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

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