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Hiren Bhattacharjya


Of The Country And Others

Name my country and I need no commands.
In my teeming blood gallop
A thousand and one fighting horses.

Let there be a procession of my words,
Let them guard the cruel, crooked night
Let the sharp sword of anger shine
in the enthused flow of blood of lively words.

In my shirt echoes a doleful voice
Intimate breath becomes sparse
Much unease deep down, much restlessness.
As the alert guarding wind with sudden curiosity,
dives into and makes fish dance in water.
There is impending death all around me,
the skilled hands of death, or the latent
suggestion of death conquering genius.

Translated by Pradip Acharya

The Earth My Poem

My pen is the hammer in the blacksmith’s hands,
I hammer words into shape sharp as the
farmer’s plough-share, the golden Sita on
the furrows, ragged like the carpenter’s saw.
I extract from the grains of hard timber,
words stained by the blood of experience,
like sure arrows from the santhal male’s bow.
Words become ardent in my blood, flesh and desire,
some of them stand high as mountains,
some lie low like rivers,
while others are grave as the lake ---
not at anybody’s beck and call.

I am a poet of the vast continent
studded with rivers and mountains,
the earth is my poem.

Translated by Pradip Acharya

In Self Dffence

I do not know how to excuse inability,
Not me.

I can not buy khadi even at a rebate.

Mother, I am really becoming fierce today.
Just look at the sickle on my anvil
and you will know whose neck it fits.

Forgive me, mother, if you could.
For I have forgotten the sickle
At the reaper’s hand.

That too, I had made once.

Translated by Pradip Acharya

Shooting An Arrow
(Dedicated to freedom and peace)

It was here that you had tied
the speedy horse of your youth.
Like the wind in spring
dust from his hooves
this my lovely sky
and the bordering green grass.

After that,
so much summer heat
passed by
and so many spring storms.

Even now,
sometimes I wake up in my dreams.
Somewhere in Africa or in Telengana
that horse is running wild.
And your whiplashes
startle the impotence
of the quiet night.

Translated by Pradip Acharya

The Alarm

What use is urban applause,
if the countryside does not explode.
When the skilled poet’s handiwork becomes a
display advertisement
for damaged crops, it is natural for the sincere
to be embarrassed. The repentance of loss
all throughout my being, I do not accept fate.
On some nights my frightened blood begins
to roar like the sea,
where is that alarm for the moment of meditation.

Translated by Pradip Acharya

The Field of Man, Blood, Sweat

Till this fallow man, this land,
turn over with the steel share,
the scorched field of the lidless sun
in the loam of the bone-house, sow corn.

Pour at will on the arid land
let abundant water fill
the scorched, shriveled soil,
overflowing streams, rivers, lakes.

Harrow and sow
patches, plots and folds,
wheat and millet jostle
in the field of blood and sweat
of this man, this land.

Translated by Pradip Acharya

The Lone Prayer for Poetry

Let me finish this poem as I would,
holding the strange banner of the future
the message of blood dies a restless death
at the ungainly naked body.

Grant me the freedom to hammer into pieces
the indifference of these familiar words
or, the brilliance of the invincible sword
to cut into shreds
this anaemic, moribund, unyielding reality.

Translated by Pradip Acharya

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