Which Flower is Pretty I've an urge to set sail on a pinnace And move away Forging ahead Splitting the waves To be by your side Hey what're you doing During those days of poring over tales About the plough and the soil Daubed with mud I stood beside you And picked up berries When you harrowed the field I ran after you To fill the creel with little fish When the new seedlings were transplanted You apprised This tuft is for the votary This tuft is for guests This tuft is for worshipping this worn-out frame I swear That day the odour of your body Made me frenetic Seated upon a soft ridge in the fields You tucked into my mouth a handful of repast From the bundle wrapped with a gamocha And asked -- which flower is pretty I stared straight into your eyes as I swallowed the food Counting with my fingers I said Cape Jasmine, Plumeria, Pandanus Four o' clock, Arabian Jasmine, Foxtail You laughed at my answers Hey silly, it's the calf of the leg And for me Your calves are the prettiest of flowers on earth My dreams dropped Upon the meadow of your heart On the Mahapurusha's Tithi in mid-September I prayed with my parents in the Naam-ghar In the fields of Kati Bihu I burnt the sky-lamp on a pole In the wintry fields I became a reaper too That very year before becoming a dancer To your drum-beats in Bohag I tried to erect a palace on your bosom Before brightening up my heart's red on my forehead With the long veil drawn across my face I sought to raise the fecundity Of our sky of love Yet you moved away Trampling over the roses of love Along the path by which Dushyant disappeared once The flesh of the body Impaled the foes With my blood A lamp burnt on your floor Now whenever the mridanga sounds in the sky The odour of mud makes me frantic In my ears ring Which flower is pretty -- which flower is pretty Hey silly
Translated by Krishna Dulal Barua
Tulika Chetia Yein is an Assamese poet and novelist based in Sibasagar, Assam. She has three collections of poems to her credit. Currently she is the editor of a literary magazine Chiphung, published from Dibrugarh, Assam.
Krishna Dulal Barua is a prominent translator and writer based in Nagaon, Assam. He received the Katha Award for translation in 2005.