A few Poems of Rajeevb Baruah

A few Poems of Rajeev Baruah

Tale of a pair of shoes

Translated by Krishna Dulal Baruah

"A pair of shoes had fallen in love
With a pair of feet" - Sapardi Djoko Damono

A pair of old shoes lies upon the granary platform
A spider resides in the right shoe
A mason-wasp in the left
A web on the threshold of the right shoe - half spun
Earthen capsules on the left


Turning lifeless both the shoes
Keep reminiscing the past
The right muses about a road
Smooth as the cheeks of a woman just back from the parlour
The left thinks of the muddy village paths
With puddles of slushy water
Both the shoes had fallen in love with a pair of brawny feet


The shoes' neighbors are as old as the shoes' age
Countless empty bottles small and large
A pair of torn tires and tubes
A broken sieve, a cluster of torch cells
A tuft of rusty wires, banana peels
A torn fish-net, a broken arm of a chair
A fish-scoop and a lute with broken strings
Are the shoes' neighbors


There are two foes of the shoes
They appear as soon as it's dark
Wagging their tails they smell and nibble the bodies of the shoes
The tiny tongues lick the inners and outers
They return in the morn
To the fragrance of ripened paddy


The left shoe raises its ears
A shriek would rush in rending the noon
The shriek would try to lift it
Then carry it off rending the wind……..
The right shoe even now expects
That its second lover would be born
With this hope, it clears cobwebs even today

The Pond

Translated by Krishna Dulal Baruah

A fragment of the sky fell
And became a pond in my garden
I raised its banks
Planted trees to serve as sentries

At last, I'd a pond of my own
I remain engrossed upon its bank
Watching sunrise and sundown
Sometimes I fling pebbles on its stagnant water
In search of ripples
I beckon the winds that recline on the plantain leaves

The enchanting waters of my pond
Swell in the rain, dry up in the sun's heat
Wading across the water I pick up
The grace of aquatic crops

Sometimes the pond grows filthy
As a glass of tea without a lid
Brought from a stall across the street

Like the water of overflowing banks
Thick overgrowths of golden crops
Lie at the depths of some ponds
I pay obeisance to the owners of these ponds

What a poet you are
Without a pond of your own!

Ballad of the empty bottle – 1

Translated by Krishna Dulal Baruah

I fill the empty bottles every morning
With drinking water
The filling cannot be done in the evening
They remain filled up to their necks
With memories

The traits of a bottle grow apparent
Only when it's empty
Then begin its infancy youth
Debris or servitude

Have a look at the kerosine-bottle
Black stains all over it
Its worldly senses ripen untimely
As in orphans

Some identities come to the fore
Only when empty
As the light of a star dead years before
Reach us just today

Let one be filled on his own
Some empty spaces are always empty
Come let's go there today
If we're bored in the evening
We'll watch the dances of empty bottles.


Translated by Krishna Dulal Baruah

(Beside the Bodhibriksha)

Having traversed this distance can one return
On returning can I recover this life, Tathagata
When weary people are sunk in slumber
After a grand assemblage

All inert limbs and organs
Lie scattered around

I rise from them and stealthily
Drag me to you, Tathagata

I miss you in the rocks and worship the trees
I crawl as the ants over their cool shade
Here none treads upon others' shadows even
I look for you to repay my debt
For the shade of trees
Tathagata you've gone much afar
: Can one return after being so afar
On returning shall I recover life, Tathagata

: No one traverses this distance to return
The journey is from nothingness to nothingness
Life is, after all, a worship of nothingness---
Sacred nothingness.

* Bodhibriksha - Tree of Enlightenment


Translated by Pradip Acharya

Sadly taking our leave
the house stayed on alone
on a winter's night
all the road long we talked about the house alone
carrying its photocopy in our mind

Swigging down the wine of the dark
two men became shadows
seeing the lonesome house
their fingernails became long
they felt like and became thieves again

At dead of night, the house bore in silence
the feline fall of their feet
the excitement of their light fingers
breaking into one house
they stole the bounty of two homes

The wall clock noticed but said nothing
the only thing live in the house that night
the doorbell raised no alarm
the mirror hung on the wall
couldn't keep captive their image
the dates in the calendar
bore no evidence to the cops
the chain by the door dangled limply
the telephone remained dumb

The thieves plundered our temporal world
pillaging the triflingly earthly
they tore into sacrosanct recesses
leaving a hurt that would never wane

One Sunday

Translated by Krishna Dulal Baruah

One Sunday morn all of a sudden
Salvador Dali walked into my kitchen
He removed his tongue and put it aside
The moment he arrived
He sent out the cook to look for lice
And began to toast the half-rolled
Pastes of unleavened bread
We don't know what we ate that day
Our tummies were full till dusk

We went out in the evening
For a stroll by the sea-shore
We saw the river emerging from Yannis Ritsos's little finger
Merge with the sea

For the cup of red tea in the morning
The driver-less car with wheels of sliced lemon
Was waiting by the shore
From the car tourists see
The sun of Greece, sea-rocks and olive trees
We too shall hop into the car today
Would poetry permit us

Ballad of the empty bottle – 2

Translated By Krishna Dulal Baruah

The empty bottle wasn't aware
That the one sitting in front of him
Was the cause of its plight
For before it was empty it'd seen
The inner and outer beings
of the man
Anguish in emptiness

In the empty space
A bird built its nest
Layed eggs and hatched
Two little ones were born ...
The man wasn't awake even then
The nestlings grew up stirring their feathers
And one day took wing
Only the flapping of wings brought the man to his senses
Seeing the empty bottle tumble
In the wind raised by the birds' wings
He pounced upon it...

Now only could the empty bottle realize
Who was behind its emptiness.


Translated by Krishna Dulal Baruah

I borrow whatever you say in the morn
To utter in the evening
Sometimes you remain silent
I then grow despondent scouring for words

Your silence is futile
Talking is your trait
It's only when you keep on talking
That the goddess of speech stays alive
The virgin store-house of solitude is filled

You never speak in the evening
Perhaps you keep sharpening your tongue
To talk about new things next morn

My words are not your echoes
There's nothing original about them
"The purport of words are slowly on the wane"
None has been able to have their final say too
Whatever had happened continues to occur ceaselessly
Whatever is to happen
Shall never happen ever

Between morning and evening the duration is long enough
The young girl's mind alters time and again
The weather's mood changes
The aged face interpolates into the boy's
Hence no one says that I borrow your words

Poet's Disrepute

Translated by Krishna Dulal Baruah

The poet is at home today
The disrepute of not staying at home
Lazes on the bed by his side

Though the poet appears not to celebrate
His daily life without poetry
While passing each moment of his life
Uttering each word
Singing each song
Everyday he remains not as anyone

You know about Arthur Rimbaud who at nineteen
Left poetry to be a cart-driver

Is he a poet only while he pens
Or else when would Octavio Paz
Tie his son's shoe-laces
When would Milton change his baby's napkin
On which night would Coleridge write Midnight Frost
Beside his sleeping son
Where would Jibanananda be seen returning home
With a loaded bag from the market
When would Navakanta fry potato chips
When would Nilmani set up
A garden of roses and thorns

Some aspire to be poets just to be human
Nourishing life, they want to store memories
Clearing cobwebs, they fry boiled lentils
They find out their daughter's lost socks
Stitch split buttons

Though the poet stays at home
The disrepute of not staying at home
Shall remain with him forever

About the author: Rajeev Barua ( 1963) is a leading Assamese Poet and Broadcaster. Recipient of prestigious Munin Barkataki Award for poetry, Barua has seven collections of poems to his credit, namely, Aghari Dinar Diary (1985), Gosse Pohar Dia Din (1993), Panir Ghar (1997), Tumi Ki Kavi, Nijar Eta Pukhuri Nai(2001), Khali Botolar Malita(2006), Kisuman Bodhar Baran (2012) and Hoyto Mudradosh(2016). His recent collections of poems have received rave reviews and thereby wide admiration. Lines In The Void (2009) and Bodh Jo Abhivykti Banana Chahata Hai (2009) are two collections of his poems translated into English and Hindi respectively. These collections were reviewed by leading Hindi Literary Journal “Vagarth” of Bharatio Bhasa Parisad , Journals like “Indian Literature” and “Samkaleen Bhartiya Sahitya” published by Sahitya Akademi.
He is currently working as  Director at All India Radio Guwahati 

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