The Circus Boy


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.

Sourindra Barik

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.


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