Two Poems by Sarifa Khatoon Chowdhury

What Strange

In the pitch dark night of the black moon
I have blindfolded myself
With a black cloth
And yet
Everything dazzles around me
Everything is bright and clear.

Stuffing my ears with wax
I am sitting as one stone deaf
But words and sounds
I can hear so distinctly 
Silence passed on silently.

I wanted to play the dumb
And a shower of words drenched me
And I recited Tagore's Sesher Kavita 
Debated and discussed 
Many a topic. 

Having decided not to move out
I locked the gate
Bolted the door
And then began
The journey on foot. 

I went on and on
Across deserts and wilderness
And rivers to arrive at the sea shore
And to stretch my hands 
to the infinite 
But my hands
We're tightly bound.

Isn't it?
Along the Footpath all alone

At midnight 
Who went along the footpath 
Men or shadows
Before it was determined 
A gust of storm burst out
And a host of suffering 
Hiding under a polythene blanket
Woke up.

No there is none
Then who passed by
Sighs are slipping through
Fallen leaves 

Who are they
Sitting in a circle 
Under the peepul tree
Probably they conversed
While walking along the footpath 
Like shadows 
At midnight 

Day after day
Collage of things known and unknown 
Pile up alongside the roads
In the town
Air becomes heavy
With ancient words
Of love and anger
Noise and exuberance 

Night after night
Sufferings wake up
The Sighs come and go

Who can tell
Whose hearts they have broken 
And where they are moving 
We are also moving with them
Along the footpath 
Lonely in the crowd.

Translated by Ananda Bormudoi

Sarifa Khatoon Chowdhury is an Assamese poet and novelist based in Doomdooma, Assam. She has two collections of poems to her credit. She is a Consulting Editor of PWF.

Click here for the original Assamese poems.

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