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Date of Publish: 2016-04-30


Therefore the sea could never go to sleep


The moon accompanies the stars

To have bath in its heart


The wind wants to sleep with it

The fish and the snails too


The boats and the ships

Dye its heart with vermilion


But it falls in love with

That girl who roams to pick up the snails

And does not go down to its heart


Therefore the sea could never go to sleep.

Translated from Assamese by Abhignyan Anurag












He entered inside

opening the door to my heart

without bothering to ask


He broke

my vase of Love

immediately after


Where from my friend this pest

arrived first thing in the morning

I fed him

And also

Attended to

Evening rolled in

He is in no mood

to depart


Night descended

The guest fell asleep

on my bed like a log


At midnight

He brought out a packet

from his chest

Handed over to me



He readied to depart


He would catch the midnight train


I open the packet

and saw

His shattered heart

As was

My vase of Love


Where from this guest arrived ?

Where did he depart to ?

Where did he depart to ?


Translated from Assamese by Bibekananda Choudhury


Shillong, 16th April '89


The world's hardest rock was sleeping

Under a white pine tree. The yellow intoxication of whisky

brought me to this rock. I do not know in whose search

The cracks and crevices of the rock were filled with moonlight,

The crystal body of the rock was sparking like a nude girl.

A yellow wind was whirring in the den of the ear.


My shoes were getting pale in the moonlight. Everybody

wanted as if to be nude in the moonlight, my clothes were

restless. The rock was folding up getting twisted,

bending towards my lips.


The world's hardest rock was

becoming soft for two seconds

under a yellow wind, moonlight and a white pine tree.


Suddenly a wild thorn pierced me

Blood spurted out of my feet and I was surprised to see

that my blood was not red, It was yellow instead.

Translated from Assamese by Pradip Acharjee











The beautiful women


The beautiful women get down from the city bus

And walk along the footpath. The bell in the town rings for eleven times

When the women arrive. The town keeps all of its windows to see the beautiful women. They dazzle in unique warmth when in the wool market.

The beautiful women never try for poetry. They shampoo once in a week and comb hair under the sun. A poet named ‘Hemanta shes’ composes ballads for them. The vegetables like to have a lift in the hand baggage of them. The beautiful women shop inners for their men. They take tastes of phuska in the street. The beautiful women become raring to go home back before sunset. The beautiful women get on the city bus against the rush. The town then fades away in distress. The city cannot follow the beautiful women. But, if they wish, the beautiful women can hunt the city.

Translated from Assamese by Bibekananda Choudhury


Traffic Jam


As I drive out from home

Suddenly I forget

Where I was headed to

When I get stuck

into the traffic jams in a hurry

Then I feel restless

And I remember-

where I was headed to


Many people tell me -

'' I saw you the other day

in the traffic jam ''


Yes !

Who was it that saw me in the traffic jam

I have to enter into another traffic jam

To remember one .

Translated from Assamese by Bibekananda Choudhury









Rubi Gupta


The  underwear  of  Rubi  Gupta  had  not  dried  out

On  the  day  the  Jalianwala  Bagh  massacre  took  place .

While  gathering  clothes , hung  them  out  to  dry

Up  in  the  concrete  roof

She  noticed

All  of  her  clothes  had  dried  out

Except  her  underwear .


Frightened  she  was

Since  the evil  occurrence  there  must  be

On  earth

On  the  same  day

When  her  underwear

Get  dry  late.


Now  and  then

I  think  of  Rubi  Gupta

Who  lived  in  a  novel’s  protracted  house

Nobody  knew  about  the  world  tragedies’ link

With  this  tiny  wear .

Even  she  cannot  let  others  know  it  too .

The  underwear  of  Rubi  Gupta  had  not  dried  out

On  the  day  of  world’s  terrible  quakes,

Volcanoes , tsunamis  and  massacres .


She  was  never  at  ease  without  underwear

Even  without  wash .

In  her  childhood

Her  mother  taught

Not  to  stay  sans  underwear.


Now  she  only  shivered  with  apprehension

Was  her  underwear  dry ?

She  ironed  her  underwear

On a rainy day.


To  save  the  world

She tried her hardest

Translated from Assamese by Abhignyan Anurag




Rain raised its hand and stopped the bus.

And noisily struggled into the bus

No seats were vacant

Rain remained standing clutching the handle

And pressed against me


The wind, the clouds, lightening or thunder

None of these companions of rain

Was sitting on the seats

The Men who were sitting

Were totally unknown to rain


In the bumping of the bus from time to time

Raindrops and the rim-jim sound of the rain

Spattered into people’s bodies

Some stretching their necks and some

Over the shoulders of other people looked at rain

Like a restless girl

Standing clutching the handles


Slowly the floor of the bus

Became all over flown with rain water

Even then no one said anything

All were silent


That is why

Rain put an arm on my shoulder

The papers in my shirt pocket

Become wet together with my shirt

And being wet

Spread on a half-written poem of mine

Kept amidst the papers

My lips without my knowing

Sucked drops of water of rain


Just like this without my knowing

Rain went inside me.

Inside me there was a tiny little sky

Having seen the sky

Rain started raining


When being wet from rain

From inside and outside

I am

Rain asked whispering in my ear

“ I hope you were not drenched in the rain ?”

Translated from Assamese by Ajit Barua


The Curve


All the beautiful   curves

Of Earth are dangerous


Come , let us get down

At this captivating- dangerous curve


From this curve

One feels like taking entire world

Into an embrace

From this curve

One feels like jumping down to the green


Is this curve


Just because it is beautiful ?


Is it beautiful

Because it is dangerous ?


All the beautiful and

Dangerous curves of this world

Returns us our homes



Let us go home


Tell me sweetheart

Which way is your home ?

Translated from Assamese by Bibekananda Choudhury




Nilim Kumar

Although untrue, yet I would say I was born to be a poet. Or at least, that is how I like to think it to be. And inciting myself like this, I am living. Otherwise I would have long died poisoning myself, for I could not find a meaning of my birth. Poetry indeed has saved me.

I grew up bereft of love. My childhood became increasingly tattered for sham human behavior and for the sheer lack of love. And then- I got the gift of an awesome power-solitude. My poems are an expression of my solitude.

Amidst the unending clash with my consciousness while living a life absolutely unwished for, I think, that, to celebrate life I do not have people by my side, what I do have is immense nature beside me. I try to unveil this boundless nature with aesthetics. That is why, you find water in my poems, or moonbeam in the lips of water; and that is why water treads in and out through my house. That is why, you see waves, waves as fishes, golden and silvery like that of an impossible poem.

That is why the oranges entered into my sleep. That is why the hardest rock on earth turned smooth for some tiny flashes and that is why a third breast of woman undulated in wind like a little grass.

My poems themselves recurrently analyze the reasons for the excess abundance of my self-centeredness. Many a critic, many a reader have accused my path of not being correct. Now against the relativity of correctness and incorrectness the path that the diffidence or uncertainty, the dim history and experiences of my life have created I am on that path. The branches of this breath are also limited. Any sound of the universal or that of an epic consciousness is certainly absent in my poems.

The being that I am-just above the inanimate, I deny all potentials inside me. I want to establish my blood and flesh, my hunger and fatigue. Just my presence that I am, and that one day I would stop being.

The uncertainty that I carry within myself, my poetic consciousness emerges from this utter distortion- it defines the meaning as well as meaninglessness of my words. The very meaning of meaninglessness.

But I want to free words from its meanings, from the limitations of meaning. I want the grammar in my poems to be as incorrect as my incorrect journey. I let the language of my poems be intoxicated with my solitude or evil with curses.

Translated by Daisy Barman.

(Daisy Barman is a scribbler and translator. She can be reached at maa.daisy@gmail.com)


The Poet 

Nilim Kumer is one of the most popular Assamese poets. He  was born in Pathsala in lower Assam’s Barpeta district in 1961.  Some of his collections include Achinar Ashukh, Bari Kunwar, Swapnar Relgaari; Seluoi Gadhuli; Topanir Baagicha , Panit Dhou Dhoubor Mach, among others. He visited France in 2001 under a Indo-France cultural exchange programme at the initiative of Sahitya Akademi. In 1996, he visited Bangladesh  as a representative of Indian writers. He is a member of selection committee of “Indian poetry for the young cultural values  on the web.”



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