Why do the roots, born in the sky
Thirst for the soil?
On moonlit nights
I keep gazing
At the oldest fig
In Haiku’s hamlet. What enormity!
Clutching on to the fig
I suspend myself as a bat
And rehearse the part of Trishanku.*
O’ World, don’t shove me!
O’ Heaven, don’t drive me away!
As a species of moonlight
My body shall, after all, spread its roots
In the barren fields.
*Trishanku–King of the ‘Surya’dynasty and father of King Harischandra who remained suspended in mid-air following Sage Viswamitra’s boon of sending him to heaven physically and Indra’s resistance to it.
Translator: Krishna Dulal Barua has been consistently translating poems, short- stories and literary articles from Assamese to English. His ‘Selected poems of Nilmani Phookan’ published by the Sahitya Akademi appeared in 2007.He received the Katha Award for translation in 2005.
The Poet: Prayag Saikia has, till date, six collections of poetry, a novel, a short-story collection and a novelette in verse to his credit. His poems have also been published in Indian Literature, Chandrabhaga, Poet International, The Statesman’s festival issue, Chicago Poetry online anthology, Gulistan (literary journal of Uzbekistan) etc.