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Date of Publish: 2016-05-28

Few poems of Sameer Tanti

 

 

I ASKED THE TRAVELLING ASCETICS

 

I asked the travelling ascetics

They nodded but remained silent

 

I asked the returning fisherman

They looked towards the sea but said nothing

 

I asked the weeping women

They sighed but did not utter a word

 

I Kept moving, picking   up the fallen leaves

Through the fog alone, along the steps of moonlit night

Faraway in the distance a fire burned

What a fine and whose it was and of which time

Who knows may be it”s me burning since time immemorial

This pyre lost in trance

 

Translated from Assamese by  Dr. Bibhash Choudhury

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WE MAKE AND BREAK EACH OTHER AT WILL

We make and break each other at will, in which

Many are dead, and some are celebrated at our desire

We are all gods of the will and the offerings are will too

Many wishes remain unfulfilled when we don’t will them

Are we time, time us we adopt the time of others

So much is given to joy, and so much to mourning

Eternal mourning, the morning tree shadows men and women

I am the meeting ground of such women and men, time’s reminder

I end with the light of all wills resounding   to its flute

I have been playing since then, at the will of the deities

 

Translated from Assamese by Dr. Bibhash Choudhury

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go, give them the news

 

Go, give them the news

tell them the water is knee deep now
they have to give the boats alone
the graveyards are to be dug up tomorrow
that should tell them all

Go, get the news across

take a lamp with you as you go
all lamps may have burnt out there
no oil may be, for the wicks which stand
all these belong to when the evening deepens

Go, get the news across

don’t you tell them though
that the men are all lost
that with the roads
the courtyards too is lost
don’t tell them of the firing at Kokrajhar
or of the homes and fields mortgaged

Go, tell them the news
know his walk well before you confide
hear his voice
measure his shadow if you can
with these ten these ten fingers

Go, get the news across

inform the police before you leave
rehearse before the mirror
what all you would say
give your address before you leave
so that town-folk get to know of you

Is it true really?
could be false
may not be
then it’s a fact
Yes, yes, it is
Go, give them the news

It’s true
it could
that’s right, it may not

 

Translated by Pradip Acharya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pears Of   Nongpoh

 

The pears of Nongpoh  tastes so sweet

Sweeter than that is the Kong of Nongpoh

 

Her Kwai reddened lips

Like a ripened Soh long is she

 

Behind her two eyes

Lies the green of Nongpoh

 

Rolling down through the gap in her lips

Her gentle laughter

Gurgles like  a streams

Crystal water

 

Oh where did I see

The long streak of lightning

At a night n Umsoi

 

Laying peek-a-boo

Pass   out

So many sleepless nights

 

Who spoiled her mind

Simple and straight as the pine tree

She enters into me

The mother of all the world’s children

 

The pears  of Nongpoh   tastes so sweet

Sweeter than that is the kong of Nongpoh.

 

*Kwai  - the areca nut in Khasi which is eaten with the betel leaf and lime.

*Soh-long- a kind of berry found in the shilling region.

 

Translated from Assamese by Lyra Neog

 

about the translators-

Pradip Acharya is a renowned translator in Assamese and English, literary critic and author. He taught English in Cotton College.

Bibhash choudhury is a translator, author and a literary critic. He teaches English in Gauhati University.

Lyra Neog teaches English in Nowgong College.

 

Why do I write poetry - Sameer Tanti

 

Behind the emergence of every poet and his poetic   aesthetics , there are many factors that play a crucial role in the development of the right sensibility. His childhood and upbringing, parents, nature and the environment, the socio-political condition of his native land and society work silently but powerfully in moulding his psyche to face the reality that he lives in. Amidst celebration and suffering, the poet grows and gathers his experience of life to define the time and the world as he sees through his eyes. Like the primitive priest who takes up responsibility to protect his people from the evils of time, the poet reappears in modern times to rally his people on the streets in the struggle against the humiliation of time and society. As a survivor, he takes the task of emancipating his people from suffering and bondage, as one who has been entrusted to protect all living creatures on earth and nature .He suffers without letting others bear the burden of suffering, while taking up the solitary exercise to bridge the chasm between infinity and the great human family. History is witness to many instances when the poet has sacrificed his life at the altars of tyranny of rulers and states to safe guard the greater  interest  of mankind and human civilization .In this, the poet and his poetry are pivotal in bringing justice  in an otherwise unjust world.

As a poet born and brought up in a remote tea garden of Assam , humiliation ,poverty, ignorance and deprivation are not just elusive words but stark realities of a society that has been around for a very long time. Growing up as a young child in an environment such as this , these factors have been influential in shaping the person and the poet  I am today .The illustrious critic and poet Oscar Milosz had once said, “Poetry must be aware of its terrible responsibilities , for it is not a purely individual game and it gives shape to the aspirations of the great soul of people”.

It was this desire to give voice to all those unsaid things of my society that I chose to take up poetry as tool and medium to express all that has often been left unsaid and have gone unheard – the reason why I chose to write poetry.

 

The Poet:

Born in 1955, Sameer Tanti, a renowned poet of Assam, has 12 collection of poems, four critical and literary essays, two translations of African poems and love songs and Japanese love poetry, to his credit.  

Sameer Tanti, whose poems have been translated into English and several other languages, is a recipient of the prestigious Assam Valley Literary Award in 2012.

Some of his collections include Yuddhbhumir Kabitaa, Kadam Phular Rati, Seujia Utsav, Shokakul Upatakya, Tej Andharor Nao, Bishoy Durbhikhya, Somoy Sabda Sapon, among others. Two of his  collections of translated poetry include - Kafri Kobita and Japani Premor Kabita. He has edited two shortstory collections - Desh Bibhajanor Golpa and Andhare Goroka Somoy.

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