Lily’s Afternoon

By Bireswar Barua

The letters
Of momentary acquaintance
I’m counting on finger tips.
A doting utterance
A cup of coffee placed on the hand
Are outside the dial of seismograph.

Consequence of one’s acts? Fate?
Darkness has run its hand
Over such accounts on the sheet of paper!
Who is capable of noting down dreams
On the branches and leaves
Where the squirrel wags its tail.
Nursery rhyme,
They’re reluctant to listen
As a proof of that they’ve kept you
In an insane asylum. Alas! Alas! You mad woman!
Helpless—aren’t you totally—
To push away with your hands
The clouds
Of the forenoon sky
They’ve created an artificial afternoon
For the canopy
Over the graveyard of your youth.

Translated by Uttam Duorah

Click here to read the original Assamese poem.

Bireswar Barua (b.1933-d.2010) was a modern Assamese poet, novelist, short story writer and critic.

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

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