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Snails | Shaamuk

1 October 2016

Translated from the Bodo to the English by Pradip Acharya

Those days I picked the upturned snails
from among the stalks of growing grain
and filled my creel till the neck.
It was fun removing the shells
and watching their recoiling tongues
before I boiled them.
As I sucked the sap and threw the shells
they lay creaking on the floor
in a certain strange rhythm
that hid the agony of their dying.

Now I crawl around the sea-shores
clamber about on land and water
to look for the roots of that strange note
as the marauding waves
draw me back and fling me away.
Strangely, an unseen hand picks me up
sucks my sap and leaves me empty.
The shell of my body creaks
in the agony of the heart breaking
and makes the strange measure of a sad strain.

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