Two Poems by Anirban Dutta


With the assurance of the horse of progress
Galloping along this way
The streets by the gateways have been straightened as arrows
Widened and made spacious

In reality—
Rows and rows of old trees have been hewn
The clamorous ponds have been buried
The tender backs of farmlands have been ripped apart
Dug and grubbed out

In front of everyone's eyes–
The rustic hamlets
The evergreen trees
Rivers and rills with untied tresses
All have been dragged by their nose-strings to hell

A civilization follows hobbling behind

For misapprehension or hunger
The king and his men,
When asked,
Utter not a word
Clamorous both outside and within

In whose grip does the sharpened sword seethe
Drops of blood remained dripping from the roof
All through the night

At whose feet are the finer veins
Lying genuflect
In which corner is the enkindled star
Hiding itself
The night of the hailstorm shattered
All dreams of Saraighat

The interlinking village-paths have eroded away
The bonding bridges of faces and minds have crumbled
Amid the incessant clamour

The detached people have become
Unfamiliar with their own selves

Wonder, to which dense forest
Are the hushed inaudible screams,
Floating in the emptiness,
And the echoes of their resonance
Heading for?
And the countless afflicted faces with shattered dreams?

How clamorous both outside and within
How were the times, what have they turned into!
Has the phase of war ended herein!

How strange
The white-feathered birds that had come to town
To sing the morning wake-up songs
Met their ends in the noose in the Jatinga of greed

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.

Click for the original Assamese poems.

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