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Sourindra Barik

The Circus Boy

The small boy performs in the circus.
His thin hands and feet
are ant-eaten timber
between living and dying
only an ignoble truce.

Even now in his eyes
the mango grove
of his village, the fairy tales;
in his feet the mad intoxication
of running after butterflies, snapped kites;
but he performs in the circus
controlling his hands and feet
he only performs in the circus.

His laughter, tears and innocent demands
are now sweat on his forehead;
in the emptiness of living
he is only an articulate
a truncated tree in the public park
a burnt-out black grain of rice;
he is crippled time incarnate.

The small boy performs in the circus
in the soft lap of Time
only a victim, a moth-eaten moment.

Translated by Sitakant Mahapatra


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