Two Poems by Nilakanta Saikia

Second Person

I keep on hearing his words
I keep on seeing him within my mind

Everything so auspicious
Everything so spruce

I'd become a devotee of his dress, demeanour
Odour of the heart
Nature, character, his graciousness

One day I met him
He wasn't the person I'd conceived in my mind
He was a second person

Thenceforth he disappeared

Fear-stricken I avoid everyone now
Lest I myself were to vanish
Poetry of a Thousand Hearts

I need no urn to leave myself behind
I'm neither weighty nor light
Neither hard nor soft
Thickened or liquefied
My entity is neither pervasive nor plenteous
I'm neither tears nor laughter

I'm not even perturbed over
Where I've come from or where I'll go to
Heaven or hell or rebirth are beyond my credence
I don't seek to sketch my future with the frontiers of life and death

I want to end myself within me
On the shoulders of humility I go each day
To have my vanity cremated
I wish not to shape human destiny with my times
May the world be moulded with fresh thoughts
Newer ideas, novel incentives

I don't want to make others go through
The woeful pages of my diary
I'm myself the sole witness of my agonies
I long to keep on penning poems of life
Infused with the warmth of a thousand hearts

I yearn to listen to the primal music of certitude
I crave to have a glimpse of the world's new vibration

Before life comes to a standstill with the final whistle

Translated by Krishna Dulal Barua

Click here to read the original Assamese poems

Nilakanta Saikia is a contemporary Assamese poet based in Duliajan, Assam. He has six collections of poems to his credit.

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

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