for the birds
All birds must die
Some die gorgeous, some unsung for
just like the routine lay of a neighborhood whore.
Some die even violently, at the height of excitement.
This is the broad line of fare division.
To class-conscious academics, the turkey
ranks high among his companions
in pomp and grandeur
always on choicest occasions, a delight to the epicure
illumination, percussion accompany
as in a gay Chinese funeral.
Then comes the second category: Chicken.
Just a quiet ritual. Occasionally, a gourmet’s delight
on the table lie more bright than in their own run.
Birds which die by violence, extraordinary,
ever in their tragic associate with mock heroics
thrills of chase and flight. That’s what makes a pheasant
siphon out its own aura,
memory out of the way, aroma.
Turkey, chicken or pheasant, whatever decoration
post mortem, on the table’s spread they share
a common service, a common cause, a common fate
sacrificed at the altar of gastronomical high.
There is only one bird, cock; bold, daring, belligerent.
Eloquent in protests and challenges
crest-high, even on gallows, he is arrogant
like his human counterpart, ignorant.
more keen on credit than on result. He gets soon
liquidated sometimes as a turkey’s substitute
before cancer spreads to the table
he fights in exclusion.
Spring is an interpretation
- A beholder’s mood
Fables of time
A catalogue of colours
Bloom and joy
Colour, always, is not about bloom
Bloom is not always joy
For some colour is a bloody tale
Of suffering, pain in its trail
Bloom grows on the grave.
We all ail
With a perpetuation syndrome
To leave a mark hereafter
In stone, in marble, bronze.
Just to be commemorated
Though you’re not assured against
Your admirers’ memory playing tricks
A bird does not hang a plaque in sky.
Bijoy Krishna Handique was a
member of Lok Sabha for six consecutive terms and a former
Central minister. His interests encompassed Assam and northeast
India, where identity, immigration and ethnicity form the
bedrock of politics and division.
A few of his poems are being translated into Assamese. An
anthology, in English, is expected.