At the rear end of February
Yellow-coloured leaves at the passing of their stalk
Endure by clinging on to branches,
New leaves stick out their necks,
From branch to branch;
Eyes of shoots, eager to appear
Look on timidly.
At the rear end of February, the afternoon’s last lap
An aged man is sitting alone at the border of his garden –
Tomaal, walks up and down a former road, all alone,
Stood at the edge of the village pond at dusk,
Looked at the shy ones from a little distance –
The weight of the pitcher brimful with water
Could not make Lalita’s step lighter.
Smiling a little, she took a glance at Tomaal,
But lowered her head, overcome with shyness.
After a few hours the sun will set; it will be dark.
The sound of many vehicles begin to resonate
The voice of happy laughter creating waves
…Hello, hello … Hello, I can hear you…
All in a clamour in the russet sunlight’s tide,
Beyond the gates of home, on distinct roads,
Youths like his offspring, his daughters-in-law,
Adolescents like his grand daughter
Dressed up, loud, showing all the beauty of their bodies,
Are in revelry.
He looks at them with longing,
With disapproval, with envy, with love, all in a tangle he looks.
He lets out a deep breath: how poignant the time is.
A leaf, the life of its stalk ended,
Two leaves, three leaves, one after another, in heaps,
Fell from the branch swaying, blown about, happily
As if dancing in a spiral towards the ground,
Fell, singing all along –
If we do not go, if we remain Where will they live? Where will new leaves hang? Let us go, let us go, Let us go happily.
The aged man looks at the fallen leaves
As if he knew the language of leaves.
He looks up at the sky,
He looks down at the ground,
Leaves fall, one after another,
Happily turning, swaying,
Falling on earth.
(English translation Robin Ngangom)