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Date of Publish: 2017-11-12

A few poems of Rajeev Barua

 

Morning Stroll at Bhomoraguri

The sun was caught in the fisherman's net

As soon as it was born

It was held captive in a net

Woven with golden yarn

As a vigorous fish tossing and turning about

The scene was restless

 

The fleet steps craving to see

The long bridge stopped

A short while ago the boat that kept still

With the heron by the water-line

Was playing now with the sun

 

The sun settled at one end of the boat

Dipped into the water

The boat too pursued

And jumped onto the sun's back

 

The boatman paddles his boat to the bank

Beholding his face on the fish scales

Is it the sun on the boat's laps or

Is it the boat upon the sun's back –

The pedestrian stumbles on the dry land and light!

 

Hunger in the Scales

 

Last time with the sack of rice I bought

Came a pair of rats

Next day I approached the grocer to ask

What's the matter - some change in the system

As one free when buying two

As free toy-pistol with baby-food

 

Thus has the bamboo-flowering nation's plight

Been yoked with resources

With the new quotation of want and supply

If the problems were to be shared in this way

Perhaps it wouldn't take too long for equality to arrive

 

Strange are the ways of this country

Crops are distributed before production

Just as the rats burrow the fields

Before the paddy bears spadix

When consumers increase

Rice have to be bought in terms of sacks

Amazing indeed it's to see

The rats' knowledge of geography

 

Aspiring to be a model eating nothing

Though you grow emaciated

For the catwalk on the ramp

You must atleast be able to stand

 

None has emerged a victor

Playing around with hunger…..

 

Chinked Scripture

 

You regret

A chink has remained

In your new house

 

I said: You're a poet, a visionary

Through the window slits

It's only a maiden's face

That's most appealing…

 

Hidden in the earthen crack

Sita is an epitome of chastity

Through the chinks of broken glass

Even the songs of the dry wind can be heard

In the flute-holes flow songs of the earth

Beauty's charm pierces the nose, ears, navel

The keys too after all seek to bore the lock

 

The showers of the night

Scour for the earthen cracks in the darkness

Seeds drop… germinate

The forefinger scours for the mystery-hole

The stitching thread scours for the needle-hole

Creation… creation… creation

 

 

Game of pot-breaking

 

For no games had potters moulded the earthen-pots

 

Lest it should break

It was tenderly lowered from the wheel

And laid under the sun

The heat of fire poured colour on the potter's wish

The heat of the sun gave it the tawny hue

 

When the thrill of breaking yields value

How can the fragile pot remain unbroken

For the wont of smashing and remoulding

Dream-coins land on the potter's hands

 

Feigning blindness without a blindfold

I've seen many a mind shattered to pieces

Families teeming with joy

Yet we play the game of pot-breaking

Blindfolded

 

The thrill of breaking earthen-pots

Is akin to cracking prickly heats

Born from the weight of the grief of breaking

Dreams of moulding anew

Thousands are born from fullness

Fullness is born from emptiness

 

The Stool

 

I clearly hear my wife

Looking for me

Her needs are high above

At a height she can't reach

She needs my height

 

She hasn't been able to find me

Now and then I get lost in this way

She scours for me

On our first wedding night

I got lost

In the glow of her dowry

 

Today too I'm pretending to be asleep

I can hear her voice cold as a serpent

Finding no response she dragged out a stool

Lying under the bed

(I hadn't seen the stool before)

Mounted upon the stool

She got hold of her needs

With her nimble hands one after another

 

The wheel of worldly life rolled again

This time its sound really

Lulled me to sleep

In my slumber

I grew envious of the wooden stool…

 

P.S. My daughter is thirteen

I pray she grows tall enough

Not to need a stool

 

Tathagata

(Beside the Bodhibriksha)

 

Having traversed this distance can one return

On returning can I recover this life, Tathagata

When weary people are sunk in slumber

After a grand assemblage

 

All inert limbs and organs

Lie scattered around

 

I rise from them and stealthily

Drag myself to you, Tathagata

 

 

I miss you in the rocks and worship the trees

I crawl as the ants over their cool shade

Here none treads upon others' shadows even

I look for you to repay my debt

For the shade of trees

Tathagata you've gone much afar

: Can one return after being so afar

On returning shall I recover life, Tathagata

 

: No one traverses this distance to return

The journey is from nothingness to nothingness

Life is after all a worship of nothingness---

Sacred nothingness.

 

* Bodhibriksha - Tree of Enlightenment

 

All poems are translated into English from the original Assamese by Krishna Dulal Barua.

 

About the poet --

 

Rajeev Barua ( 1963) is a leading Assamese Poet and Broadcaster. Recipient of prestigious Munin Barkataki Award for poetry, Barua has seven collections of poems to his credit, namely, Aghari Dinar Diary (1985), Gosse Pohar Dia Din (1993), Panir Ghar (1997), Tumi Ki Kavi, Nijar Eta Pukhuri Nai(2001), Khali Botolar Malita(2006), Kisuman Bodhar Baran (2012) and Hoyto Mudradosh(2016). His recent collections of poems have received rave reviews and thereby wide admiration. Lines In The Void (2009) and Bodh Jo Abhivykti Banana Chahata Hai (2009) are two collections of his poems translated into English and Hindi respectively. These collections were reviewed by leading Hindi Literary Journal “Vagarth”of Bharatio Bhasa Parisad , Journals like “Indian Literature” and “Samkaleen Bhartiya Sahitya” published by Sahitya Akademi.

He is currently working as Assistant Director at All lndia Radio Guwahati .

 

About the translator

Krishna Dulal Barua is a teacher in English. He received prestigious Katha Award for translation in 2005. A collection of English translation of selecte poems ofrenowned Assamese poet Nilamani Phookan has been published by Sahitya Akademi in 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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