• Gems of Indian Poetry translated into English

  • Timeless Indian Poems now available in English language


Vinita Agrawal

like a plastic palmyra showcased at the front door
a rag doll - gloved, thumb-printed, buttressed
bruised, soughed, oboe-d
and at the end of it all - grey like the ash of a rose.

Rabbit-like. Fearful, frightened.
Babbling, burbling, dripping
scurrying, stumbling, succumbing
until reduced to a sobbing choir of broken hummingbirds.

She is his color-card for abuse
one shade for every kind;
to rape, demean, curb, thrash, burn, mutilate, violate, intimidate,
a fertile ground for the plough of his madness.

She is no one. She is nothing.
She is dry yellow grass, an invasive weed
sawdust, thorn, nettle.
an abandoned trellis on which he pegs his evils.

But really, she is none of these.
Like Draupadi, she is a cause to be fought for in her own voice.
Though sandpapered by scars of a thousand hard years
her resilience is still intact.

Like Sita - she shines in a light of her own - ever evolving.
Weaving a special bond in sisterhood
no veil, no hijab, no purdah can conceal her strength
nothing can keep her down.

She is Ma Durga, Ma Kali, Ling Bhairavi
Jwala, Amba, Bhavani,
the fierce rider of tigers, spewer of fire
killer of demons, drinker of blood.

She is the twin of every aspect of the universe
the yin to the yang, the half of the whole called man.
Because of her, he exists
for she is Shakti - the bearer of souls.

Translated by
Eco Friendly Ganeshas

Eco Friendly Ganeshas

Vinita Agrawal

He will come to you like a playful child covered in mud.
For ten days you will worship him
offer marigolds and jasmines, incense and butter lamps
steamed coconut modaks and sweet boondi laddoos.
Merriment shall fill your house, lights shall twinkle.
Elephant-head symbols shall guard your doors
so no evil finds its way in.

On the tenth day, when the sky grows dark with rain
a moving landscape of parting shall clutch at your heart
for the precious guest shall depart
his eyes smiling gently as you cry
his stomach bulging with your wishes
taking with him all that was cruel
whispering in your ears - what comes, must go.
Such is the way of life.

But this time he will not float on a distant sea or a lake or a pond
bobbing for days on a watery bed amidst the din of drums and cymbals
amidst the frenzied cries of Ganpati Bappa Morya!
No, this time he will be lovingly immersed in a bucket of water
dissolve slowly, become earth again.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, mud to earth, earth to mud.

You will water your plants with water from that bucket
and when the plants flower
a strange oneness shall fill your heart
as though he didn't really leave
as though the way of life was such
that what you let go, returned.
Taking the form of a glorious periwinkle or cosmos or rose
enclosing in its petals
the soil of your prayers
the moisture of your worship
and all the mothering you bestowed on this mud-clad God.

Translated by


Vinita Agrawal

It is a gentle shape
this white moon
my father gave me
the night he passed away.
It hangs below the window every night.
A farewell gift.
Leaves the skies quietly at dawn
to slide into my throat all day.
Some nights it returns;
chipped, halved, sliced,
imitating life.
Scarred, like the face of pain
but always there... like a presence that's never left.

Translated by
Eco Friendly Ganeshas


Manisha Joshi

The elephant has sharp memory.
He reminds me of many things
which I have forgotten.
This elephant locks his large eyes
in my eyes, and I am reminded
that in the eyes of my beloved
there was strange sorrow, very like this elephant’s
In his dream the elephant roams
in some large forest
and I trudge along behind him
Sometimes he bellows in fit of joy
and his unknown language
reminds me of some similar hidden and deep joy.
The “mahavat” is not aware
of this common dream of ours.
He travels with the elephant, his legs chained,
from village to village
when the elephant passes through the village streets.
there is veritable amazement
One small girl came out and she placed
a banana in the elephant’s trunk, lifted upwards
Today, I, a comely young girl,
trudge along behind this old elephant from village to village
to re-live the life lived earlier.
When sometimes the “mahavat” lashes the elephant
It is on my memory that the scars appear.
This elephant now gets tired if he walks too much
And I too now mix up memories.
The elephant looks at me with sorrowful eyes
but in my eyes there is still only surprise,
the surprise of seeing a large fully-grown elephant
which has sauntered in my village.

...મનીષા જોશી ...

હાથીની સ્મરણશક્તિ તેજ હોય છે .
હુ જે ભૂલી ગઈ છું એવું ઘણું બધું
એ મને યાદ કરાવે છે .
આ હાથી , તેની ઊંડી વિશાળ આંખો
મારી આંખોમાં પરોવે છે ,
એ મને યાદ આવે છે
મારા પ્રિયજનની આંખોમાં પણ આ હાથી જેવી જ ,
કંઇક અજબ વેદના હતી .
હાથી એનાં સ્વપ્નમાં વિહરે છે
કોઈ મુક્ત જંગલમાં
અને હુ પણ તેની પાછળ પાછળ ફરતી હોઉં છું .
ક્યારેક ખુશીના ઉન્માદમાં એ કંઇક ચિત્કારે
અને એ અજાણી ભાષા
મને યાદ અપાવી દે,
મારી એવી જ કોઈ ગુપ્ત અને ગહન ખુશીની .
મહાવત નથી જાણતો
અમારાં આ સહિયારા સ્વપ્નને .
એ હાથીના પગ બાંધીને ફેરવતો રહે છે એને,
એક ગામથી બીજે ગામ .
ગામની ગલીઓમાંથી હાથી પસાર થાય
એટલે જાણે કૌતુક જ જોઈ લ્યો,
પહેલા માળના ઘરની ચાલીમાંથી
એક નાનકડી છોકરી બહાર આવી અને
હાથીએ ઉપર લંબાવેલી સૂંઢમાં એક કેળું મૂક્યું.
આ હાથી જાણે જ છે કે એ હુ જ હતી .
આજે હવે, હુ ,એક સુંદર યુવાન સ્ત્રી ,
આ વૃધ્ધ હાથીની પાછળ-પાછળ
એક ગામથી બીજે ગામ ફરતી રહું છું ,
હુ જે જીવી ગઈ એ ફરીથી જીવવા .
મહાવત ક્યારેક હાથીને ફટકારે ત્યારે
એના સોળ મારી સ્મૃતિ પર પડે છે.
આ હાથી હવે વધુ ચાલતા થાકી જાય છે .
અને હુ પણ સ્મૃતિઓની
સેળભેળ કએઅવા લાગી છું ,
હાથી મારી સામે વેદનાભરી નજરે જુએ છે ,
પણ મારી આંખોમાં હજી પણ કૌતુક છે .
નાનકડા ગામમાં આવી ચડેલા
એક વિશાળ, મહાકાય હાથીને જોયાનું કૌતુક .

Translated by Balubhai Shah from Gujarati

Water Song – 3

N Gopi

Evolution is life’s nature.
Change itself is bound to change – that’s the law of creation.
Won’t the eternally vital water
Changes of water are beyond compare.
How many faces does water have!
How many figures does it carve!
All the beautiful paintings
on the sky-canvas
are of water alone.
Water has no death.
It lives in myriad forms.
Look there!’
Its legs having been snapped
water has collapsed into ice.
The freely flowing water
has been captured in ice blocks.
When will it be liberated?
that’s not water imprisoned.
This incarnation
is only to help others.

How beautiful is snow!
Its’ gold
that has not yet been coloured yellow!
Is it the white flower
that has fallen from sky’s tendrils!
Is it the transparent snowy cloth
that mother earth, unable to bear the heat,
covers herself with?
I feel like sliding
on the smooth mirrors
that make me shiver.
the snowfall
is weaving laces on the windows.
It’s showering pearls
on withered faces of trees.
What’s this!
Blood’s congealing.
Who’s the one that has tied and is tugging the reins
of every nerve?

What are these death beats
on the shadows of the massive sari borders
that are an epitome of purity?
What are these lifeless notes of music?
What are these merciless deadly catastrophes?

Snow is indeed pleasant.
Strumming the heart
this silent song spreads across long distances.
But once in a way,
snow too gets angry.
When snow roars
the world is shattered to pieces.
When snow roars
the balance becomes disrupted.
That’s why this prayer.

Calm down oh mass of snow!
Calm down the mother of fog!
In sleep you’re that much more beautiful.


ધર્મ જીવનનો સતત વિકસવું
પરિવર્તનનું યે પરિવર્તન –
છે સૃષ્ટિનો સ્વભાવ .
જળ તો નિત્ય ચેતનાશીલ
નહી પામે એ પરિવર્તન ?
જળનું પરિવર્તન છે અતુલિત
છે અનંત જળના ચહેરાઓ
કેટકેટલા આકારો એ કંડારે છે !
આસમાનના ફલક ઉપર જે ઉપસે છે અભિરામ
એ બધાં જળનાં ચિત્રો .
જળને નથી કદીયે મૃત્યુ .
એ તો ધબક્યા કરતું
વિવિધ સ્વરૂપે .
જુઓ, જુઓ !
આ ચરણ કપાયાં
ઢળ્યું હિમ થઇ પાણી.
ચેતનવંતું જળ સ્વેચ્છાએ
બરફ ગાંગડે થીજી ગયું આ .
ક્યારે થશે એની મુક્તિ ?
અરે, પરંતુ
હિમ થવું એ જળને માટે
નથી કદી યે બંધન જેવું
એ તો
જળનો એક જુદો અવતાર
પરોપકાર એ
કેટકેટલા લોકો માટે !
કેવી મનહર દીસે હિમાની
જાણે છબી શ્વેત સોનાની
નથી હજી લાગ્યો હળદરિયો રંગ .
ઘેઘૂર –શ્યામળ અલક લટેથી
ઝરી ગયેલું શ્વેત પુષ્પ એ !
તાપ થકી આતંકિત –
ધરતીમાને શાતા દેતી એ તો
ઝાકળ ઝીણી ઓઢણી ?
મન થાતું આ
ઝીણો ઝીણો કંપ જગવતા
હિમકણોના મર્મર લિસ્સા
દર્પણ પરથી લસરું .
અરે, આ જુઓ તો !
આસમાનથી ઝરમરતું જળ
વાતાયન પર
ઝલમલ ઝલમલ વેલ વાને છે !
અને જુઓ આ
ઠૂંઠે ફૂટ્યાં અંકુરો પર
મોતીનો વરસાદ થયો તે !
અહો ! થયું શું આમ અચાનક ?
થીજી રહ્યું છે રક્ત !
એક એક નાડીને ખેંચે કોણ
આમ રસ્સીથી બાંધી ?
નિર્મળતાના પ્રતિરૂપ આ
વિરાટ પાલવની છાયામાં
કેમ મરણના ચરણ ખૂંદતા ?
કેવી આ સારેગમ શ્વાસ-વિહોણો ?
દયારહિત ને પ્રાણઘાતકી વિરોધ કેવો ?
હા, એ સાચું.
ખરે હિમાની મનહર તો છે .
મનના તારો ઝંકૃત કરતું
દૂર દૂર રેલાતું
એ તો શબ્દ વિનાનું ગીત .
અને છતાં પણ
કદી કદી કોપિત થઇ જાતી
અરે,હિમાની !
કરે ગર્જના હિમાની તો
ખંડિત થાય ભૂમંડળ આખું .
કરે ગર્જના હિમાની ત્યાં
ટૂકડે ટૂકડા સંતુલનના .
તેથી તો વીનવીએ તમને
હે હિમાની ! શાતા પામો !
શાંત બનો હે તુષાર-જનની
શયનમાં તમે વધુ સુંદર લાગો છો .

Translated by M. Sridhar and Alladi Uma from Telugu
Water Song – 2

The Second Coming

William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Translated by
The Poet Pleads with the Elemental Powers

From four saints in three acts

Gertrude Stein

Pigeons on the grass alas.
Pigeons on the grass alas.
Short longer grass short longer longer shorter yellow grass. Pigeons
large pigeons on the shorter longer yellow grass alas pigeons on the
If they were not pigeons what were they.
If they were not pigeons on the grass alas what were they. He had
heard of a third and he asked about if it was a magpie in the sky.
If a magpie in the sky on the sky can not cry if the pigeon on the
grass alas can alas and to pass the pigeon on the grass alas and the
magpie in the sky on the sky and to try and to try alas on the
grass alas the pigeon on the grass the pigeon on the grass and alas.
They might be very well they might be very well very well they might
Let Lucy Lily Lily Lucy Lucy let Lucy Lucy Lily Lily Lily Lily
Lily let Lily Lucy Lucy let Lily. Let Lucy Lily.

Translated by

The Twilight turns

James Joyce

The twilight turns from amethyst
To deep and deeper blue,
The lamp fills with a pale green glow
The trees of the avenue.

The old piano plays an air,
Sedate and slow and gay;
She bends upon the yellow keys,
Her head inclines this way.

Shy thought and grave wide eyes and hands
That wander as they list -- -
The twilight turns to darker blue
With lights of amethyst.

Translated by

The Worms' Contempt

William Henry Davies

What do we earn for all our gentle grace?
A body stiff and cold from foot to face.

If you have beauty, what is beauty worth?
A mask to hide it, made of common earth.

What do we get for all our song and prattle?
A gasp for longer breath, and then a rattle.

What do we earn for dreams, and our high teaching?
The worms' contempt, that have no time for preaching.

Translated by

The Poet Pleads with the Elemental Powers

William Butler Yeats

The Powers whose name and shape no living creature knows
Have pulled the Immortal Rose;
And though the Seven Lights bowed in their dance and wept,
The Polar Dragon slept,
His heavy rings uncoiled from glimmering deep to deep:
When will he wake from sleep?
Great Powers of falling wave and wind and windy fire,
With your harmonious choir
Encircle her I love and sing her into peace,
That my old care may cease;
Unfold your flaming wings and cover out of sight
The nets of day and night.
Dim powers of drowsy thought, let her no longer be
Like the pale cup of the sea,
When winds have gathered and sun and moon burned dim
Above its cloudy rim;
But let a gentle silence wrought with music flow
Whither her footsteps go.

Translated by
The Second Coming

The Last Lap

Rudyard Kipling

How do we know, by the bank-high river,
Where the mired and sulky oxen wait,
And it looks as though we might wait for ever,
How do we know that the floods abate?
There is no change in the current's brawling--
Louder and harsher the freshet scolds;
Yet we can feel she is falling, falling
And the more she threatens the less she holds,
Down to the drift, with no word spoken,
The wheel-chained wagons slither and slue....
Achtung! The back of the worst is broken!
And--lash your leaders!--we're through--we're through!

How do we know, when the port-fog holds us
Moored and helpless, a mile from the pier,
And the week-long summer smother enfolds us--
How do we know it is going to clear?
There is no break in the blindfold weather,
But, one and another, about the bay,
The unseen capstans clink together,
Getting ready to up and away.
A pennon whimpers--the breeze has found us--
A headsail jumps through the thinning haze.
The whole hull follows, till--broad around us--
The clean-swept ocean says: "Go your ways!"

How do we know, when the long fight rages,
On the old, stale front that we cannot shake,
And it looks as though we were locked for ages,
How do we know they are going to break?
There is no lull in the level firing,
Nothing has shifted except the sun.
Yet we can feel they are tiring, tiring--
Yet we can tell they are ripe to run.
Something wavers, and, while we wonder,
Their centre-trenches are emptying out,
And, before their useless flanks go under,
Our guns have pounded retreat to rout!

Translated by

Be still, my soul, be still

Alfred Edward Housman

Be still, my soul, be still; the arms you bear are brittle,
Earth and high heaven are fixt of old and founded strong.
Think rather,-- call to thought, if now you grieve a little,
The days when we had rest, O soul, for they were long.

Men loved unkindness then, but lightless in the quarry
I slept and saw not; tears fell down, I did not mourn;
Sweat ran and blood sprang out and I was never sorry:
Then it was well with me, in days ere I was born.

Now, and I muse for why and never find the reason,
I pace the earth, and drink the air, and feel the sun.
Be still, be still, my soul; it is but for a season:
Let us endure an hour and see injustice done.

Ay, look: high heaven and earth ail from the prime foundation;
All thoughts to rive the heart are here, and all are vain:
Horror and scorn and hate and fear and indignation--
Oh why did I awake? when shall I sleep again?

Translated by



The edge of objects eludes me.
Stable in half-light, drifting in full.
Lo-res faces, victims of my pixeldust gaze.
All seeing reduced to this ocular noise,
this slight malfunction, this haze.

I shroud myself from the
glitterwince of the noonday sun.
I turn Bedouin, long shadow on the sands,
a Rajasthani bride, dark behind her veil.
I have begun seeing things.

I have seen Soordas singing,
blind seer of the humming hands.
And Borges in a café, face illumined, wise.
He is all reflection, the glass window
in his cloudmazed eyes.

I console myself with visions.
How else to delay this rodentblur
of darkness, this gnawing away of sight.
Left and right are dimming. If only I had
a third eye to see me through.

Translated by



Fragile Marici, just-born,
full-formed from Brahma’s eyes.
Onion-skinned he sits, and sighs.

The first of the Seers
and all he can see
is a shell of broken gold.

But then, as he watches,
the nine appear, till they are ten.
Ten mind-born sons blazing in the dark.

In his newborn ears the sound
of wakening, many-shaped and tongued,
a slithering of thought and shade.

And then, the body-born.
From throat and mouth and head,
filled with blood and flesh.

Marici waits, spectral, for his twin.
Death springs from Brahma’s eyes.

Translated by



Brine preserves her fingers.
For now her fingers are fish—
surmai, sardine, swimming
beyond the reach of weed.

Escaping net, bait and hook,
quick, silver, they swallow
rings of gold, they speak.
Old women, young kings

heed their words, the bubble
speech of prophecy, the slit
belly of recall. Sliced from
maw to tail, the wink of

a previous life, involving
a woman and a vow. On a
beach, a house, turning back
into sand, and hair, turning

back into reed. Weighed
down by human legs, each
step cutting like a sword,
the river girl, smelling of fish.

Consenting to the embrace
of mist on an island, the
wetness of hands and mouth,
the sagacity of a man of lust.

She reeks of fish no longer.
She smells now of musk,
verdigris, of scrubstone
and foam, she wears her

new skin like perfume, un-
stoppered from a chalice
of blood. Her human legs
flipper their way through mud.

She is dreaming of being
a fish again, scale and shine
in a sea of brine. Or a
gilded fin in a salinated

tank, a thing of light and feed.
Fitting end to end, all longing
slowed to this drift from end
to end. Dreams could visit her

there, maul her sleep with fingers
floating fresh within the snap
of open jaw. All sweetness gone,
a predator of glass. Come, turn

piranha, find other flesh to eat.
Swim elsewhere. Awake out of the
deep. For now, let this suffice—
this suck of tongue, and teeth.

Translated by



It is a sweet tooth
for revelry
that drives him
into the arms
of excess.
And she follows,
scenting crushed clove
and dried fig,
the forgotten trail
of desire.

It could cloy.

anointed, aromatic,
they emerge,
a fatted quail
at their breast,
he: smile
she: cinnamon-song.

Translated by




January in a striped tee
delivering veggies from
door to door, ripe tomatoes,
raw peas, frowsing up
the afternoon with his
growly old motor. When
January drives away, the
carpark drowses, crows
chorus vehemently their
ownership of empty air.
January misses the two
cat-sisters napping in the
grass, and is not consoled
by the two white butter-
flies who danced for him


The announcing of intention
the damning of act.
Why proclaim what is…
and will not improve on
proclamation, however
joyful. This river was in
spate. In spatial terms the
flow filled all the crannies
in between. In terms of
time, there was never a
gap between now and then
and never. It was the bouy-
ant inflammation, no place
for slouch. Now the gaps
are many and marked and


The clink of the universe
in my outstretched tin cup.
On the pavement, where
the homeless man is eating
his breakfast, there is no
room for eye contact.
Leaping over the four loose
tiles, I resume my beggary
on the other side of the
unbroken wall.

Translated by



Speak to the shield

Which warrior doesn’t yearn to breach the impregnable
This is womb talk dream talk
This is not what a baby should have heard
But which warrior was ever a baby
He was already a giant little foetus in amniotic trance
He needed whale song love song
Instead he heard it halfway through
His father’s triumphal entry through shield upon shield upon shield
Such fiendish construction

Little baby warrior
Generations of mothers weep for you
For breaking through with the lusty cry that announced you to the world
War cry death cry
Eavesdropper interloper
We are afraid
To name our sons after you
Four syllabic beautiful boy
You breached the unbreachable
No one wrote songs for you
For you were
You are
The boy who paid the price for knowing
What was not yours to know
And your mother’s sleep your father’s words
Bear that unbearable guilt
But I
I love your name Abhimanyu
I give it to my fictional son
I write his death the way it deserves
With blood with gilt with gore



છે કોઈ એવો યોદ્ધો જે ઝંખતો ન હોય અભેદ્યને ભેદવા?
આ છે કૂખની વાત સપનાની વાત
કોઈ શિશુએ આવું સાંભળવું નહોતું જોઈતું
પણ કયો યોદ્ધો કદી શિશુ રહ્યો છે?
એ તો હતો જ વિરાટકદ નાનકડો ગર્ભ અંતસ્ત્વચાની સમાધિમાં
એને જોઈએ વ્હેલગીત પ્રેમગીત
એને બદલે એણે સાંભળ્યું અરધું પરધું
એના પિતાનું વિજયભેર પ્રવેશવું એક પછી એક પછી એક રક્ષાકવચની આરપાર કેવી કપટી રચના અભેદ્ય

નાનકડા શિશુયોદ્ધા
તારા માટે માતાઓ રુદન કરે છે સદીઓથી
એક જોમભરી આરપાર ચીસથી તેં જગને જાણ કરી તારા આગમનની
યુદ્ધની ચીસ મોતની ચીસ
છૂપારુસ્તમ ઘૂસણખોર
અમે ડરીએ છીએ
અમારા બાળકને તારું નામ આપતાં
ચતુરાક્ષરી સુંદર બાળ
તેં ભેદ્યું અભેદ્ય
કૌમાર્યનું આવરણ
કોઈએ તારા માટે ગીતો ન રચ્યાં
કારણ તું હતો
તું છે
એ કિશોર જેણે કિંમત ચૂકવી જાણવાની
જે એણે નહોતું જાણવાનું
અને તારી માતાની ઊંઘ તારા પિતાના શબ્દો
સહે છે અસહ્ય અપરાધનો ભાવ
પણ હું
હું ચાહું છું તારા નામને અભિમન્યુ
હું આપું છું તારું નામ મારા કાલ્પનિક પુત્રને હું લખું છું એનું મૃત્યુ એને શોભે તે રીતે
રક્તથી સુવર્ણથી સંહારથી

સંપૂર્ણા ચેટરજી અંગ્રેજીમાંથી અનુ. પ્રતિષ્ઠા પંડ્યા

Translated by

---And I thought of you

Harindra Dave

A single green leaf and I thought of you
As though holding the season's first rain in my palm
A fresh stalk of grass and I thought of you

A bird chirped somewhere and I thought of you
As though monsoon clouds parted to clear the sky
A single star twinkled and I thought of you

Water splashed from the matka and I thought of you
As though an ocean were breaking its shores
A little spilled moonlight and I thought of you

Someone smiled without reason and I thought of you
As though seeing the universe in Krishna's mouth
A face met my eyes and I thought of you

Someone stopped at my door and I thought of you
As though hearing an uproar in the world of footfalls
A foot lifted up and I thought of you

----ને તમે ચાદ આવ્ચા
હરિન્દ્ર દવે

પાન લીલું જોયું ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં
જાણે મૌસમનો પહેલો વરસાદ ઝીલ્યો રામ
એક તરણું કોળ્યું ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં

ક્યાંક પંખી ટહુક્યું ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં
જાણે શ્રાવણના આભમાં ઉઘાડ થયો રામ
એક તારો ટમક્યો ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં

જરા ગાગર છલકી ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં
જાણે કાંઠા તોડે છે કોઇ મહેરામણ હો રામ
સહેજ ચાંદની છલકી ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં

કોઇ ઠાલું મલક્યું ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં
જાણે કાનુડાના મુખમાં બ્રહ્માંડ દીઠું રામ
કોઇ આંખે વળગ્યું ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં

કોઇ આંગણે અટક્યું ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં
જાણે પગરવની દુનિયામાં શોર થયો રામ
એક પગલું ઉપડ્યું ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં

Translated by Bindu and Poorvi Vora

About Readers

Michael Augustin

‘Writers are always on duty’ – Borges

Readers need to have everything in writing.

Readers have a screw loose
in their bookshelf.

Readers read only
what is written out for them.

Readers always see the world
in black and white.

Readers overlook
precisely what they should look at
when reading.

Readers are only after one thing.

Readers let themselves
be lured away
by authors who are total strangers.

Readers happily agree
to be chained to the page,
they follow the order of words
and they are Peeping Toms.

Readers pay
to be insulted by writers.

Readers would like to,
but they can’t.

When readers are drunk
they read everything double.
When they are sober
they read only half.

Readers couldn’t care less
what they read:
a poem by Gottfried Benn
or the small print
on the tube of toothpaste.

Readers should read
each others’ minds,
they should read
between the washing lines
or they should read
their tealeaves
but they shouldn’t read books!

Readers actually do believe
that every single word
was written just for them.

Readers don’t realize
that there’s a difference
between the words
‘machine gun’
and ‘chewing gum’.

If readers could read
they would read
something else

Translated by Sujata Bhatt from German
About Poems
I Feel Sorry
Some Questions Regarding Poems

About Poems

Michael Augustin

are not written,

were there
before there were poets.

are scratched
window panes.

are decomposable
and therefore must not
under any circumstance
be burnt.

are open around the clock
(even the hermetic ones).

from foreign countries
do not require
a visa.
A good translator will do.

No one
should be forced
to read a poem
or even to write one.

cannot be held responsible
for their author.

don’t read poems.

can be exchanged
for other poems
at any time.

Translated by Sujata Bhatt from German
About Readers
I Feel Sorry
Some Questions Regarding Poems

I Feel Sorry

Michael Augustin

I feel sorry
for the man in the red jacket
who has been longing for a blue jacket
for the past twenty years
but each time he buys himself a new red one instead.

I feel sorry
for the winter
that will never live to see the summer.

I feel sorry
for the little children
in whom adulthood
is already lurking.

I feel sorry
for the words in vain
because they will always remain in vain.

I feel sorry
for the radio signal
filling gaps between programs
which is only put on the air
so everyone hears
there’s nothing to be heard.

I feel sorry
for the question
whose answer everybody – and I mean everybody
claims to know.

I feel sorry
for the dungeon
that has to hold out
down there for centuries
without even having been convicted.

I feel sorry
for the barber’s apprentice
who of all things
has to accidentally
cut the throat
of his boss’ best customer.

I feel sorry
for the preacher
who just can’t remember
the word AMEN
and so is doomed to continue talking
until judgement day.

I feel sorry
for the pursuer of happiness
who without knowing it
has already for some time found happiness
and doesn’t have the slightest clue
that it has even started to run out.

I feel sorry
for the echo
that for once
would love to have the first word.

I feel sorry
for the punch line
that always hangs on the end.

I feel sorry
for the second mitten
of the one armed man.

I feel sorry
for the hamster
in the wheel

for the goldfish
in the bowl

and for the man
in the barrel -

I feel sorry
for the pig in the cold cut.

I feel sorry
for the serious situation
which everybody mistakes
for a game.

I feel sorry
for the fashion
which happens to be nothing
but a passing fashion.

I feel sorry
for the future
that with every passing second
only to add to the size of the past.

I feel sorry
for Berlin.

I feel sorry
for the bathroom mirror
that clearly shows its horror
when I look into it
in the morning.

I feel sorry
for the limits
that will always
have to remain within limits.

I feel sorry
for the pea
on which the princess tosses and turns.

I feel sorry
for the legs
that go all the way up
but then can’t go a step further.

I feel sorry
for the first one
who goes over board
and for the last one
who misses the boat.

I feel sorry
for the woman who runs the gallery -
for whom every single vernissage
turns into a finissage right away.

I feel sorry
for the window
through which everyone looks in
but no one looks out of.

I feel sorry
for the dead writers
because they always
have to fill in
for the living ones.

I feel sorry
for the stare
that goes into emptiness

and for the free kick
that misses the goal.

I feel sorry
for the ascetic
whose pillows
are filled with lead.

I feel sorry
for the parallel lines
because there’s no way
to prevent their collision in infinity.

I feel sorry
for Tom Sawyer
who never had the joy
of having children
with his blood brother Huckleberry Finn.

I feel sorry
for this poem.

Translated by Sujata Bhatt from German
About Readers
About Poems
Some Questions Regarding Poems

August '52

Faiz Ahmed Faiz

The light of spring seems possible
as a few buds tear their collars

Though dark autumn is still the ruler,
nature's orchestras sound in garden corners.

Night's inky darkness is unmoving,
yet, in it, dawn's colors lie scattered,

Our life's blood might burn in them,
yet a few lamps have lit this gathering.

Hold your heads high for having lost all,
we are now indifferent to the passing of time

The caged people will wake at this dawn;
a hint of a breeze is now become many promises.

Though this desert remains barren, Faiz,
the blood from your feet has flooded a few cactii.

फ़ैज़ अहमद फ़ैज़

रौशन कहीं बहार के इमकाँ हुए तो हैं
गुलशन में चाक चंद गरेबाँ हुए तो हैं

अब भी खिज़ाँ का राज है लेकिन कहीं-कहीं
गोशे चमन-चमन में ग़ज़लख़्वाँ हुए तो हैं

ठहरी हुई है शब की सियाही वहीं मगर
कुछ-कुछ सहर के रंग पर अफ़्शाँ हुए तो हैं

उनमें लहू जला हो हमारा केः जानो-दिल
महफ़िल में कुछ चराग़ फ़रोज़ाँ हुए तो हैं

हाँ कज करो कुलाह केः सब-कुछ लुटाके हम
अब बेनियाज़े-गर्दिशे-दौराँ हुए तो हैं

अहले-क़फ़स की सुब्हे-चमन में खुलेगी आँख
बादे-सबा से वा दः-ओ-पैमाँ हुए तो हैं

है दश्त अब भी दश्तमगर ख़ूने-पा से फ़ैज़
सैराब चन्द ख़ारे-मुग़ीलाँ हुए तो हैं

Translator's note: This was written to mark the fifth anniversary of the independence of Pakistan from British rule

Translated by Poorvi Vora from Urdu
On My Return from Dhaka (1974)


Sitanshu Yashaschandra

         The forest is afire and slow is the flow of my song.
Birds living atop tall ebony trees of speech are beyond help now.

         This ancient rain forest, parrot-green, full and broad.
Many monsoons have failed; there still is water under its floor;
         Muddy and bitter.

     These heavy thick woods wouldn't burn down that quick; flames
    Would erupt, form canopies of sparks, stop, only to start again.             
This fire wouldn't lie down, eyes shut, in any cool bed of smooth ashes.

                There is water here, enough for the forest not to dry up.
                           Not enough to put out the fire.

                  With a slow cadence, this song too has lost its sense,
                                Cannot claim its suggestions.
                    Moans of beasts, men, birds and trees sound alike

A flock of parrots, a big flock with hundreds of parrots, is now flung in the sky.
                 Hovers, scatters, twists back to itself, and falls like gray stones
                             Hurled at the forest

If only I could remember the prosody preserved on the pages
            Of the lost book of metres,
I could write the epic of tall trees of teak and ebony numbed by the blows of the stones.

           The thick broad pennant on the temple of the Forest-Shiva
                               Burns and flutters.
                      Where are the prosodic rules for the figures
                Of speech I hear so well in the bubbling of water boiling
                            In the pitcher over the Shivalinga?

                       In the innermost temple, mere brilliance.

                I am inside the white cool cliffs of marble,
                    I am inside multifaceted crystals,
                Behind the stiff rocks of huge cut diamonds.

               I see, all around, this forest lit up by the flames,
                          I am untouched by the fire.
                                  I am singed.
                                     I burn.

Translated from Gujarati by the poet


જંગલમાં આગ લાગી છે ને મારા ગીતનો છંદ વિલંબિત છે.
સીસમનાં શબ્દવૃક્ષો ઉપર રહેનારાં અર્થપંખીઓને પણ હવે બચાવી નહીં શકાય.

આ જૂનું વરસાદી વન ઊંચું, પોપટી લીલું, ભરચક અને પહોળું.
કેટલાંયે ચોમાસાં કોરાં ગયાં છતાં આની ભોંયમાં પાણી પડેલું છે.
ડહોળું અને કડવું.

આ અડાબીડ અરણ્ય એમ ઝટ સળગી નહીં જાય, ભડકાઓ
થતા જ રહેશે, તણખાઓના ગુબ્બારા ઊછળતા જ રહેશે,
સુંવાળી રાખની ટાઢી પથારીમાં આ આગ પોઢી નહીં શકે આંખ મીંચીને.

પાણી છે, જંગલ સાવ સુકાઈ ન જાય એટલું; દવ ઠારી શકે એટલું પાણી નથી.

વિલંબિત લયમાં ચાલતું આ ગીત અભિધાને ખોઈ બેઠું છે
ને લક્ષ્યાર્થને આંબી શકતું નથી.
પશુ, માણસ, પક્ષીઓ, ઝાડવાંનાં દુઃખધ્વનિ મળતા આવે છે.

પોપટનું લીલું મોટ્ટું ઝુંડ સેંકડો પોપટોનું આકાશમાં ઊછળે છે,
ઝળુંબે છે, વિખરાય છે, અમળાઈને બેઠું થાય છે, ને ભૂખરા
પાણાઓના ઘા બનીને જંગલ માથે પટકાય છે.

ઉપર તો આકાશને અડે છે આ આગ,
ને અંદર?

પિંગળની પોથીનાં ખોવાઈ ગયેલાં પાના પર લખેલા છંદ
યાદ આવે તો લખુંને પાણાના ઘાથી તમ્મર ખાઈ ગયેલા સીસમના
ને સાગના ઝાડથી કડેડાટીનું સકલકાવ્ય?

વનખંડી મહાદેવના દેવળ પરની જાડી પહોળી ધજા ભડભડ બળે છે.
જળધારીમાં ઊકળતા પાણીના ખદબદવાના અવાજમાં
જે શબ્દાલંકાર મને સંભળાય છે, એ વિષેની કારિકા ક્યાં છે?

ગભારામાં નર્યો ઝળહળાટ છે.

હું ધોળા ધોળા ટાઢા ટાઢા આરસના ખડકોની અંદર છું,
હું પાસાદાર સ્ફટિકોની અંદર, અતિકાય હીરાઓની પહેલદાર કરાડોની પાછળ છું.

ભડભડ બળતું આ જંગલ મને ચોતરફ દેખાય છે,
મને આ આગ અડકતી નથી.
હું દાઝું છું.

- સિતાંશુ યશસ્ચંદ્ર

シタンシュ・ヤチャスチャンドラ (インド)








    最も奥の寺院に わずかな輝き



Translated by the Poet from Gujarati

Some Questions Regarding Poems

Michael Augustin

(for Pearse Hutchinson & Martin Mooij)

Can poets change the world?
--Gottfried Benn

Is poetry
a continent
or is it more like an ocean?

Are there more written
or more unwritten poems?

How much does it cost
to produce
a poem?

Which poem
says more about its author:
his first one or his last?

How many poems per month
does an average
family of four need
to make ends meet?

Should a poem contain
that is found in the newspaper
or everything
that is not found in the newspaper?

Which words
have never ever
in a poem?

If one places
a book of poems
on the scales
and it shows 300 grams,
does that indicate
the weight of the paper
or that of the poems?
What is
the opposite
of a poem?

Do poems tend
to be loud
or to be quiet?

How many old poems
fit in a new one?
And how many new poems
fit in an old one?

What is the difference
between a poem with a title
and a poem without a title
discounting the fact
that one has a title
and the other has none?

Where does one find
the “best before date”
on a poem?

Is it possible
to extend the durability
of a poem
before its time runs out?

Can poems
bring the dead back to life?

Does a poem
have more or fewer lives
than a cat,
and how many lives
does a poem about cats have?

Can one get oneself
against poems?
What in the world
will poems lead us to?

What possibilities are there
to completely forget
a poem
that one had to learn by heart?

How can poems
defend themselves
against being caged
into anthologies?

What requirements
does a poem have to meet
in order to become
a favourite poem?

Can poems about flowers
by self-pollination
or do they always need
a poem about bees?

Does a love poem
have to be good in bed?

Which love poems
are better:
the pre-coital ones
or the post-coital ones?

Are love poems
bound to one person
or are they transferable?

When, at the very latest,
must a short poem stop
if it doesn’t want to risk
being mistaken
for a long poem?

Can poems
be produced artificially?

How many poems
can one read, at most,
if one still has to drive?

How can poems
be prevented?

Can a poem sense it
if it’s brushed
by the mantle
of literary history?

Should poems
be provided
with the foot-note
“please delete what does not apply”?

May poems
refuse to give evidence?

Should one throw poems
to the drowning?

What do memorable poems

Do political poems
the interests
of apolitical poems?

How good must a poem be
in order to be forbidden?

Do poems evaporate
if one leaves the book
lying open for too long?

Is earth
the only planet
where poems
are to be found?

Should poems
be deployed
in areas of crisis?

Has the supply
of poems
for the population
been secured?

In case of emergency
are there any reserves of poems
and for how long
would they last?

How long
can a human being
without poems?

Translated by Sujata Bhatt from German
About Readers
About Poems
I Feel Sorry

On My Return from Dhaka (1974)

Faiz Ahmed Faiz

So much politeness, yet we remain strangers;
how many meetings till we are again lovers?
How long before we see a spring of unsullied green?
How many rains before the blood stains wash away?

Heartless were the moments ending the pain of our love,
Lightless were the mornings following life-giving nights.

I longed to beg forgiveness, even complain as lovers do,
but my heart's crushing defeat gave me no respite.

What I had gone to say, Faiz, risking all -
remained unsaid when all else was done.

ढाकासे वापसी पर(1974)
फैज़ अहमद फैज़

हमके ठहरे अजनबी इतनी मदारातोंके बाद
फिर बनेंगे आशना कितनी मुलाकातोंके बाद
कब नज़रमें आयेगी बे-दाग सब्जे़की बहार
खूनके धब्बे धुलेंगे कितनी बरसातोंके बाद
थे बहुत बे-दर्द लम्हे खत्मे-दर्दे-इश्कके
थीं बहुत बे-मह्र सुब्हें मह्रबाँ रातोंके बाद
दिल तो चाहा पर शिकस्तो-दिलने मोहलत ही न दी
कुछ गिले शिकवे भी कर लेते, मुनाजातोंके बाद
उनसे जो कहने गये थे "फैज़" जाँ सदका लिये
अनकही ही रह गई वो बात सब बातोंके बाद


Translated by Poorvi Vora from Urdu
August '52



I roamed with you, dearest friend ! watching the day-breaks
of our tender years, unfolding on hill-tops;
and in several groves, listened to booming cries
of peacocks, racing from the grass to the sky.

Where the river's waves sparkled like smiles in a dream,
we threw a bunch of fresh flowers, which sailed forth
and rested on that lively damsel's breast,
while the trees nearby looked on excitedly.

Stopping from place to place, eying nature along
the words we uttered were most lost in the wind
yet a few of them stayed deep down in the vale,
I am gathering the pieces now in my lyre, with care.

Am offering at your feet now those fragile chimes,
Accept them, if you like, as a souvenir of past times.


ફર્યો તારી સાથે પ્રિયતમ સખે! સૌમ્ય વયનાં
સવારોને જોતો વિકસિત થતા શૈલશિખરે;
અને કુંજે કુંજે શ્રવણ કરતો ઘાસ પરના
મયૂરોની કેકા ધ્વનિત ધસતી જ્યાં ગગનમાં !

તરંગોના સ્વપ્નસ્મિત સરિતમાં જ્યાં વિલસતાં
વિલોકીને વેર્યો વિમલ કુસુમોના ગણ, અને
સરી ચાલ્યો તે તો રસિક રમણીના ઉર પરે,
અને ત્યાં પાસેના તરુવર રહ્યાં ઉત્સુક બની !

ઠરી સ્થાને સ્થાને, કુદરત બધીને અનુભવી,
કર્યા ઉદગારો, તે બહુ બહુ હવામાં વહી ગયા;
સખે ! થોડી ખીણો ગહન મહિં તો યે રહી ગયા,
કલાથી વીણામાં ત્રુટિત સરખા તે અહીં ભરું

અને તેને આજે તરલ ધરું તારા ચરણમાં,
ગમે તો સ્વીકારે ગત સમય કેરા સ્મરણમાં !

- કાન્ત

Translated by Balubhai Shah from Gujarati

Water Song – 2

N Gopi

Are warm children born of ocean.
are black-haired girls
brought up by the sky.

Clouds have laid themselves to rest
after delivering the rain.
They have left behind the grief of the loss
of a child for the parents.
Clouds no doubt have short lives,
but they have departed
after giving longevity to the earth.

Even as she perpetually loses her children
The ocean is an ever shining pregnant woman.
Though through hot pipes the sun sucks in
the water on the surface,
ocean, the paragon of patience, comes to terms with it
saying, “They ‘ II return it later.”

Sometimes when rivers
become lazy and tardy,
the ocean, a yogi in motion, calms herself
saying, “They’ II come anyway.”
The ocean is magnificent poem.
She is a rhythmic song
Woven with the scales of air, water and earth.
with waves as horses
with palm-tree high waves as spurs
with waves as blows of wind-swords
the ocean turns into fiery figure.
How can you dismiss her as only a liquid?
If she goes beyond bounds
She can also become an overpowering liquidator.
she is a housewife of the world
who on her own
stitches together the past and present in a leisurely manner.
With heaving breasts
The ocean breathes eternally
looking into past memories
in the water mirror
groping for her deepest secrets
no one has ever witnessed.

Looking at the oceans
mountains have had woebegone faces.
They’ve moaned aloud –
“What about us who have been motionless?”
Isn’t the heart of mother water
the home of water of mercy?
She has hurled the clouds up.
The clouds have adorned
The motionless rocky mountains like turbans.

On rough bare bodies
emeralds of greenery have sprouted
Doesn’t the rock too have feelings!
Isn’t its hugging the clouds
and getting drenched in sprays of imagination
the benevolence of water!
But a man who cannot move
Is jealous of movement.
When love have turned avaricious
mountains have begun to obstruct

That way
the opportunity to rain spontaneously
has turned scarce.
But will the clouds keep quiet?
When brushed aside as ball of cotton
they turn into destructive torrents.
When clouds get angry
they kick hard with their river-legs,
uproot mountains,
collapse caves,
wipe out shores.
This is what it means
for life-sustaining water to become life-consuming

Mountains that realize their mistakes
stand with drooping heads.
Water-heart that she has
she melts at the slightest hint
Mountains place the canals born to them
in the hands of rivers.
Like pulling out a magic ribbon
the ocean captivates the rivers.
This is
an endless water-wheels.
Who is he that wields the wheel?
Who else
but the star that’s witness to fate,
the burning eye of the sun?


સાગરમાંથી જન્મી
નાની હૂંફાળી વાદળીઓ
એને લાડકોડથી ઉછેરી
આ વાદળીઓ તો
શ્યામ લટોવાળી બાળાઓ .
પ્રસવીને વર્ષાને
છેલ્લા શ્વાસ ભર્યાં વાદળીઓએ
જન્મદાત્રીને પેટે
કેવળ રહી ગયો છે
ગર્ભશોકનો ભાર.
ભલે સ્વયમ્ અલ્પાયુ
તો પણ વાદળીઓ તો
વધારતી ગઈ આયુ
આ ધરતીનું .
ભલે નિરંતર ગુમાવતી સંતાનો તો પણ
સાગરની રસભર ગાગર તો
સદા સોહતી ગર્ભવતી નારીના જેવી .
ઉપર ઉપરના પાણીને
ધગધગતી ભૂંગળીઓ ખેંચી લે છે
તો પણ
ધીર,સહનશક્તિનો એ અવતાર
સમંદર એમ કહે છે :
‘તે તો પાછું આપી દેશે ‘.
કદી કદી આળસમાં
નદીઓ મોડી પડતી
તોય વિચારે ,
“ અરે ! આવશે એ તો .”
સંયમથી લહારાતો યોગી
છે આ સાગર .
સાગર તો છે મહાકાવ્ય
જલ-સ્થલ-વાયુના છંદોલયમાં ગૂંથાયેલું .
એક લયાત્મક ગીત -
અરે આ સાગર .
અને કદી આ સાગર –
થઈને તરંગના હણહણતા અશ્વો
ઉશ્કેરાટે ગગનચુમ્બતો
વાયુ-ખડગ પ્રહાર બનીને
બને વેગની ઉગ્રમૂર્તિ એ
દ્રવ છે એ તો કેવળ
એવું વિચારવાથી કેમ ચાલશે ?
તોડે જો સીમા તો
સાગર બની જાય છે
કાળ-કોળિયો સઘળું કરતો મહા-ઉપદ્રવ .
સહજ રૂપમાં તો છે સાગર
નિરાંત જીવે આજ અને ગઈકાલ ગૂંથતી
વિશ્વ-ગૃહિણી જેવો
.જલ-દર્પણમાં જોઈ
અતીતની યાદો
એ તો ફંફોસે છે
પોતાના કો અગમ અગોચર ઊંડાણોને
અને નિરંતર શ્વાસ ભરે છે
ધડકંતી સાગરની છાતી
સમુદ્રને જોતાં જ
ઝંખવાયા પહાડોના ચહેરા.
બોલ્યા ચીસ પાડતાં-
‘ અમે અચલ ,
શું થશે અમારું ?’
પણ ,
જળનું તો કોમળ માતૃ હૃદય
આલય કરુણાનું !
એણે ગગન ઉછાળ્યા મેઘ
બની વાદળના સાફા
અચલ ઊભાં પર્વતના –
મસ્તક ઉપર સોહે.
ઉજ્જડ એ પર્વત-દેહો પર
અંકુરિત થઇ મરકત શી હરિયાળી .
ભલે હોય પથ્થર
એને શું અનુભૂતિ નહીં થાય ?
વાદળીઓને આલિંગીને
શમણામાં ઝરમર ભીંજાવું
એ પણ છે પ્રતાપ જળનો !
તેમ છતાં પણ
અ-ચલ હંમેશા ઈર્ષ્યા સેવે
ગતિમાનની .
પ્રેમ પ્રલોભનમાં પલટાયો જ્યારે
વાદળીઓના મારગને અવરોધી
ઊભાં પ્હાડ.
આમ સહજ-વર્ષાનો અવસર
અવરોધાયો .
કહો,હવે વાદળીઓ પણ શું મૂંગી રહેશે ?
કપાસનો લોંદો સમજીને
કરો ઉપેક્ષા એની
તો તો પળમાં થઇ જશે એ
પ્રલયંકારી ઝંઝાવાત .
ક્રુધિત થયાં જો મેઘ
ઉછાળી ચરણ નદીના
મૂળ સોંસરા હચમચાવશે પહાડોને
ને ફેંકી દેશે દૂર .
ગુફાઓ પૂરી નાખશે
ભૂંસી નાખશે કિનારા સૌ .
કહેવાયું છે –
જીવનદાતા જળ
આમ જ
જીવન હરનારું બની જાય છે !
કબૂલી ભૂલ
રહે ઊભાં નતમસ્તક .
આશુતોષ જળ
સલિલ-હૃદય એ છે ને !
તો બસ,
પીગળી જાશે .
ઝરણ-શિશુને સોંપે વહેતી નદીઓના પાલવમાં.
જાદૂઈ જાજમ પાથરતો સાગર
આકર્ષે નદીઓને .
એક નિરંતર ફરતું આ –
જલ-ચક્ર .
હશે કોણ એ –
ચક્રધારી ?
કોણ બીજું એ ?
કર્મ-સાક્ષી નક્ષત્ર
સૂર્યનાં જ્વાલા-નેત્રો !

Gujarati Translation by Ramnik Someshwar

Translated by M. Sridhar and Alladi Uma from Telugu
Water Song – 3

To Flowers

Pradyumna Tanna

All the flowers have gathered for gossip
in Fagun’s* courtyard pointlessly.
Where is that prime dealer Breeze
who can assess all hues and fragrances?

*Fagun is the first month of Spring in the Hindu calendar

--પ્રદ્યુમ્ન તન્ના

ફાગણે ફળિયે ફૂલ બેઠાં બધાં
. નાહકનો ભરી દાયરો હો જી.
રંગ-સુગંધના મૂલ કરે એવો
. કયાં છે સોદાગર વાયરો હો જી ?

Translated by Berni Sangit into Spanish from English

Polyphony of the Day

K G Sankara Pillai

The same day-break
In a hundred cities,
in a thousand classrooms.

Poetry is the spontaneous
overflow of powerful feelings,
says Wordsworth.

Eleven o’ clock sun
Carves a church of doubt
On the forsaken rockface

Poetry is an escape
from emotion, says Eliot.

The same soul-scorching
Mid-noon sun
On the paths receding in failure
Outside the syllabus.
Poetry is also
Is also weaponry
Says Brecht.

The same afternoon
of spreading shadows
in the parched barren land
pining for the sound of clouds

Poetry is politics,
Says, E.M.S

Is the crown seized
With asixer from the last ball
In one-day cricket,
says the gallery.

Is what melts in small waves
Into one’s self
declares the congregation of drinkers.

Is the woman’s body that sings
and dances the ecstasy of eros
from head to toe
says the evening TV prayer.

In a hundred forests
On a thousand branches,
The same sunset.

is armed non-violence,
says the stag.
(Horns are for horns’ sake)

is the ascent of the world’s passion
through the phases of the moon
says the crescent of the moon.

is the rites of passage
of the life’s journey,
says Death.

is the endless raging encounters
with the waxing and waning of the lunar month,
says the sea.

Translated by Berni Sangit into Spanish from English
Deep Within
Deep Layers of the Word
Therefore I did not go insane
Dear Che



Are you his four-syllabic twin?
The girl no one will claim except those who retell that epic
in ferocious new-found freedom
Claiming your beauty your feral love your wild unmet desire
your rage as their feministic own.
For the ordinary, the meek expectant mothers, the arranged brides, the milkwhite maids
you are the she-demon no one dreams of.
He who mutilated you (one sharp slice of his blade ripping open your face
your nose gone, no metaphor here) is not the villain of the piece
to the legions of good girls, he is the Man, the God, Mr Right, Mr Righteousness,
his ugliness escapes them, so that all they see is you
bleeding all over yourself, weeping for revenge and getting it
             you horror you disgrace you she-demon you!
No one in their right mind would name their baby girls after you,
and so you are Abhimanyu’s twin in my book,
only sadder, unsung, unmourned,
except by me.
In one corner of my forest of words,
you gleam, intact and gorgeous and loved.

Translated by

Portrait and Sculpture

Priyakant Maniyar

Have to portray one I have never seen!
Who shall I carve out of this wind?

ચિત્ર અને શિલ્પ
--પ્રિયકાંત મણિયાર

નિહાળ્યો જેહને છે ના, તેનું રે ચિત્ર દોરવું !
મારે આ વાયુની માંહે કોનું રે શિલ્પ કોરવું ?

Translated by Berni Sangit into Spanish from English


K G Sankara Pillai

Neena, channel reporter

Mr. Nazar,
which is your bigger success
the Delhi blast,
the Mumbai one,
or this?

The one here burnt to ashes
a language we can no more speak,
broke to pieces the meanings within memory,
the cool shade within the meanings,
the dream within the faith,
the song within the dream...
They were enough
for the poor to survive...
Shreds of screams
lay entangled in the camera and the cable.
It was impossible to know whether
In their screams they said
"You do not know what you are doing",
whether they prayed the Lord
To forgive you.
Verbs tired of carrying the masculine gender
stood on the streets of screams
awaiting their turn.

People fast forgot
the voice of the slain.
The language of the slayer
grew clearer and louder.
In the voices from within
The rolling of the dice
The abusive laughter of the denuder...

Some tails
grope on the highway
uncertain whom to follow to heaven
smelling Dharma.

Tell us, Nazar,
was this the success
you aimed at?

Nazar did not speak.
Just spat out a mouthful of blood
and showed his mouth:
No toungue.
It had been chopped off.
The blood of language
filled the mouth,
the furnace ready to burn down
all the fourteen worlds.

Translated by K. Satchidanandan from Malayalam
Polyphony of the Day
Deep Within
Deep Layers of the Word
Therefore I did not go insane
Dear Che

I Want a God….

Vipin Parikh

I don’t need a God
who can provide a release
from the cycle of births!
I want a God
who can
free me from railway timetables
restrain the blood racing
at traffic signals,
stop time from being
dragged away in a jumbo jet,
chastise the emptiness
seeking relief in
radio and television,
keep me away in the morning
from truth-cloaked news,
and stop me from being
sold off cheap in ads.
I want
a God who….

જોઈએ છે .
-----વિપીન પરીખ

ભવોભવના ફેરામાંથી મુક્તિ આપે
એવા પ્રભુની જરૂર નથી !
જોઈએ છે એક એવો પ્રભુ
રેલવેના ટાઈમ ટેબલમાંથી મુક્તિ અપાવે,
ટ્રાફિકના સિગ્નલ પર દોડતી રક્તની ગતિને
અંકુશમાં રાખે,
જમ્બો જેટમાં
સમયને ઘસડાઈ જતો અટકાવે,
રેડિયો અને ટેલિવિઝનમાં મોકળાશ શોધતી
શૂન્યતાને ઠપકારે,
સત્યનો વાઘો પહેરીને
આવતા સમાચારોથી અળગો રાખે
અને જાહેર ખબરોમાં
મને સસ્તે મૂલે વેચાઈ જતો રોકે,
જોઈએ છે
એક એવો પ્રભુ.

Translated by Pradip N. Khandwalla from Gujarati

Quiero un Dios...
Vipin Parikh

No necesito un Dios
que pueda proveer una liberación
del ciclo de nacimientos!
Quiero un Dios
que pueda
líbrame de horarios de trenes
frenar la carrera de sangre
en los semáforos,
que detenga el tiempo de ser
arrastrado en un jumbo,
castigar al vacío
buscando alivio en
la radio y la televisión,
mantenerme alejado en la mañana
de verdades envueltas en noticias
y me deje de ser
vendido barato en los anuncios.
yo quiero
un Dios que ....


Translated by Berni Sangit into Spanish from English


K G Sankara Pillai

History stuffs and converts
great isms into great jokes;
marathon debates,
struggles for independence,
adventures of love,
arguments and laments, into great jokes,
suitable for any occasion,
local or global.

Fear and cry are short lived,
joke is eternal.
everything humane keeps within,
a seed of a joke
a time bomb of laughter.

Don't they say,
to become history is to become a joke,
or to be a joke is to be archaic.
Old age, disease, death, globalization,
malls, multiplexes, metros, mobile phones,
internet, or a new satellite
will change the story of our life
into a cartoon network tomorrow;
It will download our tensions, worries,
and inventions into a joke tomorrow.

We have to be able to laugh then,
don't we?
We have to tell T.S. Eliot
that this laughing spirit is the third
who walks always beside us.
and this joke is
what the river sweats.

Translated by the Poet from Malayalam
Polyphony of the Day
Deep Within
Deep Layers of the Word
Therefore I did not go insane
Dear Che


Rajesh Pandya

What exists there today
once where existed a tree ?
Asking this,
Umashankar happens to meet me
on the University Road. On turning.
Once where existed a shady tree.
Beneath it. Today.

I go and stand close by him.
Through thick glasses with a penetrating gaze,
he seeks to recognize me and recalls,
"You are the one who penned a poem on my departure, aren't you?"
Pointing towards the cut-trunked trees
at the University Entrance, he remarks,
"Now compose a poem on their demise.
You haven't been able to save them.
You haven't been able to preserve even that
What I entrusted to you all in my poetry ... "
So saying, he walks away.

I stand there, still,
like that stump of the tree.
So ashamed to hide in the Earth.
Partly within.

Translated by Mitul Trivedi from Gujarati

ઝાડની વારતા *ત્રણ
....રાજેશ પંડ્યા

શું છે આજે
જ્યાં વૃક્ષ હતું એક વાર ?
એમ પૂછતાં
ઉમાશંકર મને ઓચિંતા મળી જાય છે
યુનિવર્સીટી રોડ પર.વળાંકે .
જ્યાં એક વાર ઘટાદાર વૃક્ષ હતું
એની નીચે .

હું પાસે જઈ ઊભો રહું છું
જાડા કાચનાં ચશ્માંમાંથી ધારદાર જોતાં
યાદ કરતાં કહે છે ;
-મારાં મરણ વિષે તમે કવિતા લખી'તી તે જ કે ?
પછી યુનિવર્સીટીના પ્રવેશદ્વાર આગળ
કપાયેલા થડિયાં બતાવી કહે;
હવે આના મરણની કવિતા લખો .
આ બધાંને તમે બચાવી શક્યા નથી
હું તમને સોંપીને ગયો'તો ,તો કવિતામાં
એ પણ તમે સાચવી શક્યા નથી ...
કહેતાંક એ ચાલતા થયા.

હું ઊભો રહ્યો ત્યાં ને ત્યાં ,
કપાયેલાં થડિયાં જેવો .
ધરતી માર્ગ આપે તો સમાઈ જાઉં એવો .
અડધો અંદર.


Rajesh Pandya

Qué existe allí, hoy,
donde una vez existió un árbol?
Preguntándome esto,
Umashankar pasa a mi encuentro
en el camino de la Universidad. Al girar.
Donde alguna vez existió un árbol con sombra.
Debajo de él. Hoy.
Voy y me mantengo cerca suyo.
A través de los vidrios gruesos con mirada penetrante,
él busca reconocerme y recuerda,
"Tú eres el único que escribió un poema sobre mi partida, ¿verdad?"
Apuntando hacia los árboles descoyuntados
en el acceso a la universidad, él comenta,
"Ahora, componer un poema sobre su desaparición…
No has sido capaz de salvarlos.
No has sido capaz de preservar incluso
Lo que te confié en mi poesía... "
Diciendo esto, se aleja.
Me quedo ahí, todavía,
al igual que el muñón del árbol.
Tan avergonzado, como para esconderme en la Tierra.
Una parte dentro.


Translated by Berni Sangit into Spanish from English

Deep Within

K G Sankara Pillai

How fortunate we are
that there are walls.
That walls have gates
and gates have locks.

A small garden
The courtyard sleeps like
a dog. I am alone within.

With folded fangs, observing
my domestic seclusion, the black
beauty of an alluring serpent
descends on the colours of the garden

How fortunate that
we have walls.
That walls have doors
And doors have bolts.
Lucky indeed that I can be
locked within
by my near
and dear ones
when they go to work.

without wasting my life this way
reading Femina
counting my bangles
and watching Star T.V.
I would have crossed
the door, the street,
the city and gone out
of this solitary confinement
to regain my paradise
with the black serpent.

Translated by Berni Sangit into Spanish from English
Polyphony of the Day
Deep Layers of the Word
Therefore I did not go insane
Dear Che

Deep Layers of the Word

K G Sankara Pillai

In the depths of each word
there is a vessel.
Like an eye that opens and closes on its own
like a sea that rises and recedes
a magic chest.
Countless treasures
we bury in it.

In the depths of each vessel
as the source of all vessels
there is a palm,
the primal vessel.
In the five terrains of the palm
the hunter and the prey
the farmer and fisherman
the shepherd and the vendor of theory
the poet and the cardiologist
thief, astrologer and many others
all reside reciting their litany of grouses
in the same almanac
in different times.
In the short thin lines of the palm
how many great distances,
the branches the age old monkey can
still shake. Addition deduction
multiplication and division,
umpteen functions.
This or that the never-ending doubt.
The marks left by Idikkula master's lashes
the dark winged flutter of Mizhav
the lotus that blooms on fingers
the marks of knowledge
the blood stains from somewhere unknown
the paddy grain harvested unsown
the blows never given
the handshakes never received
the Chinese net of palm-lines to catch
the golden fish that have slipped away
the ship channels of life
The branches that some ape of remote past can still shake.
In the tiny marks on the palm
How many great distances.

In the tiny hillocks
of the palm
how many huge mounts,
the calluses the world made.
Rice ball
Sun Moon
Mercury Jupiter
hostile and friendly gazes
the mysterious renderings of the futures!
In the tiny hillocks
of the palm
how many tall peaks!
Great expanse
in the guise of gooseberry.
The native truths blossoming
in the alphabets of the body.

In the depths of each word
a vessel.
a hand,
a land,
an infinity.

Translated by C. S. Venkateswaran from Malayalam
Polyphony of the Day
Deep Within
Therefore I did not go insane
Dear Che

Therefore I did not go insane

K G Sankara Pillai

If I speak out
I will become the accused,
If I forget
I will turn into a wasteland.
If I neither speak out
nor forget I will turn insane.

Therefore, I buried
certain intimacies on the margins
of my speech, some of my sorrow
on the peripheries of my eyes
some truth in the vicinity of my smile.

I kept them guard under the canopy
of my watchful eyes,
keen to know how they grow.
I buried some of my rage
in the colossal beaks of Jatayu,
in the colours and lines of Goya.
In the arrow tip of Inquilab,'
in signatures, with the infantry
battalion of signatories.

Therefore I did not turn
insane, my forehead did not sprout
horns, nor did my fears take to
fraud or betrayal. Nor did my mistakes
wander on the borders of blood.

Translated by E. V. Ramakrishnan from Malayalam


Por eso no me volví loco
K. G. Sankara Pillai

Si hablo claro
voy a ser el acusado,
si olvido
me volveré un desierto.
Si no hablo claro
ni olvido, me volveré loco.

Por eso, enterré
ciertas intimidades
en los márgenes de mi discurso,
algo de mi dolor
en la periferia de mis ojos
alguna verdad
en las inmediaciones de mi sonrisa.

Los vigilé bajo el dosel
de mis ojos atentos,
interesados en saber cómo crecían.
Enterré algo de mi rabia
en los picos colosales de Jatayu,
en los colores y líneas de Goya.
En la punta de flecha de Inquilab,
en firmas, con infantería,
batallones de firmantes.

Por eso no me volví loco,
de mi frente no brotaron cuernos,
mis miedos no llevaron
al fraude o la traición. Ni mis errores
deambularon en los bordes de la sangre.


Translated by Berni Sangit into Spanish from English
Polyphony of the Day
Deep Within
Deep Layers of the Word
Dear Che

Dear Che

K G Sankara Pillai

Dear Che,
you came to our university campus
in mid sixties
with a comrade and a modernist friend
with visuals of jungles past and present
with a vision of a new battle for justice .

Like a fresh wind of October
you joined us
moved us
renewed us
and smoothened our entry into history
with love, dreams and plans.

You told us about the sleeping rebel powers
of mountains and forests of the new minds ;
quite often you talked of the day when
'the Andes would become
the Sierra Maestra of America.'

Our modernist friend said :
you are the red star over the world
tarnished by America ;
you are the future of the world
crippled by America;
you are the Jesus of the modern age
crucified by America .

Although you remained evergreen in us
showed us the exit to the oceans
from the lyrical ponds of our
post Independent Indian youth;
the exit to the storm from the water lily breeze
of our weeping romantic poems ;
dear doctor , you redefined us
living with us

living for us
living in us
passing the confidence of torrents into our deserts
weaving sunlit paths into our prodigal nights.

You brought world into our words
and future into our past
You opened blast-furnaces for our ore.

Translated by A. Lakshim from Malayalam
Polyphony of the Day
Deep Within
Deep Layers of the Word
Therefore I did not go insane

Here you will find English translations of poems written in Gujarati –poems that will compare well with some of the best in the world.

Gujarat is a state in India, and its language, Gujarati, is spoken by about 50 million people world-wide. Gujarati has a poetic tradition of seven centuries. The subjects of Medieval Gujarati poetry were largely religion and mysticism. Social reform and national awakening were themes for the nineteenth century. If compassion for the downtrodden was reflected in the early twentieth century, in later years poetry strived for beauty for beauty's sake. The Modern poet was disillusioned with city life if not distraught.

Gujarati Poetry is rich in variety - the long narrative poem, the devotional song, the lovey-dovey ghazal, sonnets and haikus, couplets, the prose poem ...

Read on. Allow us to amaze you.