Varnamala : Contemporary Oriya Poetry

 
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BINOD CHANDRA NAYAK
 

THE SNAKE I SAW


I didn't see it, dangling  
on the bough bearing the forbidden fruit,  
tempting  
the nude, primaeval Woman  
in God's garden.  
Its coiled elegance, its bejewelled hood  
I did not see.  

I didn't see its fragile frame,  
winter-struck,  
in the dewy fields of November  
inching its way  
upto the farmer's hearth,  
basking,  
aroused again,  
warmer and fiercer.  
Nor did I see it, wafting  
in a tame, enchanted game  
like a wavelet of the unruly sea  
playing around the feet  
of the celestial fairy, Urvasi,  
on a spring dawn.  

I saw it  
like the cold hand of Death,  
I saw it slithering in dark  
underneath the bamboo-grove.  
And suddenly it sprang up  
like a hot summerstorm,  
upraised hood,  
lightning-tongued;  
Under its eyes a spread of desert  
and thirsty mirages,  
dancing.  

I saw it :  
a garland around the blue neck  
of the Lord-of-Destruction:  
Shiva !  
Above the neck  
gnarled, auburn hair.  
Lips chanting belligerence.  
Venom dripping  
from the cracked urn.  
And, beyond that I saw  
the stream of white consciousness,  
the eternal descent of RiverGanga...  

I saw it :  
I saw the snake.  
  

Translation :
The Poet.  

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