A Break in the Rhythm of Life

We present this work in honor of Buddha Purmina.

Bhaskar Roy Barman
Indian
b. 1950

 

When the world itself looked exhausted,
revolving round the sun;
when a bumble-bee sounded tired
of humming round a ternate leaf;
when a few fishermen were venting their rage on their net
– they looked fed up of mending their net off and on –
and when the fish were leaping and playing in the river,
sure as they were the net won t be thrown over them,
yonder on a field a serpent was shedding its slough,
indifferent to a group of women wending their way
across the field
and to a pedlar crying his wares along the road
that ran parallel to the field
At this moment, as usual, a boat rowed in
disgorged two men onto the bank.
A music strummed on a violin floated in the air for a while,
then rose up and disappeared into the sky.
Presently the men returned empty-handed to the boat
and winked at the boatmen to row the boat away.
Suddenly the sky got covered over with pitch-dark clouds.
The fishermen looked up and thought
there would be festivities of lightning
and the river would dance to the rumblings .
They prayed for the safety of the men on the boat.
In response to their prayer the clouds went away across the sky.
The fishermen resumed mending their net;
the world continued revolving round the sun;
the bumble-bee went on round the ternate leaf
and the fish were still leaping and playing in the river .
But the serpent had shed its slough and slid into its hole.

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