Translator’s note: The following two poems were written by Kabiranjan Saikia, popularly known as Swadhinata Phukan who was the Assistant Publicity Secretary of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA). Although Swadhinata Phukan was a member of the civil wing of the banned outfit, he was gunned down in a fake encounter by the state police on the night of 26 May 2000 at Garumara in the Jorhat district of Assam. He was 26 at that time. These two poems by Kabiranjan Saikia – “Aartonador Enixa” [“A Night of Screams”], written on 29 February 1992 and “Xamprotik” [“Nowadays”], written on 18 February 1993 – are sourced from an anthology of his poems, Moi Kabiranjan Uttopto Hobo Khuja Eta Kobitar Naam [I Am Kabiranjan, the Name of a Poem Wanting to Erupt], published by Aank-Baank in 2011.
A Night of Screams
A night of screams
a sun inside my breasts
A hangman’s noose around a neck of sensations
Here and there thrilled shrieks of the mad
From heart to heart
the world is helpless
reading poetry of blood in the courtyard of moonlight
Sensations of screams,
screams of sensations
I am holding the sun’s hands
on a night of woes…
Each of us nowadays
is a statement for each other. Or,
a protest exchanged for moonlight.
Poetry is pellucid like the light nowadays
our youth that you have painted,
for you, we have no remembrance.
Let love descend as a breaking storm—
desolate is the poet’s house. Or,
a revolver offered to each other.
The poems have been translated from Axomiya by Biswajit K. Bora. He is an ad hoc lecturer of English and an occasional translator and political commentator based in Delhi, India. He blogs at obtusesubjectivity.wordpress.com.