Soubhagya Kumar Misra
Of Deferred Speech

The sun has quite a few things to say.
But it hops from a bend in the river
to a downstream bathing place
where there are no bathers,
from there to yellow Aswattha leaves,
and then to malignant tumours in ovaries.
It thus squanders its time,
and when evening comes
it sets, without having said a thing.

The river has quite a few things to say.
But it flows on and on,
trying to inscribe the sun’s wasted life
on the restless paper of its waters.
Its time terminates
in the incompetence of an obese ocean.

It’s always impossible
to say even an infinitesimal part
of what one intended to say.
The soil, for example,
swells with the intent to speak
and, ultimately, disintegrates.
The day’s light
hovers around the stamen of flowers,
around the raised hoods of snakes,
but in the end settles on the wings of a kite
and disappears into the immeasurable void.

This, probably, is the destiny of the poet.
Before he can relieve the mule of grammar
of sacks filled with intended speech,
crows descend and sit in a circle.

Translated from the Oriya by Ramakanta Rath.