Monthly Archives: June 2022

Poetry Allows me to Drive out the Demons in my Mind and Heart

Neelakshi Dutta

Neelakshi Dutta

As an educated person what is your relation with poetry?

Since childhood I have a great love and passion for reading and writing poetry. Poetry is my best companion, my talisman, my guardian angel and my joy. I have a great attraction for perusing poetry as well as a great proclivity for expressing myself in the poetic form.

Why do you read poems if you read poems at all?

Poetry reading and writing is a holistic and cathartic experience for me. I must confess that poetry allows me to drive out the demons and dust out the cobwebs in my mind and heart. Poetry is the sane voice that mirrors our world with all its beauty and its warts. It puts on us our thinking caps, it makes us appreciate beauty for all that it is worth, and it inspires us to nurture the positive and ideal within our souls.

What type of poems do you like best?

Poetry is great fodder for people with soft, tender hearted, sensitive, gentle, emotional and romantic sensibilities. Poetry allows them to escape from the harsh vagaries of this cruel, mechanical, unemotional and materialistic world into the imaginary beautiful world brought alive by the skill and expertise of the wordsmiths—the poets.

What is your opinion on contemporary Assamese poetry?

Contemporary Assamese poetry is very much aware and knows the pulse of our world as it is at present. It gives us a bird’s eye view of the strengths and illnesses of our present world; as well as it soothes our senses by way of the beautiful, sensible and meaningful words and sentences that it offers the readers to feast upon to their hearts and minds content. It makes us proud of the quality of high thinking at display in our Assamese poetry and literature, thus in our literary community which is part of the larger intellectual Assamese community.

Do you have any suggestion for the poets today?

Poets and writers are creative people with sensitive faculties who can rightly dissect and discern things with the right intentions and objectives. This faculty’s optimum use is paramount in today’s times, not only by the poet or writer community but by all well meaning people who are rightly concerned for the well being and welfare of our society in the present and in the future.

Neelakshi Dutta is a poet, translator and reciter based in Guwahati. In 2021 she started a YouTube channel called Elvira Creative for which she created videos of poetry reading.

কবিতাত আনক বিচাৰি পাওঁ

খগেন ভৰালী

Khagen Bharali

এজন শিক্ষিত ব্যক্তি হিচাপে কবিতাৰ সৈতে আপোনাৰ সম্পৰ্কটো কেনে ধৰণৰ?

প্ৰথমতে পাঠশালাত, এসময়ত কছৰত কৰোঁতে (অনুশীলন), এতিয়া জীৱনৰ প্ৰতিটো ছন্দই কবিতা হৈ পৰিল। লু চুনৰ নাতিয়েক লু জিয়ে কোৱাৰ দৰেই প্ৰতিটো কঠোৰ গদ্যই একোটি ছন্দময় স্পন্দনেৰে আলোড়িত শব্দৰ জীৱনৰ পদ্য হৈ পৰিল। পঢ়োঁ এতিয়াও সময় পালেই।

আপুনি কবিতা কিয় পঢ়ে?

কবিতাত আনক বিচাৰি পাওঁ, কেতিয়াবা নিজক, কেতিয়াবা জীৱনক বিচাৰি পাওঁ একান্তভাৱে। বাটলাৰ ইয়েটছে কোৱাৰ দৰেই: “It is blood, imagination intellect running together- it bids us to touch and taste and hear and see the world and strike from all that is the brain only”।

কেনে ধৰণৰ কবিতাই আপোনাক তৃপ্তি দিয়ে?

এম্বিগুৱাছ কথাষাৰ, অনুভূতি প্ৰৱণতাতকৈ বাস্তৱৰ সতে ‘ষ্টাৰ্ন ৰিয়েলিটী’ৰ কবিতা (টি এছ এলিয়টে কোৱাৰ দৰেই)।

সাম্প্ৰতিক অসমীয়া কবিতা সম্পৰ্কে আপোনাৰ ধাৰণা কি?

অসমীয়া আধুনিক কবিতা সীমাত উপনীত হৈছে। জেনেট উণ্টাৰছনে কোৱাৰ দৰেই “A tough life needs a tough language-language and that is what poetry is”।

কবিসকলৰ প্ৰতি কি আহ্বান?

সকলোলৈ শুভেচ্ছা জ্ঞাপন কৰিছোঁ। সকলোলৈ জেনেট উণ্টাৰছনৰ ভাষাত তেওঁলোকৰ পৰা মাতষাৰ শুনিবলৈ পাওঁ যেন: “a language powerful enough to say how it is. It is not a hiding place. It is a finding place.” সকলো উজলি উঠিক অসমীয়া আধুনিক কবিতাৰ গৰ্ভত, নিৰন্তৰ গতিত ক্ৰিয়াশীল হৈ পৰক কবিতাৰ ছন্দময় গতিত। বিচাৰক, কৰ্ষণ কৰক, অনুশীলন কৰক, নিজক বিচাৰক, আনক অনুসন্ধান কৰক, অনুভূতি আৰু উপলব্ধিৰে বিশাল পৃথিৱীখনলৈ ঢাপলি মেলক৷ সকলোলৈ অভিনন্দন জ্ঞাপন কৰিছোঁ, অসমীয়া আধুনিক কবিতাৰ সোণালী যুগ আৰম্ভ হওক একৈশ শতিকাৰ ঢল পুৱাতেই।

(খগেন ভৰালী এগৰাকী জ্যেষ্ঠ লেখক।)

Letter to Mother, from Hell

by Navakanta Barua

Mother, I am in hell. Its not so bad. 
Love is loose change, 
Sucking the bones of making a living.
Life is quite a plump dog,
The dog does not remember the road
The great journey. 

Oho, my mistake- no one here forgets anything.
Its just that one feels afraid to think. 
That’s why, with soft, heavy,trivial and big talk
We keep kicking the eternal rolling stone.
But then, without this babble,
Its difficult to live in hell.

The earth’s memories are doled out in little pieces, 
To hell’s whole citizens. There’s a ban on love. 
If you are thirsty, there’s booze,
Tea and lemonade, but you won’t find
Cool water. If you send some in a bottle,
It might perhaps look like medicine.

If you see a spring somewhere, and go towards it, 
A love from earth comes and hangs a ‘NO’ sign.
You know, mother, 
The spring is all earth, the border, of the earth
You live in, the earth apparently
Does not want to trade with hell.

What to do, mother, 
I could just manage to smuggle out 
This secret letter.
If you can, do come forward, a little,
I too will get out of my hell
To the heart of that spring. 

There, in that river island, 
You will remove the earth’s tired air,
The closed road from earth.
I too may flee dark emotions, my deep blue thirst. 
Else, perhaps, I will have to stay
Without alternative, in this hell

Sucking trinkets of love, and making a living.
Just that, mom, 
Don’t give me solace, 
That its only the mind that’s hell.  
Only then, would I be, truly helpless. 
My mind. That’s something that’s still mine.  

Translated by Amlanjyoti Goswami

Click here to read the original Assamese poem.

Navakanta Barua (b.1926-d.2002) was a noted Assamese poet, novelist and translator.

Amlanjyoti Goswami‘s new collection of poetry is Vital Signs (Poetrywala). His earlier collection River Wedding (Poetrywala) was widely reviewed. His poetry has been published in journals and anthologies around the world. A Best of the Net and Pushcart nominee, his poems have also appeared on street walls in Christchurch, exhibitions in Johannesburg, an e-gallery in Brighton and buses in Philadelphia. He has reviewed poetry for Modern Poetry in Translation and has read in various places, including New York, Delhi and Boston. He grew up in Guwahati and lives in Delhi.

The Temple of Melody

By Bishnu Prasad Rava

The temple of melody
  The silver fetters of which
    You’ve torn apart and opened
      The golden doors
        O’ Priest!
          O’ Priest!!
            You worshipper of beauty!!!
             The enduring 
            Dulcet Borgeet
           Melodious Bongeet
          Sing, O’ the Assamese people
        Filling your heart and mind
     O’ Priest!
    O’ Priest!!
   You worshipper of beauty!!!
In your touch
  The ecstasy of the heart
    Shakes off slumber
      Attains freedom
       Contours of ragas
         Move on wafting
          O’ Priest!
            O’ Priest!!
              You’ve set up the altar
                  You’ve placed the idol
                      Performed the worship too
                 Shaping the idol of freedom
            O’ Priest!
      O’ Priest!!
 O’ Priest!!!
Blow the conch
   Strike the cymbals
       Begin the rituals of prayer
           Light up the lamp
              Welcoming with elation
                 O’ Priest!
                   O’ Priest!!
                      You worshipper of beauty.

[Translated by Uttam Duorah]

Click here to read original Assamese poem

Bishnu Prasad Rava (1909-1969) was a renowned artist, writer, actor, song writer and politician of Assam.

Uttam Duorah, the translator, retired as the HoD, English, Women’s College, Tinsukia and is based in Tinsukia, Assam.

The Split Flute

By Parvati Prasad Barua

You were engrossed with your flute
The entire half of the day
Standing by the river;
I too was there
Entranced by your side.
Your flute echoed
Anecdotes of my life,
How soothing!
How mellifluous was your rendering
Of the Ragini*!
You left with the flute thumped on the ground.
Lifting it tenderly 
I kept blowing on it again and again --
It didn't sound;
After a close look I spotted --
The flute had been split.

*Ragini : traditional pattern of notes in Indian Classical music used as a basis for improvising a piece of music. Conventionally, a ‘ragini’ is regarded to be feminine by nature contrary to the masculine quality of a ‘raga’.

Translated by Krishna Dulal Barua

Click here to read original Assamese poem.

Parvati Prasad Barua (1904–1964) was a noted poet, song writer and film maker of Assam.

Krishna Dulal Barua is a prominent translator and writer based in Nagaon, Assam. He received the Katha Award for translation in 2005. He can be reached at

Towards far off

By Mahendra Bora

I bawled out over the field
Towards far off
Across the horizon beyond the range of vision
No response came back as an echo

The bell around the buffalo’s neck made with wooden cover
The vapid sounds of which are 
In the static void of the field in the quiescent evening

As if an ancient beckon since aeons
Shivering and dancing
Spreads over the swamp grass, stubble and bog
From welkin to welkin

Feel like following that soft whistle
Which has been calling me from across the patch of fog
With a swishing sound the whole day
Towards far off

[Translated by Uttam Duorah]

Click here to read original Assamese poem.

Dr. Mahendra Bora (b. 22.08.1929-d.09.04.1996) was an eminent modern Assamese poet, critic and translator.

Uttam Duorah, the translator, retired as the HoD, English, Women’s College, Tinsukia and is based in Tinsukia, Assam.