I Am Going Down The Hill Poem by Nilmani Phookan

I Am Going Down The Hill

I’m going down the hill
It’s getting dark
At my heels
are some rocks
horizontal vertical round
And in close embrace are
gods apsaras
male and female Kinnars
men and women
all carved
primordial nights.

A pomegranate plant comes up
an orange plant too
From the depths of silence
of thousands of years
emerge a pair of my forefather’s hands

The cries of a flock of cotton teals
quiver on the leaves of waterweeds

It’s getting dark
on the copper coin of my face
I am burning
On a red lotus
a pearl gleams.
I’m rock and man
I’m clay and man
As if standing at the centre
of a vast circle
I have observed
fire water air planets and stars

I am a horseman of the sun
Taking on a thousand lives
I have accumulated
in my body every sun
of seas of woods of deserts
in my rapt consciousness
every black sun of
every season

I am a naked man

with my whole body
I have felt
some rocks
hidden under water and earth
some rocks
and a planet made of
human flesh and blood
My lips tongue
and innards have felt
some rocks
In the angular privacy
of my prolonged life
some rocks
horizontal vertical round:

Siva rock and man
Siva bull and rock
bull and man
the pulse of time
I am rock and man
I am a kiss
planted by men on a rock

Along the flight of stone slabs
the married women have gone up
the hill of rocks
the pristine wisdom of earth and dream

the lyrics of dreamy youth

The night has begun to fall
The moon has come up
through the antlers
of a barking deer
the voices of rocks
have gone up
spirally to the sky

Siva rock and man

Siva a burning tower of eternal fire

Into the body of Siva
Parvati has merged

Now it is dawn
in the womb of the earth.

[From: Nrityrata Prthivi; Publisher: Barua Book Agency, Guwahati, 1985]

Bijay Kant Dubey 27 October 2018

I Am Going Down The Hill is a typical Assamese poem wherein geography, myth and the retelling it have been synthesized and the references to the apsaras standing, crying Parvati created out of the body of Siva add to the depth of the poem.

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Nilmani Phookan

Nilmani Phookan

Dergaon, Golaghat, Assam / India
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