Trees Those that have gone through the severest of violence Are the trees. After flowers-fruits branches-leaves Get chopped-plucked for the slightest need If anything is sought to be severed right at its base It's the tree. In the name of widening the streets In the name of erecting houses In the name of livelihood through the sale of wooden frames Trees are brutally felled. Why do you needlessly cry as being oppressed If at all one has to cry, let it be a tree Why do you needlessly revolt for the crisis of identity If at all one has to revolt, let it be a tree. For you there are havens galore There are cities towns villages Where is a tree safe? Even amid the forsaken mountains a tree has no security. Yet in the forest abodes Whom haven't the trees lent hospitality? For the munificence of trees As a human you remain Birds remain as birds Tigers as tigers Fish as fish Not a thing does a tree seek in return from anyone. Seeking nothing from others Treading upon no one's courtyard Backing out from nothing Uttering no acrid word before anyone Rather tending everyone with care Further, even after death Donating its body -- it's the tree. Despite utmost desires can a human be a tree? With fresh sprouts from its base Even after being hewed down The philanthropic and courteous trees Are no demonic humans To hold them up You needn't be least terrified.
Translated by Krishna Dulal Barua
Anirban Dutta is an Assamese poet and writer based in Hawajan, Biswanath, Assam.
Krishna Dulal Barua is a prominent translator and writer based in Nagaon, Assam. He received the Katha Award for translation in 2005.