Spring 1992 • Vol. XIV No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 1992 |

A Little Folktale

The buffalo herder girl returns to grass shoots, an unseen meek animal on her back. The man who went away on stale feet has left his drying-cloth and a pipeful of tobacco. The girl spreads that cloth and rests her head, rekindles fire in the lonely pipe, spreads the cloth, blows at the full pipe once again. I look on distractedly, and in the paddy field's profound intoxication, I get lost while hunting for wild doves. The beauty of the buffalo herder girl lingers in my heart; I return home, a new dove with its wings tied in my hands. What's happening to me, her half-covered breasts take on the color of spring. Brother, let a little dove be cooked for him who went away, while the two of us spread the tagar-flower- colored cloth in silence, fill the pipe with tobacco and entrancing fire. Tagar: A small wildflower, usually white.   Three poems translated from the Bengaliby Pāramitā Banerjee and Carolyne Wright   Published in Chaiphulstup (Ash Flower Heap). Calcut

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