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Strains of Unknown Birds | অচিনাকি চৰাইৰ গান শুনি

1 October 2016

Translated from the Mishing (Assamese script) to the English by Krishna Dulal Barua

It’s all right that you’re accompanying me
don’t get frivolous
seeing the doves at play

Don’t fling stones at the middle of the river
the fish would be aggrieved
the affliction would cause measles

If you come across a downpour on the way
the herdsmen would arrange plantain leaves for you
or else you’ll catch fever
when you run a temperature you’ll blame the village
regard rains to be a nuisance
abuse the river
O townsfolk, the unknown lads who had
arranged plantain leaves
wouldn’t be asking your names

Can you see how the sun has been hidden by the hill
the boat on either side, by the river
the buffaloes by the herdsmen
the flutes by the lips

Night has fallen
O townsfolk
you’d do well to return home
don’t lose yourselves in the strains of unknown birds
go and strive with your books on the table

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