• Gems of Indian Poetry translated into English


  • Timeless Indian Poems now available in English language


RE-BIRTH

Manisha Joshi

the flamingos are dead.what next?
the Phoenix has turned into ashes.
and it's not a hundred years since,yet,
and on the heap of these ashes
a pup is making himself comfortable.
the sweep of the phoenix wings is seen
in the pup's flapping,hanging ears
the tiny little twisting tails of the pup
-that is the phoenix soul.
its teeth chewing upon a bone
those are his full span of life.
and all the foresight
of the phoenix's flights high above the sea
are become the flaring nostrils of the pup
alerted by the smell of leather.
on the ash heap of the phoenix,such,
the pup has gone to sleep
of the feel of limbs,inside the ashes
its dreams are made.
its not going to wake up,never
it's thoughts are all that is left of his
liquid virility in those ashes.
from those no phoenix shall be born-none.


પુનઃજન્મો
....મનીષા જોશી

ફ્લેમિંગોના અકાળ અવસાન પછી હવે શું ?
ફીનિક્શની રાખ પડી છે .
સો વર્ષ પછી એ ફરીથી આ જ રાખમાંથી જન્મ લેશે .
હજી સો વર્ષ પૂરાં નથી થયાં.
અને એની આ રાખના ઢગલાં પર
ગલૂડિયું બેઠક જમાવી રહ્યું છે .
ફીનિક્શની પાંખોનો ફફડાટ દેખાય છે
ગલૂડિયાના લટકતા ,ધ્રૂજતા કાનમાં.
એની નાનકડી પટપટતી પૂંછડી
એટલે ફીનિક્શનો આત્મા .
હાડકું ચાવતા દાંત એટલે
ફીનિક્શનું આખુંયે જીવન .
ચામડાની ગંધથી ફૂલી જતાં એનાં નાકનાં ફોયણાં
એટલે ફીનિક્શની દરિયા પરની
ઊંચી ઊંચી ઉડાનોની બધી અગમચેતી .
એ ફીનિક્શની આ રાખ પર હવે
ગલૂડિયું સૂતું છે .
એ રાખની અંદરની શારીરિકતા પર
એનાં સ્વપ્નો રચાયાં છે .
એ હવે જાગે તેમ નથી .
એનું ચિંતન એટલે રાખમાં રહી ગયેલું
ફીનિક્શનું વીર્ય
જેમાંથી કોઈ ફીનિક્શ જન્મવાનું નથી .

Translated by Sitanshu Y. Mehta from Gujarati
The Bazaar of Pots and Pans
Poem

The Bazaar of Pots and Pans

Manisha Joshi

I love to walk through the market at Mandvi
Where pots and pans are sold.
"On the day of Chiranjivi Manisha's birth"
These are the words that my mother
Got marked on the utensils she had bought here.
Years passed.
My skin changed.
And those utensils too, like members of the family
Used, worn,
Became more and more themselves.
When I visit the market with my pots and pans
To get the cracks soldered,
With them are soldered
My scattered years.
I return with a sense of contentment.
In my ears the sound of metal beaten
As the dents are hammered back into shape.
I've no idea
Where my pots and pans came from,
The shop, the shopkeeper,
But as I pass silently
Through the long familiar noises of the market
I constantly feel
That they and I are undying.
New couples keep coming here,
They choose a new name for me,
Have it marked on their pots and pans,
Carry me home with them.
I live the life of those pots and pans.
Or else, I sit
In the market at Mandvi
On the steps of different shops where utensils are sold.
I feel satiated
With a thali loaded with thirty-two dishes.
I feel bewildered
By an empty bowl
Pots and pans, empty and full,
Gaze at me like philosophers,
When suddenly
A utensil falls from the rack
And the noise resounds through the house.
I get so disturbed,
As if someone is coming to take my life.
There is just the span of my hand between
Utensils and life.
And before I can determine
Where the span begins and ends
Like the long narrow lanes of the market,
The joints on my fingers
Start counting something
In the storehouse of Time.
Never are they completely silent
The noises of this market of pots and pans.
When the market closes
Behind locked doors
New utensils glitter
And new lives come into being
Alive and vocal in that glitter
Locked with thalis, bowls, glasses
And as lives grow stale,
It is I who live them,
Since yesterday,
Since the day before,
Since that day.

કંસારા બજાર
– મનીષા જોષી

માંડવીની કંસારા બજારમાંથી પસાર થવાનું
મને ગમે છે.
‘ચિ. મનીષાના જન્મ પ્રસંગે’
આ શબ્દો મમ્મીએ
અહીંથી ખરીદેલા વાસણો પર કોતરાવ્યા હતા.
વર્ષો વીત્યાં.
મારા હાથ-પગની ચામડી બદલાતી રહી
અને એ વાસણો પણ, ઘરના સભ્યો જેવાં જ,
વપરાઈને ઘસાઈને
વધુ ને વધુ પોતાનાં બનતાં ગયાં
એ વાસણોની તિરાડને રેણ કરાવવા
હું અહીં કંસારા બજારમાં આવું છું ત્યારે
સાથે સાથે સંધાઈ જાય છે
મારાં છૂટાં છવાયાં વર્ષો પણ.
ગોબા પડેલા, ટીપાઈ રહેલાં વાસણોના અવાજ
કાનમાં ભરી લઈ, હું અહીંથી પાછી જઉં છું ત્યારે
ખૂબ સંતોષથી જઉં છું.
આ વાસણો જ્યાંથી લીધાં હતાં
એ દુકાન કઈ, એ દુકાનદાર કોણ
કાંઈ ખબર નથી, છતાં
આ બજારના ચિરકાલીન અવાજ વચ્ચેથી
હું ચૂપચાપ પસાર થતી હોઉં છું ત્યારે
સતત એમ લાગ્યા કરે છે કે
હું અને આ અવાજ ક્યારેય મરતા નથી.
નવાં નવાં દંપતી અહીં આવે છે.
મારા માટે નવું નામ પસંદ કરીને
વાસણો પર કોતરાવીને
મને તેમના ઘરે લઈ જાય છે.
હું જીવું છું વાસણોનું આયુષ્ય
અથવા તો, બેસી રહું છું.
માંડવીની કંસારા બજારમાં
જુદી જુદી વાસણોની દુકાનોનાં પગથિયાં પર.
ધરાઈ જઉં છું
બત્રીસ પકવાન ભરેલી થાળીથી,
મૂંઝાઈ જઉં છું
એક ખાલી વાટકીથી.
વાસણો ઠાલાં ને વાસણો ભરેલાં,
તાકે છે મારી સામે
તત્ત્વવિદની જેમ ત્યાં જ, અચાનક
કોઈ વાસણ ઘરમાં માંડણી પરથી પડે છે
ને તેનો અવાજ આખા ઘરમાં રણકી ઊઠે છે.
હું એવી અસ્વસ્થ થઈ જાઉં છું
જાણે કોઈ જીવ લેવા આવ્યું હોય.
વાસણો અને જીવન વચ્ચે
હાથવ્હેંત જેટલું છેટું,
ને વ્હેંત, કંસારા બજારની લાંબી સાંકડી ગલી જેવી
ક્યાંથી શરૂ થાય ને ક્યાં પૂરી થાય
એ સમજાય તે પહેલાં
વ્હેંતના વેઢા
વખતની વખારમાં
કંઈક ગણતા થઈ જાય,
કંસારા બજારનો અવાજ
ક્યારેય સમૂળગો શાંત નથી થતો.
બજાર બંધ હોય ત્યારે
તાળા મારેલી દુકાનોની અંદર
નવાંનકોર વાસણો ચળકતાં હોય છે.
ને એ ચળકાટમાં બોલતા હોય છે
નવાં નવાં જીવન
થાળી વાટકા અને ગ્લાસથી સભર થઈ ઊઠતાં
ને એંઠાં રહેતાં જીવન
હું જીવ્યા કરું છું
ગઈ કાલથી
પરમ દિવસથી
તે ‘દિ થી.

Translated by Shirin Kudchedkar from Gujarti
RE-BIRTH
Poem

Hunter Dogs

Manisha Joshi

Wild dogs
Prowl around
Sniffing for a criminal.

Very often
I’ve had this odd dream.
As I wake up next morning
My own body gives off
Somewhat criminal niff.
One such night
In one such dream
Those dogs would devour me.

And I’d
Wake up with a start
Rip the dream to shreds
The dividing line
Between a prey and a preyer
Doesn’t sustain too long in dream.
Very soon
Those ferocious dogs
Would crawl before me
Wagging their tails
And I would
Set them on a new niff
Of an unknown body.

શિકારી કૂતરા

જંગલમાં દોડી રહ્યા છે
શિકારી કૂતરા,
કોઇ અપરાધીની શોધમાં.
આ સ્વપ્ન –
હું ઘણીવાર જોઉં છું.
સવારે ઉઠું ત્યારે
મારા પોતાના શરીરની ગંધ
મને કંઇક ગુનાહિત લાગે છે.
કોઇ એક રાત્રે,
કોઇ એક સ્વપ્નમાં,
ફાડી ખાશે એ કૂતરા મને.
અને હું,
સફાળી જાગી જઇને
હતું ન હતું કરી નાખીશ એ સ્વપ્નને.
શિકાર અને શિકારી વચ્ચેનો ભેદ
બહુ લાંબો નથી ટકતો સ્વપ્નમાં.
એ વિકરાળ કૂતરા
બહુ જલ્દી જ
પૂંછ પટપટાવતા
બેઠા હશે, મારી સામે.
અને હું
દોડાવીશ તેમને,
કોઇ અજાણ્યા શરીરની
નવી ગંધ પાછળ.

Translated by Hemang Desai

My Friends

Arundhathi Subramaniam

They’re sodden, the lot of them,
leafy, with more than a whiff
of damage,
mottled with history,
dark with grime.

God knows I’ve wanted them different --
less preoccupied, more jaunty,
less handle-with-care,

more airbrushed,
less prone
to impossible dreams, less perishable,

a little more willing
to soak in the sun.

They don’t measure up.
They’re unpunctual.
They turn suddenly tuberous.

But they matter
for their crooked smiles,
their endless distractions,
their sudden pauses --

signs that they know
how green stems twist
and thicken
as they vanish
into the dark,

making their way
through their own sticky vernacular tissues
of mud,

improvising,
blundering,
improvising

Translated by
A Shoebox Reminisces

Water Song – 4

N Gopi

The world is united with the five elements
like five fingers becoming a fist.
The union of all
is the origin of the world.
Their union
is a wonderful weave.
But the weave is not stable.
This arrangement is not immortal.
It’s not easy for things
to be united.
This is a strange movement
that moves eternally
shoulder to shoulder
parting and becoming free
coming together and becoming happy.
This is a synchronized movement,
a result of continuous penance.
But
if the elements become livid with anger
they turn into ghosts.
If the elements become incensed
they turn into songs of deluge.
Only when songs calm down will there be union.
Oh unified one! I salute you.
Water will not remain water.
Fire will not be fire
One doesn’t know
what shape air will take and when,
But the sky
Its eyes wide open stares vacantly.
It’s earth that bears everything.
Earth is the theatre for the five elements.
But
the primacy of air and water
in the life-giving sport is beyond compare.

Is water just water?
This element
is the bridge between the remaining friends.
Water flowers are
The liquid tears
that fall from the eyes of clouds.
The bright rays that slide down
in between the games of lightning girls.
This is what is meant by fire being hidden inside water.
Fire!
Your are now in the form of water.
Oh water,
who has hidden flames in your belly!
Even then
you are a cool mother
That’s why you’ve such brightness!
When fore unbraids her hair
and takes on a furious form
holds out her tongue and dances
you are the water that rescues us with your merciful sight.
Air that has paired with fire
immersed itself in water.
Air!
I salute you for your help
in making friends with water.
Oh sympathetic consciousness
that sets out on a journey to earth,
welcome !
Isn’t water
the earth’s mid-wife?
It’s water that strengthened its throbbing heart
and made earth the footwear.
Be they glaciers
or solid rocks
they are nothing but solidified water dreams.
Has the water that has come humping down the sky
bring the sky along?
No, no
It has brought the urn of nectar.
It has brought the vessels of medicine.
Its aim is to cleanse sin.
Is sin the fault of the body?

Isn’t water the invisible goddess
that blesses the hearth with its spray?
Isn’t there a bond between
man’s nature and the five elements?
Aren’t the six passions ¹
the playful images
of the result of visible and invisible processes?
Life
doesn’t dissolve in the infinite air.
The life process
will find its opportunities in the sky,
The five elemental flutes
will breathe life into it.
But for the journey to the sky
water alone is the vehicle.
Water that has entered the cloud’s water
will gain life-strength.
Drops will fall rapidly
as it someone has held them tight and shaken them.
The earth that is watching agape
will hold water in its mouth
Pervading the whole body
the fertility of the earth
will spread green grains of music with mystic syllables.
The life-giving water that has migrated to the sky
comes home and is excited.
Looking at the hand that has fed,
water heaves a sweet sigh.

Translated from the Telugu by M. Sridhar and Alladi Uma

જળગીત...૪...

પાંચ તત્વથી થયો સમન્વિત
આ સઘળો સંસાર
પાચ આંગળીથી મુઠ્ઠીની રચના થાતી જેમ
તેમ બધાનો યોગ
એ જ છે મૂળ સૃષ્ટિનું .
એવો આ સંયોગ
અજાયબ વણાટ જેવો .
નથી પરંતુ સ્થિર ગૂંથણી એની .
નથી આ ગૂંફન કંઈ અવિનાશી .
રહેવાનું આબદ્ધ
નથી કંઈ સરળ એટલું.
જુદા થાતાં,વિખરાતાં
મળતાં,હરખાતાં
ખભેખભા મેળવતાં ચાલે
જુઓ, અજાયબ ગમન
નિરંતર.
આ પ્રાગટ્ય સમુચિત ગતિનું
ચિર તપસ્યાનો પરિપાક.
થોભો કિન્તુ ,
પંચ મહાભૂતો જો વિફર્યા-
બની જશે ભૂતાવળ .
અને ભૂત જો થયા બહાવરા
ગીત પ્રલયનું બની બધે ફેલાશે.
શાંત થશે એ ગીતો –થાશે તો જ સમન્વય .
નમસ્કાર છે તને સમન્વય !
જળ રહેશે નહિ જળ
અગ્નિ રહેશે નહિ અગ્નિ
આ વાયુ પણ કયું રૂપ ક્યારે ધરશે
ના ખબર કોઈને .
કિન્તુ ,
કેવળ આભ તાકતું શૂન્ય
અહો ! વિસ્ફારિત નયને
સહે ધરાની ધૂળ બધુંયે .
ધરતીની આ માટી
એ તો રંગમંચ છે પંચતત્વનો,
પરંતુ સીંચે એમાં પ્રાણ
અનુપમ પ્રદાન એ વાયુ ને જળનું .
જળ શું કેવળ જળ છે ?
એ છે એવું તત્વ
બને જે શેષ ધાતુઓ વચ્ચે સેતુ.
વાદળની આંખેથી ઝરતાં અશ્રુ છે
આ જળપુષ્પો .
વિજ-કન્યકાની આંખોના અણસારે
ઝબકારા કરતો તેજપુંજ એ
ખરું કહ્યું છે –પાણીમાં ગોપિત છે અગ્નિ
હે અગ્નિ !
તમે સ્વયમ્ જળરૂપ હવે છો .
અને અહો જળ !
તમે હજુ પણ
જ્વાળાઓને ઉદર છુપાવી બેઠેલી
શીતળ માતા છો
તેથી તો ઝળહળ પ્રકાશતી દીપ્તિ તારી .
અગ્નિ જ્યારે ઉગ્ર સ્વરૂપે
છુટ્ટા મૂકી કેશ અને જિહવા લપકારી
તાંડવ ઘોર મચાવે ત્યારે
કરુણાની અમીધારા છાંટી
સૌને તું જ બચાવે .
અગ્નિને સંગાથ આપતો વાયુ પણ
ઓગળતો જળમાં .
અરે હવા !
પાણીથી સ્નેહ કર્યો તેં
માટે, પ્રણામ તુજને .
હે ધરતી પર અવતરનારા
સ્નેહસિક્ત ચૈતન્ય
અહીં છે સ્વાગત તારું .
ધરતીનો આ પ્રસવ
નથી જળને કારણે ?
જળ તો છે-
જેણે હૈયાની ધડકન સાહી
શણગાર્યા ભૂમિના ચરણો
પોતાના કલકલ નિનાદથી.
હિમખંડ એ હોય
અગર એ હોય શિલા પથ્થરની
એ સૌ ઘનીભૂત સ્વપ્નો છે જળનાં.
આકાશેથી છલાંગ મારી આવ્યું પાણી
લાવ્યું શું આકાશ સંગમાં ?
ના,ના,
એ તો અમીકુંભ સાથે લઈ આવ્યું
ને લાવ્યું ઔષધની મટકી
ધોવા સઘળાં પાપ-
એ જ બસ પરમલક્ષ્ય છે .
પાપ એટલે દોષ દેહનો ?
પાણી એ તો છૂપો દેવતા
ઝીણી ઝરમરથી પાવન કરતો માનસને.
નથી કહો માનવ સ્વભાવનો
પંચ મહાભૂતોથી નાતો ?
ને આ ષડરિપુઓ તો
કેવળ રમતિયાળ છાયાઓ
પરિણતી, દીઠી-અણદીઠી ઘટનાઓની ?
અનંત વાયુમાં ઓસરતો
નથી આ પ્રાણ .
વહેતું જીવન શોધી લે છે
આસમાનમાં અવસર
એમાં પંચતત્વની વેણુ ફૂંકે પ્રાણ .
પછી ,
આકાશગમન માટે તો
કેવળ પાણી બને વિમાન .
સજલ મેઘમાં ફેલાયું જે નીર
પામતું જીવન-શક્તિ .
જાણે એને પકડી
કોઈ હલમલાવતું હોય
એમ દદડતાં ટીપાં જળનાં .
મોઢું ખોલી ઝીલે એને ધરતી
પાછા ભીડી લે છે હોઠ.
સમાઈ જાતો અર્ક બધો ધરતીના દેહે .
બીજાક્ષરના ધ્વનિ સમો રેલાવા લાગે
લહેરાતા ધનધાન્ય તણાં ગીતોનો ધીમો નાદ.
ગગન-પ્રવાસી જીવનધારા
છલકે ઘરને આંગણ .
પ્રેમથી મુખે કોળિયા દેનારા
હેતાળ હાથને પસવારી
જળ મધુર-ઊંડા નિઃશ્વાસ ભરે છે.




Translated by Ramnik Someshwar
Water Song – 3
Water Song – 2

A Shoebox Reminisces

Arundhathi Subramaniam

I renounced shape
a long time ago,

chose
bagginess,

endless
recess-
ivity,

but there are days
when the longing
returns

and I cannot abide
the sterile cynicism
of the Anti Couples Club,
the smug peddlers
of Uni-sole Advaita.

I know it means
the saga of
two old shoes
all over again,

their grubby leather unions,
tales of childhood,
prejudice, toe jam, politics,

laces in a perpetual snarl
of knots,

footprints,

footprints.

But some days
I’m idolater enough
to want it again:
that old charade,

otherness.

Translated by
My Friends

For Three Olive Leaves

Subodh Sarkar

The village, I was born in, had no railway tracks
The village, I played in, had no school
The village, where I went to look for my mother hosted a Banyan tree

From that Banyan tree, someone played the flute at might
I left my bed to scamper towards it
I found none, just a sweet voice said, why fear, come…

I ran and ran away and fell asleep under a river.

And since that sleep, and since that great escape,
I’m still running… Many a sum I solved, much English I learned
The laptop was introduced, in came Paulo Coelho
In my flight to Greece I switched on my laptop
I heard that flute once more; I looked out of the window
Crossing Karachi, then Afghanistan, then Iran, and Cairo
As I entered I heard that flute again,
Come, what’s to fear, come…

Athens provided me a 22-floor hotel to live in
Per night 500 euros, meaning one night 27 thousand rupees
I thought a dhoti, a towel, a bit of bread will do
What more does a man need? Man still desires a laptop
And plans to ride a metro under the ocean
From my hotel window I saw a lovely city
It took us ages from Parthenon to the hotel.

As I had a bath, grabbed a beer and switched on the TV
No channel was broadcasted, emptiness, but in APT channel
That flute would still be heard, driving me out of senses,
Ah stop it at once!
I opened the door as soon as I knocked. Antigone,
Are you still fighting to restore the honor of your
Dead brother’ corpse? Does the state want crows and dogs
To feast on your brother?
No one has seen Antigone smile yet, I saw
Suppressed for 2500 years, that Pacific smile of hers
“I’m not Antigone, but Nasa Patapew Christofides
We met in a poetry-reading in Bhopal.
Won’t you let me in? Should I stand outside?

That flute reverberated in the hotel’s each corner
Telephones paralyzed, doorbells not working, TVs switched off
In all 108 rooms I could hear that flute play
Come along; take me to that very Banyan tree
But she smiled and replied, there’s no Banyan tree in Greece

But olive trees all around, Aristotle with an olive in his hand
Neither money, nor gold, I realized that for three olive leaves
I’m still alive.

Translated by Debayudh Chatterjee from Bengali
Dead body No 14

Dead body No 14

Subodh Sarkar

I am Dead body no 14 which has no name
No state, no school nor district
On spring nights while stealing my bread
On winter nights while playing my flute I witnessed a bomb
Should I flee or play on… since then I’m fourteenth

While stealing stale rice on autumn mornings
While watching Bagdi girls bathe in summer afternoons
While catching students, naked in Polaash tree groves
I wondered whether to flee or play my flute or undress-
I got to be that Dead body no 14.

One who can neither be abandoned, nor retained
Whose father’s not recognized and mother not yet tracked,
Nor whose mother’s lover, standing with straw-bundles is found
You couldn’t drown me in the pool nor burn me in the forest
But surrounded me with paramilitary troops,
Ha-ha, Should I stand up for a while?

Of theirs or of them, whose bullet killed me I do not know
They, or them, who shall carry by bier I do not know,
Ah I was so well off, stole rice, played my flute
But I shouldn’t have, if I could guess ants would screw my arse
Wouldn’t have guarded my house either with tremendously loud screams

I once ran away with a girl’s cloth in midnight
How cultured of her, to think it was Krishna when the thief was me!
One, who loves, just loves while some other bloke strips
I was caught stealing cows, wished to steal a mobile phone
But I’m numbered 14, without an heir or a hearse

Laid in the army grounds I can see India
You promised to love me by framing a constitution

You framed a constitution but you’re unable to love
When dead, we’re number fourteenth, when alive numbered fourteenth too
Burdened, as I stagger on, with republicanism, democracy and nuke deal

We’re shell-fishes, we’re God, we’re Christ, and we’re the STSC…
Couldn’t you keep a little more rice, reserved for us?

Translated by Debayudh Chatterjee from Bengali
For Three Olive Leaves

Woman

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
Gift

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
Woman
Gift

Gift

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
Woman
Eco Friendly Ganeshas

Poem

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.


…કવિતા
...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
RE-BIRTH
The Bazaar of Pots and Pans

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
Change!
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?
But
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.
Look,
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?

Yes.
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!
Sleep.
In sleep you’re that much more beautiful.


Translated from the Telugu by M. Sridhar and Alladi Uma



...............જળગીત-૩

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 .
આસમાનની
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
પોઢો
શયનમાં તમે વધુ સુંદર લાગો છો .


Translated by Ramnik Someshwar
Water Song – 4
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
grass.
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
be.
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

THIRD EYE

SAMPURNA CHATTARJI

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
BRAHMA’S EYES
SLIPSTREAMS
LOVE SONG
FIRST QUARTER
ABHIMANYU
SOORPANAKHA

BRAHMA’S EYES

SAMPURNA CHATTARJI

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
THIRD EYE
SLIPSTREAMS
LOVE SONG
FIRST QUARTER
ABHIMANYU
SOORPANAKHA

SLIPSTREAMS

SAMPURNA CHATTARJI

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
THIRD EYE
BRAHMA’S EYES
LOVE SONG
FIRST QUARTER
ABHIMANYU
SOORPANAKHA

LOVE SONG

SAMPURNA CHATTARJI

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.

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

Translated by
THIRD EYE
BRAHMA’S EYES
SLIPSTREAMS
FIRST QUARTER
ABHIMANYU
SOORPANAKHA

FIRST QUARTER

SAMPURNA CHATTARJI

January

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
instead.


February

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
slow.


March

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
THIRD EYE
BRAHMA’S EYES
SLIPSTREAMS
LOVE SONG
ABHIMANYU
SOORPANAKHA

ABHIMANYU

SAMPURNA CHATTARJI


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
Unbreachable

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
Abhimanyu
Four syllabic beautiful boy
You breached the unbreachable
Barrier
Hymen
Hymnal
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

અભિમન્યુ

કોઠાસૂઝ

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
અભિમન્યુ
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
THIRD EYE
BRAHMA’S EYES
SLIPSTREAMS
LOVE SONG
FIRST QUARTER
SOORPANAKHA

---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

Poems
are not written,
poems
happen.

Poems
were there
before there were poets.

Poems
are scratched
window panes.

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

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

Poems
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.

Poems
cannot be held responsible
for their author.

Poems
don’t read poems.

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
shrinks
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.


1952
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)

FOREST

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


જંગલ

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)




    森は燃えている、わたしの歌はゆるく流れている
高い黒檀の木、てっぺんにいるけたたましい鳥たちはもう助けようがない

    この古代の多雨林、鸚鵡色で、見晴るかす限り
どの季節風が失敗した;まだその土の下には水がある;
                    どろどろで苦くして

これら重く濃密な森は、迅速には全焼させぬ;
    炎は噴き出て、火の粉の天蓋を成し、停止し、再び始まるだけである。
この火は横たわらぬ、滑らかな灰の冷たい寝台でも、瞼を閉じる。

    ここには水がある。森林が干あがらぬほど十分に、
火を消さぬほど十分に

遅い調子で、この歌もその感覚を失った
その求めに応じられない
獣、人、鳥、および木のうめき声は似て聞こえる

    もしわたしだけが、歩格の失われたた本の頁に封じられた作詩法を覚えていられたら
    わたしは石の一息でチークと高い黒檀樹の叙事詩を書けるだろう

    シバ森の寺院の厚ぼったい三角旗が
焼け焦げてひらめいている
  表象のための作詩法はどこにあるのか
シバリンガの水差しのなか、
ぐつぐつ沸騰する泡に、よく聞こえる話の

    最も奥の寺院に わずかな輝き

わたしは大理石の白く涼しい断崖にいる、
わたしは多面をもつ結晶の中にいる
大きなダイヤモンドカッターの堅石の後ろにいる


わたしは、炎により照らされたこの森をあたり一面見る
  わたしは火に影響されない
  わたしは焼き焦がされるのだ
               歌われるのだ
                          燃えるのだ

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
everything
that is found in the newspaper
or everything
that is not found in the newspaper?

Which words
have never ever
appeared
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
vaccinated
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
multiply
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
remember?

Do political poems
represent
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
survive
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

(मदारात=परिचय,सत्कार
मुनाजात=औपचारिकता,विवेक)

Translated by Poorvi Vora from Urdu
August '52

AN OFFERING

Kant

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.


ઉપહાર

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

Clouds
Are warm children born of ocean.
Clouds
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.
Sometimes
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.
But
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

clouds.
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?


….જળગીત...૨

સાગરમાંથી જન્મી
નાની હૂંફાળી વાદળીઓ
એને લાડકોડથી ઉછેરી
આકાશે
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 .”
એવો
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 .
કિન્તુ,
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
ત્યારે
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 !
પહાડ
કબૂલી ભૂલ
રહે ઊભાં નતમસ્તક .
આશુતોષ જળ
સલિલ-હૃદય એ છે ને !
તો બસ,
પીગળી જાશે .
પર્વત
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 Ramnik Someshwar
Water Song – 4
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

ફૂલોને
--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
Poetry

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

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

Poetry
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.

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

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

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

Poetry
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

SOORPANAKHA

SAMPURNA CHATTARJI

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,
Soorpanakha,
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
THIRD EYE
BRAHMA’S EYES
SLIPSTREAMS
LOVE SONG
FIRST QUARTER
ABHIMANYU

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

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.