Could you be on your floor?
Could you speak, could you stay…
Having sold each unborn child,
how come you crazed over your television?
I too want the news of the distant planets,
to make the world the palm of my hands,
want to tie the planets with the thread of love and play
But before that I need water to quench my thirst,
rice to kill my hunger, shelter at night
and the Oxygen to breathe…
I should’ve been in the lap of sleep
Embracing with my both hands dreams
But laying my body on the cot
I come out alone
And fight with my own self…
Seeing the poisonous gas
emitted by the pipes of the multinationals,
seeing Bhupal become Hiroshima in explosions,
where would you flee?
Where would you have dreams?
Where would you play your tots?
They experiment at the Pacific with atomic explosions
Having seen your neighbours preparing to buy modern weapons
You too build your own arsenal.
How do I parade my tiger’s nails?
As if Regan, as if his atomic teeth laugh aloud even in my dreams…
Voice means freedom,
‘feet’ means mapping the road,
‘eyes’ means the whole world that we see.
We dream on the eroded Majuli.
For a plate of rice, for a word of mouth, for a plot of land, we kill each other.
I lose my eyes again and again,
I lose my knee balls.
They take them out and I fetch them back.
I die again and again and rise,
with the eyes of the chronicle.
Of course I don’t have a vehicle yet.
I don’t have a passport to take me
wherever I want to go.
Still my country can give me…
The ocean touches my feet and lets me go.
I see eighty five cargo ships sail
through a cape of hopes.
They only pick up the manganese, the platinum, the gold,
the metals to refine crude oil.
The Sahara with its fiery tongue
Ten million children of ’85
burn in the terrible inferno of famine.
No roads go there. No foods supplied.
Reason is there is difference in colours.
Can you Mother console the children
with the Nobel Peace Prize in your hands
by offering them energy biscuits?
Can you light up Africa
with the light of love only?
The burning hearts, the burning eyes, ears, feet,
The scattered particles of the brains—I keep picking up
I kiss again and again (to see) the embracing hands of the world
spread out like the Sun.
Because I am a human. Son of the immortal.
I am immortal with the lives of the still unborn poets of the world.
I am that poet, who has spent a season in hell at his 15.
I can set up a garden of flowers
by breaking the atomic teeth with my ruthless hands.
Only then, in my voice can be seen the light of Neruda’s love,
I touch Lorca’s green and get drenched in Nazim’s world of light,
stroll along that crystal road in Mayakovsky’s attire in the gait of clouds
Stars don’t lit the sky for no reason…
I am there
I only unfold your heart in my voice.
(A poem translated from original Assamese ‘Kabikantha’ by Ritwik Chakravarty)