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“Kushal Dutta (1976) is an Indian poet, essayist, journalist, photographer, editor writing in the Assamese language, has four collections of poems and three other non-fictions. He has also edited a number of literary, cultural, GK, cine magazines and souvenirs. He was awarded the JUNIOR FELLOWSHIP for literature (2002–04) from the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, MUNIN BARKATAKI AWARD (2003) and KATHAMALITA AWARD (2011). He has participated in several major literary events, including NEW VOICES (Bhubaneswar 2004); 51ST AKASHVANI KAVI SAMMELAN (Ujjain 2007); 31ST SAARC FESTIVAL OF LITERATURE (New Delhi 2010) etc. His poems have been translated into almost all major Indian regional languages including English and also into Italian. Moreover, Photography is also a subject of keen interest for him. His first ever photo exhibition (Jugalbandi with Manjit Rajkhowa's paintings) was held at State Art Gallery, Guwahati from 4th to 9th Feb. 2013. By profession Kushal is a journalist working with Dainik Asam, an Assamese daily from Guwahati.”

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Kabita: MY POEMS

The Golden Eagle
(Having seen a Chinese movie)

I have promised to break the arrow, dear...

I shall have to climb the huge
red-eyed mountain in the night
crossing it I shall have to reach
the nest of the golden eagle in
the rocky valley

A blue zigzag piece of cloth
extends to the horizon-
on it there are seven vermillion-red
chiseled peaks in which
blue stars hum

at what barely visible distance
the evening wind’s whistle is heard?
what glittering beckon
with their flute-like magical notes?

tether your white mare
whose whiteness is like that of the dripping snow
at stark red noon

In the veins and vessels of my heart
in the cold expanse of loneliness
sits hatching in every moment
a golden eagle
[Translated from Assamese by Prof. Prodeep Khataniar]

The hijol* tree’s shade

Her fault was she had been to the river to look at herself
The god of the river took her down to the water and that’s that

The one who jumped in to bring her from the water
Had a boat of ejar* wood and his calves too were ejar-hued

Leaving boat and oar   meandering under water
The light house of truth glimmered in the distance easy as a straight line

Exhausted swimming as they got out of water on to land
Under the shade of the hijol by the river they looked at their eyes

The colour of breath under water was green   on land it’s like land
The  shade of the hijol hides all unwritten annals of the earth
* The Indian oak, Barringtonia acutangula.
* A species of timber tree, Lagerstroemia reginae.
(Translated from Assamese by Prof.  Pradip Acharya)

Shivering Sprouts

... So vitally alive

Like the sculptured foreplay
of an eager couple

Throbbing between moments in the wind

A fresh red sprout of a sapling Uri-ām
at the water’s edge

At the roots of the sapling
where, from this side of the river
at a precise angle
you see that unearthly sight
from there till the middle of the river
a root slithers like a Dhunduli-phėti*

Where, a while from now
a drenched maiden that came swimming
will trip and faint

After another while
at the root of the sapling Uri-ām
the sculpture will be sculpted
till the sun drowns
through the horns of the homing buffaloes

Down the mustard fields
through reeds and sedges
down the thick woods
the wary eyes discern
the fresh red sprout
of the sapling Uri-ām

On the other bank of the river
where the road diverges to the woods
the steadily closing lids of two eyes

Will throb between moments
till the buffalo bells recede into the distances
and merged with the silence
* Uri-ām : bescoffia javanica
* Dhunduli-phėti : Coelognathus radiata
(Translated from Assamese by Prof.  Pradip Acharya)

A poem of nothingness

You are restless and fidgety
looking for the definition of nothingness

Please listen—
taking a piece of paper
draw a zero
then looking at it
start seeking your required definition

Have you got it

In a blank paper drawing a line
you created a picture which is like
the full moon in your mirror
how can it be a zero like the dark moon

The picture of the mist is repeatedly lost in nothingness
it again becomes illuminated in lines of light in its fullness

You saw nothingness long ago with your third eye
you knew and understood and remembered
again and again that nothingness

In the endless splendour of nothingness you
unknowingly had embraced nothingness one day

Unknown to me a zero is hanging from a zero
my shadow less shadow is imprisoned in that zero
 [Translated from Assamese by Prof. Prodeep Khataniar]

New Year

The one who knows, knows, that time and space are one
We, the ones who are unaware, divide it at our convenience

Hearing my grave voice (much like that of a college lecturer)
My wife smiles at me, with a touch of irony

Anything goes
How does it matter

Maybe so
Maybe not

For, I know the rock-mounting hill-climber
On a self-quest, he’ll warm his hands tomorrow in the morning sun
(Translated from Assamese by Prof. Bibhash Choudhury)

The abstract star

At one time everything slips into the past

Let me take it for granted
that I am flying in the sky
over my head     below my feet
beginning from the fingers of
my outspread hands the endless sky

The sky of the night of the dark moon
the enchanting endless sky
of the night of the dark moon

“Do not start your journey on the night of the dark moon”

The known warning of my mother’s simple faith
yet I was born in such a dark night
she hides thing truth from me

The star gazing at which I am flying
in enchanting sky of this night
is dead is it’s sky in the same present
yet it is living for me
it is the living abstract star of the projected truth

At one time everything slips into the past

Am I going or flying
gazing at the star
just assume by
my own reasoning

What a pleasure in making assumption
many a journey begins with such assuming
what is the end of all these journeys
the abstract star of my assumed sky
[Translated from Assamese by Prof.  Prodeep Khataniar]                

Light and Shade

The moon beyond the bounds wakens
at evening, to the beat of drums
squatting at the rim of my arms
comes traipsing along to the barn
from the meadows down winding furrows
a couple of waves from a yellowing sea

Heavy winds, heavier paths
heaving shocks, grandee’s bliss

In the silence where all roads run mad
the insects wail in a rhapsody
as I trade in awake of a slithering cobra
of moonless dark and its
glowworm eyes
but unbeknown to me
a disembodied shape begins to follow me

In the sky floats scutched-cotton clouds
the moon that hides softly or shines
she reached out to the mist-drenched
ends of my hair streaming loose

The shadowy form teases my shadow
and then surges forward leaving it gaping
and then, like comrades in arms
will fall back and step in tune

My shadow shier in the wind, goes numb in the cold
in the hiss and rustle of fallen leaves
my shadow feels the shiver that runs
from my soles to clamber up and seize my heart

Often in passion the snake twins round the shadow
it grants and snap, the snake bites and on its bow
bloods congeals like ice in pain
it goes dark blue, collapses and its shadow enters my wind-pipe
spreads in my blood stream
I faint and squat right in the middle of the field
and, at the trundling dance of a remote will-ó-the-wisp
the wails of ghost of corpses close in on me

Suddenly a caressing stray wind
shakes the sheaves in shocks on my shoulder
and the patchy white clusters of my mind
is surely dispelled
all clouds gone, from the sky streams
down on my path, moonlight
and the tears of the moon
 (Translated from Assamese by Prof.  Pradip Acharya)

Quiet and forlorn

The fragrant yellow mustard pollens
Spread in the air of the noonday flute

Frenzied in the fragrance
A school of colourful fish
Through twigs and leaves
Of straight slender trees
Trample over the flowering mustard patch
Like a lightning strike

Yet phagun knows
The charm of flowering

On a still quiet night
At the edge of the moonlit heath Winged angels flit to and fro

As their wings flap
the fallen mustard blossoms
begin to breathe
*Phagun : Early Spring
(Translated from Assamese by Prof.  Pradip Acharya)


Is there any word
which is beyond word
speech which is beyond speech

Irony in the beginning

The pen I use to write
the words of my poems
is the same pen for listing
grocery items to buy

I have named this poem
‘Speech’ and
not ‘Words’

What is there in that
bank of word or
in this bank

‘This bank’ ‘that bank’
or ‘this river’ in between
are they just waterless words

Ideas and language
brain and heart
I temporarily take back
the ‘and’ in between
this ‘I’ itself at the end

when addressed “My Goldie”
my second son replies still
“Yes, my father”
[Translated from Assamese by Prof.  Prodeep Khataniar]


Tearing the water, grows on the water
The poetic scenes of the restless waves

By welcoming it and having seated it
On the bow of the boat,
My boat moves upstream to the paddy fields

In the stroke of the oar show off
Pani-paruwas* Elengs* Ilihis*
Jump apart like grasshoppers

Hearing your laughter?

The picture of the fully grown paddy
Waiting, looking at us,
How unbearable!

Reap the paddy
*Pani-paruwa: A kind of water insect.
*Eleng: A kind of flat white fish of medium size.
*Ilihi: The hilsa fish.

[Translated from the Assamese by poet Ajit Barua]

The baya’s nest

The mist bathes your unencumbered body

The mist of my eyes

Before the fruits ripen and fall
The field is green for all

The rest is memories of the green
Of light and shade

At your roof you put a pot
To catch moonlight and star-flowers

In the sleepless night
Your cold tears rain down the pot

How do I enter your room
Without so much as your leave

However do I start a song
Without a little sorrow in my lips

If I do not have a heart like yours
However do I enter your heart

Through the lonely night-bus window
running along with me distantly
There is the dew drenched moon

Because love is not just for oneself
I remember you constantly
In this damp dusty night.

With undeviating wish
You flung open the door
And my wishes followed in its wake

We are climbing the hill
With the eagerness of dreams
you said

After a while suddenly I woke
you again held my hand smiling
and said
We are moving ahead
With the eagerness of wishes
Taller than even dreams

Whatever you think is a dream
is really a dream

Without even your thinking
it’s a moment’s fantasy
in your consciousness

When eyes don’t look
the lids close
so much formality
to call you
just this once

When we are face to face again
however would I address you

Lonely as the way to the temple
a resounding long intimate path
and since we lost the way
we are strangers

If I have to trudge down
the road of memory again
however would I face you

Because the current always changes
the river is always a river

Because you have not remained you
for me it’s only memories now

While changing always like the river
had you but remained you   always

At the hour of the meadowy trudge back home
down the bridle path of dusk
a pair of swans circle overhead   all the way

Through the paddy stalks by the lake
down the forlorn path of the gamble grove
holding hands with early moonlight
the tales of dusk flit about like crickets

The heaving sheaves at the carrying pole
of umpteen varieties of paddy
light up the bridle path
and fill the air with echoes

This importunate moment
Enlivened by the lost tune

Beyond the melody
Is entirely for you

Your songs are for you
For me only the willed remembrance

Dawn at the end of night like rain at the end of thirst
whatever is gold-hued by the sun is a heavenly flower

With growing thirst the meadowy damsels have come of age
With colours on the flower’s cheeks the fruit ripens golden

Golden fruit’s a host of golden waves from mid sea
Where burns the crest of our desire

The clay doll had no life
That’s why running after crickets was my hobby

Once having lost the way in the woods
Thorns mauled and tore my heart
Forbidding my flitting about like crickets

Slowly I fell in love with the clay doll
What quietly glowing beauty is yours
(Translated from Assamese by Prof.  Pradip Acharya)