The Milky Conch A drenched milky conch Rises from the salty waters To sun itself on the sandy shore And wait for the boys in search of conches The boys shall arrive as a clamour Pick them up and tuck them into their bags As it were wish-fulfilling trees Rinse them aglitter Patch up the pores and polish them Put them up for sale At the fairs The women too shall come to the fair Pick up the conches Touch and probe for the perfect ones Penta-faced or octa-faced As their choice be With an eye shut, peer into the distance Trust a gust of air With pursed lips The noise of the conch shall shake The sky's canopy The wars of the soil, the wars of rocks All shall wake up What rings in the nymph's voice, what's it All shall be stupefied Just then a tiny wave From the Luit's bosom Shall pop up afloat on the sea
Translated by Krishna Dulal Barua
Arcchana Pujari is a prominent Assamese poet based in Guwahati. She has nine collections of poems to her credit.
Krishna Dulal Barua is a prominent translator and writer based in Nagaon, Assam. He received the Katha Award for translation in 2005.