From the Land of the Arnas1

At the foothills of the youngfold eastern Himalayas
Mystic, old, recoiling
Covers of woods, sparse
Movements of life—
The santhals, mundas, oraons, nepali
A history of the lost Koch kingdom—
A dooars2 to the Bhutanese bravura
Divided by Sankosh
The land of the Arnas
Arnas, the Hercules of these terrains
lived elegant and proud
With strength and peace but huge
Head, ten times double a water buffalo
Muscular torso with rusty fur
With snorts loud and grumbling
All vanished with an advent
Or a greedy adventure

I was travelling through
those doorways yesterday,
With histories jostling
Across the deathly silence of the night

The flood lights could hardly penetrate the night
At times the barking deer
Distracted the driver—
But was startled with silhouettes

Quite close—and snorted smoke
Through its nostrils
And stamped into the black wilderness: vanished
It was an Arna
Or its spectre
I returned from its land
An intruder back to civilization



[1] Arnas are local name for the Indian bison usually spotted in Dooars region, throughout the forests of Gorumara and Jaldapara that extends till Kaziranga in Assam.

[2] Floodplains of Eastern Himalayan foothills, located in the district of Jalpaiguri. The word dooars literally means “doors” (to Bhutan and Northeast Himalayas)


Prem Prakash Limbu

Prem Prakash Limbu

Prem Prakash Limbu is a poet from Mirik, and Vice Principal of SPDJV School, Lalgola, Murshidabad. He graduated from IGNOU in English Literature. His work has also appeared in Eastlit Journal and Pebbles in the Pond.