Poetry Editor Ananya S Guha’s note: Preetinicha Barman’s poems take us to rural settings and life in the midst of Covid. There is strangeness, there is fear, there is death yet there is life. The monologues slow and rhythmic have a strong elegiac note.
Last night it showered heavily,
It has been so for the past few days.
I am washed and soaked,
Ready for the furrow and to conceive the seeds.
But, where have they gone called the farmers?
I didn’t even see them
Rushing for home through the fields
Holding palm leaves atop their heads
They are hardly seen
Gathering at the crossroads,
With baskets, bags and carts,
Laying vegetables in front
And squatting at the place called market.
I am sure, they would return soon
For I am mellow, ripe and ready
As my fragrance beckons the ploughs
Perhaps, the farmer’s son comes tomorrow
And would smile at my coy grace
The rain would pour even more
Then I, with the farmer’s son,
Would drench together
And would dance and dream together
For I too long to adorn his front yard
With my dishevelled charm
When winter comes.
It rained last night,
My bed was wet;
I looked out through the balcony
And saw a hazy dot, seemed to be your shadow.
My pompous legs snapped at me,
My bosom whispered,
“It’s the season of summer fruits
Hanging from the boughs”,
Tonight my drapery hangs loose,
Fresh and fertile.
The wind brings no sound of yours,
But only the tidings of a pandemic,
They say that it is worse
Than the darkest nights.
My limbs coil,
I can only unravel to the Sun;
Let the sunshine pour through
The empty trails to fill my inner meadows.
‘This is the end of time’, once they said.
Yet, this is the beginning of another time.
Let us lie down naked,
My folks, my kind,
Our days coming to a close
As we seek solace while being quarantined.
For how long, how many years?
Won’t our songs cease, rhythms collapse?
If they do, let them
For we have had our time,
Our glories and our prime.
Let history be sung by the animals, birds and plants
Let them write it with the sure indelibility of our ash
Time ushers us to a land we thought we never belonged
For we borrowed the tales from the river as our own
This is time,
Let the river narrate the tales of her own.
(Preetinicha Barman teaches English Literature at Women’s College, Shillong. She writes poems in English, Assamese and Rajbanshi languages. Aior Photok (2018) is her collection of Rajbanshi poems. She also published some of her poems in Muse India, Peregrine Muse, Ethos Literary Journal et al. She did her PhD from NEHU on the novels of Orhan Pamuk.)