Noni Bordoloi’s Poems

The canopy of thoughts

On my barren bosom
You'd penned
A tender poem

A frenzied westerly now blows
Within my heart.

I stood in front of the gate
With my body covered by a wrap of darkness
The winds rushed towards me and asked ....
For whom are you waiting ?

I said
Love is supposed to arrive.

I try to be inebriated
As the whirlwind,
As a goblet of wine I want to guzzle
Your unembellished love

Let the arid desert be soaked
By torrential rain.
My hunger-stricken body and a paper-flag

For five decades and more
I've slept with poverty at the head of my bed

My entire life has passed in providing them with food
In hauling their weights
In carrying out their menial chores
I've transformed my life into a rock
Now I've grown scrawny, enfeebled is my mind 

With the touch of coarse hands
And with the gruffy tone of voices
The world of love
Is in utter terror, perhaps has absconded with no trace

It's impossible to curse God, after all
He can't even be questioned
I wonder why has the body been linked
To an abyss called the belly
Why has a merciless demon been created
Called hunger

From the emaciated bodies
I didn't seek too much of anything

I sought only a handful of rice
Or a piece of chapatti

And heaping on my scrawny-stony body
An undesirable pledge
And tucking a paper-flag into my fist

They said—Cast your vote in this symbol

Translated by Krishna Dulal Barua

Noni Bordoloi is an Assamese poet based in Doomdooma, Tinsukia.

Krishna Dulal Barua is a prominent translator and writer based in Nagaon, Assam. He received the Katha Award for translation in 2005.

Click here to read the original Assamese poems.