Lock and Key The lock and the key Both are each other's One for the other Yet both aren't alike The lock is solemn as prose As a poet the key is restless Entrusting everything to the lock People sleep in peace While moving away afar They keep the key with them all along Still keys get lost Unawares After losing the key The lock cannot breathe Or fall asleep Waveless river-waters are inert Keyless locks too are inactive Locks that are unable to move out In search of their keys Remain hanging at their places As stiff sculptures of dejection Hanging on an invisible door after losing the key The stiff sculpture one day saw me and said— Because of untrustworthy people One day we were born Today for the lack of trust even upon us People fix sensors on the door Oh, this happens to be a talking lock I've found a companion with whom I can converse The House You've built a house of your own Fixed your name-plate on the gate In case the acquired bliss spills out There's a lock in the grilles of the gate at night You've built a house of your own You've been saved from being a vagrant Nevertheless, pointlessly your unease mounted But while hankering for a house you'd grown frenetic Then you grew restless to go out while you were inside the house To return home after you'd gone out But even when you were inside the house You were totally drenched in the downpour of thoughts The tender leaves of your dreams Withered even under the soft sunlight In the very interior of the house You were split asunder by the bullets of apprehension Oh dear, you couldn't understand That the body of your house is real Your body isn't, it's unreal The real never protects the unreal And never do they dwell together A house is steady and stable You're restless and flippant A house is mute, you're eloquent The facts don't go together Still you can be an oil-painting Hanging on the wall Of your newly-built house There you may or may not dwell
Translated by Krishna Dulal Barua
Lutfa Hanum Salima Begum is a prominent Assamese poet based in Guwahati. She has seven collections of poems to her credit. She received Munin Borkotoky Award for poetry in 1996.
Krishna Dulal Barua is a prominent translator and writer based in Nagaon, Assam. He received the Katha Award for translation in 2005.