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Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

Bokultora and Other Poems— Maitrayee Patar

Sep 7, 2023 | Poetry | 0 comments

TRANSLATED FROM THE ASSAMESE BY DARADI PATAR AND THE POET

 

 

Bokultora
(translated into English by the poet)

Bokultora, come rest by me

Even from before I knew you existed,
A sky of lines was composed on my palms-
I’ll fan your fatigue from traveling across the countless constellations
I’ll wipe dry your body that has came soaking itself in the unknown abyss

Bokultora, come sit by this tiny darkness

Just for you a lotus pond has been digged up
Just for you a colony of moonlight’s been set up across the tree leaves
Someday you’ll go and wash up there, someday you’ll go and sit up there and call it your home

Bokultora, come lie down within me

The euphony of sleep shall cover the moonlight colony
Fragrant waves shall be borne by the lotus pond
The stories of the mothers who lived before
Shall adorn the memory-dress I’ve woven for you

Bokultora, your arrival triggered preparations at the horizon
Bokultora, your arrival triggered all the needs of spring

Bokultora, time shall roll, oceans shall retreat
The abyss from afar the constellations shall call for you
Bokultora, in my lap in the lulls of sleep
our skies shall roar against each other

Bokultora, when my roots are bugged by pests of boredom
Will you also leave one day to look for a finer soil?


A Teardrop for My Kin
(English translations: Daradi Patar)

Say, all the birds of the forest left this land
And we never again saw the mountains
Never again heard the Bhimraj’s cries
Resonating through unknown woods
Dying out in an unseen heart

Say, my kin who emerged from the waters
Forgot where his roots were bound
And all the tales of the waters
Scribbled over rocks on the roof of mountains

The birds, which were my kin’s eyes, would leave
The mountains, which were my kin’s bosom, would crumble
The forest, that was my kin’s root, would burn
And rocks, which were my kin’s memoirs, would become monuments

Someday, all the pains of this voyage
Would be erased from my kin’s memories
This soil, and all the words, tears,
Regrets and love that it offered

Say, someday, on this very land
bundling up the forest,
the mountains, the chatters of the birds
the rocks, the water tales
The city builds a museum
And spreads out its seven-hued trade
For the skies

On that day, for my kin from the waters
would you shed a tear?

 

Bhimraj- Assamese name for the greater racket-tailed drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus), a medium-sized Asian bird.


The tale of Khodaangsyor¹

(English translations: Daradi Patar)

Holding the tail of an endless road
Where does the white night on the foothill head to

Voices of the stone hills
Float about the crystal moonlight

Warming their shriveled torsos
By the fire
The elders had opened up the toolkit for weaving stories
As the children listened,
cheeks perched upon their palms

‘maat thaagaaise chaat bo thaau’
Only with language shall a tribe survive
With tribe, its heritage

In stories, everything is khodaangsyor
‘Khodaangsyor hagra2, maakha3, libingenem 5 khodaangsyor’
Clasping their cheeks and chins, the children listened
To the stories of the green
And to practice the arts for a greater life
Of the elders they asked, a green patch of land

Then the fire grew
Along with the voices in the stone hills
Floating about year on year under the white moon

‘The poetry of the earth is green’
-becoming lullabies, the stories sail in the wind

Since that day
The white night chasing an endless road still carries on
Where, I couldn’t tell

1.khodangsyor: Greenery in Tiwa language
2.hagra: Forest in Tiwa language
3.maakha: Mountain in Tiwa language
4.libinge: People in Tiwa language
5.nem: Culture in in Tiwa language


Of Creation

(English translations: Daradi Patar)

Nothing you call mine is actually mine not even you.

Slashing through a murky path, where the sun sits cyclically
On my furrowed skin- that road, that turf isn’t mine.

What floats away from the sun’s scorch
Blazing upon my skin what would one day
Lumber away behind you- isn’t mine.

A river is not always a metaphor
Sometimes it is only a river, a fire- only a fire
and the sun- only a sun searing my skin.

The gravels of faith in the Pole Star
Are too but a fistful of stardust
Like sweat beads sprouting from our bodies
in consummate summertides,
They too shall grow moss.

If we settle for the words of Einstein the violin player,
If the backdrop of every creation should hide the truth to another,
How would we become constants to this unending trail?

Nothing you call mine is really mine not even you
There isn’t the need for so many creations not even this rune

If only I could succeed in sprouting a sun from your skin
We could scrape this entire habiliment and descend into the earth
Smearing on our lips a fistful of murky stardust.


Khabar¹

(English translations: Daradi Patar)

From the far end of the country he sends word
Conveys news of the wellbeing of a patch of mustards in bloom

On the one-third acre of empty land lining his front yard
The puppy he newly rescued and brought home, sits soaking in the sun

The fields of mustard stretch as far as the eye sees, perhaps beyond
In their midst he says, he has planted the seeds of Faiz’s songs

The puppy chases the tail feathers of birds
That swoop through for seeds. He, following it close behind

With utmost grandeur he sends
These trifling news from his winter mornings

And never for once asks,
About my home.

1.Khabar: news (in general or when asked about a person, place or thing a person is acquainted with) in Assamese and Hindi

 


Also, read Two Faces By Sarah Thomas, translated from The Malayalam by K.M Ajir Kutty and Published in The Antonym.

Two Faces— Sarah Thomas


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Maitrayee Patar

Maitrayee Patar

Maitrayee Patar is a well-recognised poet in Assam. Her poems, mostly written in Assamese, English and sometimes in Tiwa, subtly documents the complications and overlapping histories of her roots, and yet, carry the innate sensibilities of nature which she refers to as her true origin. The first anthology of her poems, Mur Kolmou Dinor Xunali Baat was published in 2015 by Banphool Prakashan, Assam.  Her second book of poetry Dingit Goja Pani Mongoh was published in 2020 by one of the esteemed prestigious publication houses of the state, Aank Baak. Both the books were critically acclaimed. She was one of the two Indian poets invited to participate in the ‘Poets Translating Poets’ 2019 (January) edition, the prestigious cultural exchange workshop of literature of German and Indian languages, hosted by Goethe Institute, Mumbai and Germany in Shillong, India. In 2019, as part of the special edition featuring thirty Indian poets under thirty, three of her poems were published in the prestigious Bangla journal ‘Krittibas’ (founded and edited by Sunil Kr. Gangopadhyay). 

her poems have also been translated into other Indian and foreign languages like English, Italian, Nepali, Hindi, Bengali, Tiwa, and have been published in international literary magazines and media platforms. Maitrayee is also an independent artist, singer-songwriter best known for her contribution to new age music in Assam. A professionally trained vocalist in Indian classical music, she has worked to bridge the realms of poetry and music through lyrics. In 2023, Maitrayee was awarded the ‘Biju Phukan Recognition Award’ for outstanding contribution to music in Assam.

 

Daradi Patar

Daradi Patar

Daradi Patar is a translator based in Assam, India. She is a post graduate in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from Tezpur University, and a former publishing professional at the leading international academic publishing house, Taylor & Francis. 

She has worked as a translator for reputed publishers like Storytel India, Banphool Publication, Nezine and also translated for the popular music label Project Baartalaap.

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