Nabakanta Barua

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

The Belt Of The Spinning Wheel - Poem by Nabakanta Barua

The corded belt of my mother’s spinning wheel
was a mystery to me
spool after spool is used up
the distended bobbins pile up in the basket
the empty reel takes a spin or two and stops

But the belt of the spinning wheel is unending
I don’t see its ends, just see it move
spelling it out carefully, I write on my slate
Eternal.

One day the cord of the spinning wheel
became quite another thing
I saw a bare string lying on the cement floor
And, after that
We bore mother to the grounds and burnt her

Now the spinning wheel turns
but the bobbins won’t,
In the reel a knotted skein of thread ...
Sitting in the dark of my mind
gingerly, in Rabindric charactery
entered in the ledger:
Terminal,
in the morning light,
the stammering poet, me, read
et-term-inal.

[ Translated by Pradip Acharya ]

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Poem Submitted: Friday, June 15, 2012



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