A poet sees; a poet feels. Beyond the dull social science discourse on the subaltern, here is a poem that takes us to the inner world of the circus boy.
The small boy performs in the circus.
His thin hands and feet
are ant-eaten timber:
between living and dying
only an ignoble truce.
Even now in his eyes
the mango grove
of his village, the fairy tales;
in his feet the mad intoxication
of running after butterflies, snapped kites:
controlling his hands and feet
he only performs in the circus.
His laughter, tears and innocent demands
are now sweat on his forehead;
in the emptiness of living
he is only an articulate,
a truncated tree in the public park
a burnt-out black grain of rice;
he is crippled time incarnate.
The small boy performs in the circus
in the soft lap of Time
only a victim, a moth-eaten moment.
Translated from Oriya by Sitakant Mahapatra.