted

on the yet to be dried eyes that have shed tears for long

 

Since dream is that unfailing seed

The dream of all good possibilities that have

Hitherto been enlightened the world

Therefore, a dream possesses more aroma than the crops.

 

Translation: Dr. Sultan Ali Ahmed

 

For You

 

How blissful it is to get dropped down

 

Like these flowers of laburnum

If I could get dropped down

In your dream

 

How blissful it is to get eroded down

 

Like that steep bank of the river

If I could erode down

On the middle of your chest

 

In your depth

In your dreariness

 

If I could swim upstream

By being the small carp in the water of the first monsoon

 

 

If I could weep on and on

By being the nightingale of the midnight

If I could get lit up

By being the hapless earthen lamp of gosai-thapona

 

How blissful it is to get finished up for you

If, like a breath of you

I could get finished in you

For the sake of all the sorrows in you.

Translation: Dr. Sultan Ali Ahmed

 

Poetry

Everywhere I search for you.

Amongst the ripening bamboo grove. Amongst the

heap of fallen withered leaves. In the night wind.

Amongst the yellow festivity of the sonaru. Everywhere.

Amid the gusts of the dusty wind I search for you.

In the fast receding banks of the river I search for you.

 

I first heard you at an indistinct agonized shiver upon

my mother’s lips.

I first heard you at a prayer’s indistinct groan upon

my mother’s lips.

 

Translation: Dr. Pallabi Das

 

Panbazar

 

And that was the day. The most frigid one.

Like the flowerless gulmohor very near the gate of the Don Bosco.

Like the pale moon of some cold-oppressed dusky evening-sky.

Or else like the mound on the walls of the Nehru Park.

Dry. Withered. Or else

Like the tin-roofs of the hostel that I occupied for five years. Red. Lustreless.

 

I was very tired that day. Still I could not ask myself to stop.

Before going away for many days I wanted to see him once.

A crowd was there at the Judge’s Field that day.

With the crazy motion of a willful city-bus

Someone was telling something to them.

And revolving round him

I was coming. A gust of wind flowing past the body.

Through the eyes a sky.

Sullen. Suspended like the breasts of an aged woman.

 

And moments later a heavy shower

Seized his bottom. With a joyful baste

The letter-boxes of Meghdoot Bhavan got soaked.

Two boxes. Well-shaped and shining.

Red like apples.

Like vigilant sentinels the standing bookshops

Listened intently to the thunder. Oh, yes!

Exactly on such a weather he had once introduced me to her… Nabaneeta…

The rain-soaked cloth-ends of that ever-young and sorrowful Nabaneeta

I readily kissed. Then came to me

Rabindranath, my poet favourite.

His Shesher Kabita.

 

Translation: Dr. Pallabi Das

 

 

After the Heavy Rain

 

After the heavy rain was over

Last night from the roof of my thatch-hut

Haltingly fell the water-droplets

 

As if the trees dropped their withered leaves

In the quietness of the night

As if the riverbanks of a lonely river got eroded

As if memories rolled down

The heart quivering my whole body…..

 

Your non-decaying, death-defying memories!

Translation: Dr. Pallabi Das

 

The Two Moons

 

Even on the stark blackness of this still night

Two moons glitter in your eyes!

 

On the night of extreme sadness

You call out loud to me

And I run swiftly to you

Breaking the fragile doors of my dark thatched-hut.

 

In the bright moonlight of your arms then

The whole night of my emptiness blazes,

And once when our night extinguishes

In the morning my whole body diffuses

A fragrance like that of the moon itself.

 

Translation: Dr. Pallabi Das

 

The Time Wjen Evening Lamps are lit

 

The time when evening lamps are lit

At the courtyard

Gather the cowherds

 

Upon their visage fall traces of the moon

Fragrant like the narcissus

Their voices

 

The sound of their footsteps expand

Like the sounds of the spinning wheel

 

Demolishing an adorned pyre

Separating the reeds in the marshy water

I find a way

 

Traceless from oneself after being

I find myself again in the evening

 

At the courtyard

Gather the cowherds

 

With a bamboo sprig I push forward

The lamp wick

 

Translation: Dr. Pallabi Das

 

A Visage

 

At a sunny afternoon

When the earth gets moistened

By the sudden drizzle

 

The sun descends

Upon the wet plantain leaves

Upon the wet sonaru

 

At the sky’s sensible horizon

Whence the sun drops down

To the river’s bosom

There hangs

A visage

 

With stains of thousands unfortunate drops of rain

That is the face

Unmysteriously mysterious to me always

Yes, who can ignore its tense glossiness

Even in utter darkness

It revolves like some ancient minstrel

 

That face

Always makes

Search for me

Within myself

 

Whose face is it

Whose

 

Just now

As if just now I would drown myself

At the pathetic glossiness

At the eager beckon of that visage…

 

Translation: Dr. Pallabi Das

 

Aaisabah

 

Still I celebrate those festive proceedings incessantly!

Within me still I hear that same melody.

 

That evening seven virgins at the parlour

crowded round a face

moulded by seven days of sadness.

Sparkling before the altar were the freshly plucked

pure white flowers.

On the engraved plantain leaves were spread

the light of seven earthen lamps.

 

Facing the tender light the virgins started singing.

seven voices united to form that benign river of melody.

With the currents of their voice

came the wafts of the honeyed fragrance

of the pure white flowers. They sang and sang

and cleared the entire scars of

seven days’bitterness

in that benign river…

 

 

At that instant I fell in love with that river!

I became a flower.

A pure white flower formed out of

seven days’sadness.

 

Translation: Dr. Pallabi Das

 

ABOUT THE POET

Dr Pranjit Bora (B. 1976) is presently working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Assamese, Dibrugarh University, Dibrugarh, Assam. Former Chairperson of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Centre for Studies in Performing Arts, Dibrugarh University, he is presently the chairperson of Centre for Studies in Philosophy of the University. He owns an excellent academic career, and did his Ph. D. on the poetry of the leading Russian poetess, Anna Akhmatova. He has to his credit more than 30 publications of books on varied themes and published 7 collections of poetry that include Panbajar aru Anyanya Kabita, Binandiya Drishya Tumi, Bhalpowar Sashya-Bhumit, Kisu Dawarotkoi Aakash Sodayei Aru Besi Kiba, etc. His Mahasunyar Uddayan is the first Assamese novel in poetry. Kathamanbeer Rupakatha is his debuted novel on the historic Assam Movement of the 1980s and its aftermath. He has written two other novels recreating myths of Dannie and Perseus from Greek mythology. Also known for his translation works, Dr Bora has translated folk poetry, Japanese haikus as well as many short stories by different prominent writers of the world and some of these have already been published in book forms. He has also written immensely for children also including biographies. He also writes short stories which have been published in different leading Assamese magazines. His poems have been translated into Hindi, Oriya, Gujrati and Bengali.

 

ABOUT THE TRANSLATORS

Dr. Kaustuv Deka, a columnist and political analyst, is presently working as an Assistant Professor in Department of Political Science, Dibrugarh University, while Dr. Sultan Ali Ahmed who teaches English at B. H. College, Howly writes regularly for different journals and magazines published from Assam. Dr. Pallavi Das, is presently working as a creative artist.

 

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