nabinadas13

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>Luit On Our Tongues — One River-Story Poem in Print

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Four poems are out in the latest issue of INDIAN LITERATURE, the flagship journal of Sahitya Akademi (the national academy of letters in India). You have seen some of these poems workshopped here and there…
My river-stories are not always pastoral. Having grown up in an Assam that has seen much strife and struggle, the Luit (Brahmaputra) is my man-river in different roles — a friend, a cradling solace, or an injured mad god (how could a god be injured you may ask, but I bring my poetic entities to live my life, ergo, a human life…).
Read this river-story:


Luit On Our Tongues


We were five or six, men and children

in a tempo, that rackety raucous vehicle


With three capricious wheels heading

towards Sonitpur, our vacation, where


Mangoes had ripened summer’s belly with

the monsoon’s heavy showering grace


The usual route was flooded, abandoned

Luit had licked it wet, fungal, even after


The water receded; this was our Old Luit

father kept telling me how the Red River


Has its liquid name from the colour red

after a battleaxe washed itself, lots of blood


Now there are bridges that drown currents

hurrying us in buses and cars in a riverine flow


The Bodo teacher sitting just next to us said

the river does actually speak the curious hue


In gurgles by his village sweeping in a chant:

Bhullum-buthur. He smiled. Bhullum-buthur


Bubbles in the head, the mad water’s dance

the Brahmaputra in news and TV he knew


It still gurgles day and night, another man said

like human voices when slashed, when spent


Gasps bhullum-buthur in river tongue, the dead

so did our Luit, took stories along and lives


Between conversations from the diverted route

we saw the faraway river gone red-eyed with mud


The blood all faded, perhaps the colour of the red-

ness entrenched like the leftover evening sun.



The other titles published in IL are: “No Country, No Names“; “Gandhari’s Eyes“, and “A She-Ghost can only call Names“.


Image from my computer: Setting sun on the Luit (Brahmaputra), Assam.

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2 comments on “>Luit On Our Tongues — One River-Story Poem in Print

  1. tikulicious
    March 29, 2010

    >I am sorry for being away from your blog Nabs. This is a beautiful poem and one of your best. Rivers are fascinating and hold a special place in my life so could visualize it clearly best wishes

  2. fleuve-souterrain
    March 29, 2010

    >Tikuthese words make me feel wonderful… yes rivers are fascinating like life, like death…thanks for reading 🙂

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This entry was posted on March 26, 2010 by in Brahmaputra, Indian Literature, Luit, Nabina Das, poetry, river, Sahitya Akademi.
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