Nabakanta Barua

(26 December 1926 – 14 July 2002 / Guwahati / India)

Measurements - Poem by Nabakanta Barua

It is afternoon now.

Let’s go to the tailor’s; to get measured.
Measurements of neck chest hands and arms
Measurements of the palm and the heart
We shall give measurements of the entrails
And the kidney and the liver,
Give measurements of hormones and affections

Let us give measurements of life,
Of this that and several things.
Give only the measurements.
We shall think of the stitching later on.
For the time being let’s just give the measurements
We can only give measurements.

We can only take reckonings
We shall record that suicides have
Swelled considerably.
We shall give count of the number
Of letters in a speech.
Give count of the Christians in Arabia.
Just give measurements.

We shall think of the stitching later on.
Merely think.

Someone after us will measure anew
Saying that our measurements have gone awry.
Fresh new measurements they’ll take.
Just take measurements.

When will someone stitch the garment to fit man?

[ Translated by Pradip Acharya ]

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Poem Submitted: Friday, June 15, 2012

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