• Gems of Indian Poetry translated into English


  • Timeless Indian Poems now available in English language


what could be stranger

Waqas Khwaja

what could be stranger than the way
i experience you?
i taste you with my eyes
smell you with my touch
hear the pores of your skin
humming with bees
see the prickle of your body’s
untarnished desire
breathe its stinging melody on my breath
and i sip the ardent voice
of your eyes with my tongue

an bhféadfadh aon ní bheith níos aite

Waqas Khwaja

An bhféadfadh aon ní bheith níos aite
ná mo thaithíse ort?
Blaisim thú lem’ shúile
bolaím lem’ mhéara thú
cloisim póireanna do chraicinn
is iad ag crónán le beacha
feicim spíonta dhúil gan teimheal
do cholainne
is a ceolmhaireacht ghéar ar m’anáil
agus slogaim dianghuth
do shúl lem’ theanga

Translated by Gabriel Rosenstock into Irish from English

Broken bangle

Gabriel Rosenstock

a bangle seller
on a Mumbai train
was arrested (again)
her bangles confiscated
red, yellow, blue, purple, et cetera
on her way
to the police station
she saw a rainbow –
a broken bangle –
in the sky
colourless

Translated by the Poet from Irish

bráisléad briste

gabhadh díoltóir bráisléad
(arís) ar thraein
in Mumbai
coigistíodh na bráisléid
dearg, buí, gorm, corcra agus araile
ar a slí go dtí
stáisiún na bpóilíní
chonaic sí bogha ceatha –
bráisléad briste –
sa spéir
gan dath

σπασμένο βραχιόλι

μια πωλήτρια βραχιολιών
σε ένα τραίνο της Βομβάης
συνελήφθη (ξανά)
τα βραχιόλια της κατασχέθηκαν
κόκκινα, κίτρινα, μπλε, μωβ, και άλλα

στον δρόμο
για το αστυνομικό τμήμα
είδε ένα ουράνιο τόξο -
ένα σπασμένο βραχιόλι -
στον ουρανό
                  άχρωμο


Translated by Sarah Thilykou into Greek from English

Two Fires

Subodh Sarkar

Here, every child is scared to play
Here, every squirrel has a bullet-proof home
Here, every old man wants to commit suicide
There is no difference between a soldier and a man
No difference between the killer and the killed
Both are poor, both are hungry, both are tortured.

Poets of India, can you walk between two fires?

Translation from the Bengali by the poet


Dhá Thine
Subodh Sarkar
San áit seo tá eagla ar pháistí dul amach ag spraoi
San áit seo tá nead philéardhíonach ag na hioraí
San áit seo is mian leis na seanóirí lámh a chur ina mbás féin
Níl aon difríocht idir saighdiúir agus sibhialtach
Níl aon difríocht idir an marfóir is an té atá marbh
Táid araon beo bocht, ocras orthu, céastar iad araon.

A fhilí na hIndia, bhfuil sibh in ann siúl idir dhá thine?

Translated by Gabriel Rosenstock into Irish from English
For Three Olive Leaves
Dead body No 14

A Breeze

Dileep Jhaveri

I am a wandering breeze
You are a widespread park
A park grows from rich soil
It covers stiff rocks and reveals scurrying brooks
It cares for humble short grass as much for tallest ever green redwoods
Infinite is its variety of leaves in shapes, sizes, sheen and texture
Every colour unfurls in its flowers
No tongue can tell the taste of its fruits
Seemingly anchored it keeps flying
on the wings of the bees butterflies and birds
It cavorts with crickets and cicadas and squirrels and raccoons and bears
It hums with floating fragrances
It rolls with seeds and scones and pebbles and pollens
It twists with climbing creepers and photophilic branches
It limits the sky in its lakes and hides the sun in its dew
How else can I describe you?
Stay, you are a park in league with mighty winds
I am just a passing breeze
that you may not recall
while I shall carry you forever

Translated by

In the Word-Box

Sanskriti Rani Desai

Suddenly awakening from sleep one night,
I saw something astonishing.
Out of one word, another was emerging
Out of the second, a third . . .
A hundred, two hundred words were emerging
From each word!
The whole room was overflowing with words.
Seeing that my eyes were open,
A wild stampede began.
The words started rushing back to their word-boxes
Fifth into the fourth, fourth into the third,
Third into the second.
I swiftly caught a speedily escaping word
And asked it “What’s all this?”
In the beginning, it kept silent,
But after further interrogation, it explained,
“Periodically every word dons a skin,
And after awhile another one over that,
Like one box contained inside another.”
As soon as I let go of its neck,
The word ran for its life.
Before entering the mouth of a snoring word,
It said,
“Right from the original meaning
All the current meanings
Come out at night
To enjoy a momentary freedom.
Take care, the prevailing arrogant word
Doesn’t find out about this,
Otherwise our doom is sealed.
Can you keep a secret?
A gentleman's promise?”

Translated from Gujarati by Dileep Jhaveri and Bill Wolak


I mBosca na mBriathra.
Sanskriti Rani Desai

Dhúisíos go tobann oíche amháin
Agus chuir an radharc alltacht orm.
Bhí focal amháin ag teacht amach as focal eile,
As an dara focal, an tríú ceann . . .
Céad, dhá chéad focal ag éalú
As gach focal!
Bhí an seomra ar fad ag cur thar maoil le focail.
Chonaiceadar go raibh mo shúile ar oscailt,
Is ansin a thosnaigh an hurlamaboc.
Thug na focail go léir seáp faoi na boscaí briathra.
An cúigiú isteach sa cheathrú, an ceathrú sa tríú,
An tríú sa dara ceann.
Rugas go grod ar cheann de na focail a bhí ag éalú
Agus ar mise leis, ‘Cad é seo go léir?’
Ní osclódh a chlab ar dtús
Ach tar éis a thuilleadh fiosraithe, ar sé,
‘Bíonn craiceann ar fhocal ó am go a chéile,
Agus, tar éis tamaill, craiceann eile anuas air sin
Mar a bheadh bosca istigh i mbosca.’
Nuair a scaoileas dem’ ghreim scornaí air
Theith an focal lena anam.
Sular ghabh isteach i mbéal focal eile a bhí ag srannadh,
Ar seisean:
‘Tagann a mbrí reatha
Amach as an mbunbhrí
Istoíche
Chun sult a bhaint as a gcuid saoirse.
Bí cinnte nach gcloisfidh an focal sotalach
Atá i réim faoi seo
Nó tá ár bport seinnte.
Coinneoidh tú ina rún é?
Tá d’fhocal agam air sin?’

Translated by Gabriel Rosenstock into Irish from English

Noble Meat Home

Manisha Joshi

I am not interested at all in this Marathi woman –
Hard face, shrill voice – selling flowers
on the train going from VT to Thane and Thane to VT.
The train stops at Kurla station.
Muslim women get onto the train
And strip off their burkhas.
I look at them with a homoerotic gaze.
I can map all of Kurla in that face.
‘Noble Meat Home’
Dirty white hens
Half fried omelette
The green distempered mosque
The older woman with henna-red hair
with her offering of a chadar
The Hajis officiating a nikaah
Sufi auliyas
Little children who run over burning coals
A repentant sinner holding on himself
the blows of a whip and
large cans overflowing with sherbet
to quench the thirst of Imam Hussain.




નોબલ મીટ હોમ”
મનીષા જોષી

મને કોઇ જ રસ નથી, વી.ટી.થી થાણા
અને થાણાથી વી.ટી. આવ-જા કરતી
આ ટ્રેનમાં કે કરડા ચહેરા અને કર્કશ અવાજવાળી
ફૂલ-ગજરા વેચતી આ મરાઠી બાઇમાં.
કુર્લા સ્ટેશને ગાડી ઉભે છે.
મુસ્લિમ સ્ત્રીઓ લેડીઝ કંપાર્ટમેન્ટમાં આવીને
બુરખો કાઢી નાખે છે અને હું એમને
સજાતીય નજરે તાકી રહું છું.
આખુંયે કુર્લા દેખાય છે મને એ ચહેરામાં.
ત્યાંનું, “નોબલ મીટ હોમ”,
ઓફ-વ્હાઇટ કલરની મરઘીઓ,
હાફ-ફ્રાઇડ ઓમલેટ,
લીલા રંગના ડીસ્ટેમ્પરવાળી મસ્જિદ,
ચાદર ચડાવવા આવેલી
મહેંદી કરેલા કેસરી વાળવાળી એક પ્રૌઢ સ્ત્રી,
નિકાહ કુબૂલ કરાવતા હાજીઓ,
સૂફી ઓલિયાઓ,
ધગધગતા દેવતા પર દોડી જતા બાળકો,
પોતાના શરીર પર કોરડા ઝીલતો
એક વ્યભિચારી, તથા
ઇમામ-હુસેનની તરસ છીપાવતાં
શરબતનાં છલકતાં પીપ.

Translated by Gopika Jadeja from Gujarati
RE-BIRTH
The Bazaar of Pots and Pans
Poem

On the Eighth Floor

Kunwar Narayan

On the Eighth Floor
Kunwar Narayan

On the eighth floor
in this small flat
are a pair of windows
that open outward.

To live incessantly
alone in the flat
at such a height with windows
that open outward
is terrifying.

On both windows, I
have put strong grilles
knowing full well
that on the eight floor
one will hardly dare
to come in from outside...

In fact, I am scared from the inside
not from the outside
that, edgy with the world
or bored with my own self,
I myself may not someday
jump out of from within.


En el octavo piso
Kunwar Narayan

En el octavo piso
en este pequeño departamento
hay un par de ventanas
que se abren hacia afuera.

Vivir incesantemente
solo en el piso
a tal altura, con ventanas
que se abren hacia afuera
es aterrador.

En ambas ventanas,
he puesto rejas fuertes
sabiendo muy bien
que en el piso ocho
difícilmente alguno se atreva
a entrar desde afuera ...

De hecho, tengo miedo del adentro
no del afuera
de que, inquieto con el mundo
o aburrido de mí mismo,
yo mismo no pueda algún día
saltar hacia afuera desde dentro.

Translated by Berni Sangit into Spanish from English

Tulips

SYLVIA PLATH

The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here.
Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in.
I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly
As the light lies on these white walls, this bed, these hands.
I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions.
I have given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses
And my history to the anaesthetist and my body to surgeons.

They have propped my head between the pillow and the sheet-cuff
Like an eye between two white lids that will not shut.
Stupid pupil, it has to take everything in.
The nurses pass and pass, they are no trouble,
They pass the way gulls pass inland in their white caps,
Doing things with their hands, one just the same as another,
So it is impossible to tell how many there are.

My body is a pebble to them, they tend it as water
Tends to the pebbles it must run over, smoothing them gently.
They bring me numbness in their bright needles, they bring me sleep.
Now I have lost myself I am sick of baggage——
My patent leather overnight case like a black pillbox,
My husband and child smiling out of the family photo;
Their smiles catch onto my skin, little smiling hooks.

I have let things slip, a thirty-year-old cargo boat
stubbornly hanging on to my name and address.
They have swabbed me clear of my loving associations.
Scared and bare on the green plastic-pillowed trolley
I watched my teaset, my bureaus of linen, my books
Sink out of sight, and the water went over my head.
I am a nun now, I have never been so pure.

I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted
To lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free——
The peacefulness is so big it dazes you,
And it asks nothing, a name tag, a few trinkets.
It is what the dead close on, finally; I imagine them
Shutting their mouths on it, like a Communion tablet.

The tulips are too red in the first place, they hurt me.
Even through the gift paper I could hear them breathe
Lightly, through their white swaddlings, like an awful baby.
Their redness talks to my wound, it corresponds.
They are subtle : they seem to float, though they weigh me down,
Upsetting me with their sudden tongues and their color,
A dozen red lead sinkers round my neck.

Nobody watched me before, now I am watched.
The tulips turn to me, and the window behind me
Where once a day the light slowly widens and slowly thins,
And I see myself, flat, ridiculous, a cut-paper shadow
Between the eye of the sun and the eyes of the tulips,
And I have no face, I have wanted to efface myself.
The vivid tulips eat my oxygen.

Before they came the air was calm enough,
Coming and going, breath by breath, without any fuss.
Then the tulips filled it up like a loud noise.
Now the air snags and eddies round them the way a river
Snags and eddies round a sunken rust-red engine.
They concentrate my attention, that was happy
Playing and resting without committing itself.

The walls, also, seem to be warming themselves.
The tulips should be behind bars like dangerous animals;
They are opening like the mouth of some great African cat,
And I am aware of my heart: it opens and closes
Its bowl of red blooms out of sheer love of me.
The water I taste is warm and salt, like the sea,
And comes from a country far away as health.

ટ્યૂલિપ્સ

આ ટ્યૂલિપ્સ ઘણા ઉત્તેજક છે, અહીં શિયાળો છે
જોને કેટલું સફેદ છે બધ્ધું, કેટલું શાંત, કેટલું હિમાચ્છાદિત.
અજવાળું પથરાય છે આ દીવાલ, આ ખાટલા, આ હાથ પર
અહીં એકલી સૂતા સૂતા હું જાતને ભણાવું છું શાંતિના પાઠ
હું જાણે છું જ નહિ, મારે વિસ્ફોટ સાથે કોઈ લેવા દેવા નથી.
મારુ નામ ને દિવસે પહેરવાના કપડાં મેં નર્સને આપી દીધા છે
મારી અથથી ઇતિ શીશી સૂંઘાડનારને ને મારું શરીર દાક્તરને.

મારું માથું ટેકવીને મૂક્યું છે એમણે ઓશિકા ને ચાદરની કિનારની વચમાં
બે સફેદ પોપચાંની વચમાં બંધ ન થતી આંખની જેમ.
મૂર્ખ કીકી, એને બધું અંદર લીધે છૂટકો.
નર્સો આવે ને જાય, આવે ને જાય, એ નડતી નથી
એ તો આવે ને જાય પ્રવાસી સીગલ જેવી, માથે સફેદ ટોપી લઇ,
હાથથી કંઈ ને કંઈ કરતી, જેવી એક તેવી બીજી
એટલે બધી મળીને કુલ કેટલી એ કહેવું અશક્ય છે

મારું શરીર એમને માટે એક કાંકરી છે, જેને એ લોકો સાચવે છે પાણી જેમ
સાચવે છે, પસવારે છે હળવેકથી, એ કાંકરીને જેની ઉપર ફરી વળવાનું હોય
ચળકતી સોંયોમાં એ બધિરતા લઈને આવે છે, નિંદર લઇને આવે છે.
હું ખોવાઈ ગઈ છું, કંટાળી ગઈ છું સામાનથી---
મારો ખાસ ચામડાનો એક જોડી કપડાંભર્યો થેલો દવાઓના કાળા ખોખા જેવો,
મારો વર ને છોકરો ફોટોફ્રેમમાં બેઠાં હસે છે;
એમનું હાસ્ય ચોંટી જાય છે મારી ચામડી પર, નાની હસતી આંકડીઓ

મેં બધી ચીજોને સરકવા દીધી છે, ત્રીસ વર્ષ જૂનું માલભર્યું જહાજ
જિદ્દી થઇને લટકે છે મારા નામ ને સરનામાં પર.
ડેટોલવાળા રૂના ટુકડાથી ઘસી ઘસીને સાફ કરી નાખ્યા છે એમણે મારા પ્રેમાળ સંગાથો
લીલી પ્લાસ્ટિકની ટ્રોલી ઉપર ભયભીત ને ઉઘાડાં પડ્યાં જોઉં છું
મારા ચાના કપ રકાબી, મારા કપડાંભર્યા ખાનાં, મારા પુસ્તકો
નજર તળે ડૂબે છે, અને પાણી માથા ઉપર થઇ ચાલ્યું જાય છે.
હું હવે એક સાધ્વી છું, ક્યારેય આટલી નિષ્કલંક નહોતી

મારે કોઈ ફૂલો નહોતા જોઈતા, મારે ખાલી હાથ
ઉપર કરીને સૂવું'તું, સાવ સાવ ખાલી.
કેટલી મુક્તિ, કેટલું ખુલ્લાપણું તને અંદાજેય નથી---
એટલી બધી શાંતિ કે તું મૂઢ થઇ જાય,
અને એ તારી પાસે કંઈ માંગણીઓ ના કરે, નામની તક્તી, જરઝવેરાત.
અહીં આવીને જ તો અટકે છે મૃતકો, હું કલ્પી શકું છું એમને
પિંડ પરે મુખ બંધ કરતાં, જાણે પ્રસાદનો ઠોર.

પહેલી વાત કે આ ટ્યૂલિપ્સ સખ્ખત લાલ છે, વાગે છે મને.
ચળકતા કાગળની આરપાર સાંભળી શકું છું
એમના હળવા શ્વાસ, વીંટાળેલા સફેદ કપડાંની આરપાર, કોઈ ભૂંડા બાળકના જેવા.
એમની લાલાશ વાતો કરે છે મારા ઘાવ સાથે, સંવાદ કરે છે.
એ ઘણા સૂક્ષ્મ છે: લગભગ તરે છે, ને છતાંય હું લદાઈ જાઉં છું એમના બોજ તળે,
એકાદ ડઝન સીસાનાં ભારણ મારા ગળા ફરતે
વ્યાકુળ કરતાં મને એમની સફાળી જીભથી નેએમના રંગથી.

કોઈએ મારી કદી દેખરેખ રાખી નથી, ને હવે બધા પહેરો કરે છે.
ટ્યૂલિપ્સ મને જુએ છે, ને આ પાછળની બારી પણ
જ્યાં દિવસમાં એક વાર અજવાશ ધીમેથી ફેલાય છે ને આછો થાય છે,
ને હું જોઉં છું મારી જાતને, ચત્તીપાટ, હાસ્યાસ્પદ, સૂરજની આંખ ને ટ્યૂલિપની આંખની વચમાં
કાગળ-કાપ્યા છાયાચિત્ર જેવી ચહેરા વિનાની, મારે ભૂંસી જ નાખવી હતી મારી જાતને
આ તીવ્ર ટ્યૂલિપ્સ મારો ઓક્સિજન ખાઈ જાય છે.

એ આવ્યા એ પહેલાં હવા શાંત હતી
આવતી જતી, શ્વાસ પછી શ્વાસ, કોઈ ખટપટ વિના.
પછી આ ટ્યૂલિપ્સે અેને ભરી દીધી, જાણે કોઈ ગરજતો અવાજ.
હવે આ હવા ભોંકી જાય છે અને વમળાય છે એમની આસપાસ જાણે કોઈ નદી
ભોંકી જાય છે ને વમળાય છે ડૂબેલા કાટખાધા લાલ ઈંજનને ફરતે
એ મારું ધ્યાન કેન્દ્રિત કરે છે, જેને મોકળાશ હતી
કોઈ બંધન વિના રમવાની-આરામવાની

આ દીવાલો પણ પોતાને ચેતવણી આપતી લાગે છે:
ભયાનક જાનવર જેવા આ ટ્યૂલિપ્સને તો સળિયા પાછળ નાખવા જોઈએ
એમનું મોઢું તો જો, ફાડીને બેઠા છે, કોઈ આફ્રિકન બિલાડો જાણે,
અને મને ભાન છે મારા હૃદયનું, એ ખુલે છે ને બંધ થાય છે
એનો લાલ કટોરો ખીલે છે મારી પ્રત્યેના ભરપૂર પ્રેમને કારણે.
હું ચાખું છું પાણી, ગરમ ને ખારું, દરિયા જેવું,
આવતું તબિયત જેટલા દૂરના કોઈ દેશથી.

--- સીલ્વીયા પ્લાથ
અનુવાદ: પ્રતિષ્ઠા પંડ્યા

Translated by Pratishta Pandya from English

In Ramesh

Ramesh Parekh

I am searching, but cannot locate Ramesh in Ramesh.
One cannot find the roads leading to Ramesh in Ramesh.

Even gul-mohars might sometimes be visiting his place.
Their foot-prints are smouldering even today in Ramesh.

If you dig, you may find a city lying there buried,
The same way you will discover Ramesh’s dreams in Ramesh.

Half of Ramesh is lost in the dark days to come,
And the other half exists in the clouds of smoke in Ramesh.

The entire kingdom has now become absolutely still,
Because the kind that lived in Ramesh has died in Ramesh.

Sometimes someone sauntered there like a spring-time breeze,
Today only cobwebs are seen dangling in Ramesh.

God! What will happen to your pale loftiness?
You are busy constantly digging pot-holes in Ramesh.

When a boat-man bearing the name of Ramesh got drowned,
Then only we realized there were oceans in Ramesh.


કાગડો મરી ગયો
...રમેશ પારેખ

સડકની વચ્ચોવચ્ચ સાવ કાગડો મરી ગયો
ખૂલેખૂલો બન્યો બનાવ કાગડો મરી ગયો

નજરને એની કાળી કાળી ઠેસ વાગતી રહે
જમાવી એ રીતે પડાવ કાગડો મરી ગયો

આ કાગડો મર્યો કે એનું કાગડાપણું મર્યું?
તું સિદ્ધ એ કરી બતાવ , કાગડો મરી ગયો

શું કાગડાના વેશમાંથી કાગડો ઊડી ગયો?
ગમે તે અર્થ તું ઘટાવ , કાગડો મરી ગયો

શું કામ જઈને બેસતો એ વીજળીના તાર પર ?
નડ્યો છે જોખમી સ્વભાવ, કાગડો મરી ગયો

અવાજ આપી કોને એના શબ્દ છીનવ્યા હતા?
કરી કરીને –કાંવ... કાંવ કાગડો મરી ગયો

સદાય મૃતદેહ ચૂંથી કોને એમાં શોધતો ?
લઈ બધા રહસ્યભાવ , કાગડો મરી ગયો

લ્યો, કાગડો હોવાનો એનો કાર્યક્રમ પૂરો થયો ,
હવે આ રાષ્ટ્રગીત ગાવ, કાગડો મરી ગયો

રમેશ, આમ કાગડાની જેમ તું કરાંજ મા...
You stop… stop …stop.. now કાગડો મરી ગયો

Translated by Balubhai Shah from Gujarati

These Moments

Pratishtha Pandya

If I drown them
into a deep deep sea
I will find them again
Inside the dark
A shinning pearl!
If I bury these
In the depths of the earth
I will find them again
A smiling city of Harappa.
If I burn them to ashes
Like a forest fire
I will find them again
A new forest after years.
If I save them
Store them in some safe place
I may not find them myself
after years!!


………..આ ક્ષણો .....
-પ્રતિષ્ઠા પંડ્યા

આ ક્ષણોને જો ડુબાડું
ઊંડાં કોઈ દરિયાને તળિયે
અંધકારમાં ફરી થઇ
મોતી શું મળે?
આ ક્ષણોને જો ધરબી દઉં
ધરતીના પેટાળમાં
હસતું કોઈ નગર
હડપ્પા થઇ મળે.
આ ક્ષણોને કરું જો ભસ્મ
દાવાનળની જેમ
સાવ નવું જ જંગલ
કોઈ વર્ષો પછી મળે .
આ ક્ષણોને જો સંઘરું
ને સાચવીને મૂકું ક્યાંક
એવું બને કે વર્ષો પછી
એ મને ના મળે !

Translated by Sarah Thilykou into Greek from English

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
Noble Meat Home
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
Noble Meat Home
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

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 Berni Sangit into Spanish from English
Two Fires
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 from Bengali by Debayudh Chatterjee

Cuerpo Nº 14
Subodh Sarkar

Soy el Cuerpo no 14 que no tiene nombre
ni estado, ni escuela ni distrito
en noches de primavera mientras robaba mi pan
en noches de invierno mientras tocaba mi flauta
fui testigo de una bomba
¿Debo huir o jugar? ... desde entonces tengo catorce

Mientras robo arroz pasado en las mañanas de otoño
mientras veo a las chicas bagdi bañarse en las tardes de verano
mientras atrapan estudiantes desnudos en las arboledas de Polaash
me preguntaba si huir o tocar mi flauta o desvestirme-
tengo que ser ese cadáver no 14.

Uno que no puede ser abandonado ni retenido
cuyo padre no ha reconocido y cuya madre todavía no ha rastreado,
ni el amante de mi madre, hallado de pie con bultos de paja.
Tu no podrías ahogarme en la piscina ni quemarme en el bosque.
Pero me rodearon con tropas paramilitares,
Ja, ja, ¿Debo levantarme por un instante?

De los suyos o de ellos, qué bala me mató, no sé
de ellos, o aquellos, quiénes se harán cargo del féretro, no sé.
Ah, yo estaba tan bien, robaba arroz, tocaba mi flauta
pero no debería haberlo hecho, si hubiera adivinado
que las hormigas me joderían el culo
no habría defendido mi casa con gritos tan tremendamente fuertes.

Una vez me escapé con la ropa de una chica a medianoche.
¡Cuán culto de ella pensar que fue Krishna cuando el ladrón era yo!
Una, que ama, sólo ama mientras que el otro tipo se desnuda.
Me sorprendieron robando vacas, deseaba robar un teléfono móvil.
Pero yo soy el número 14, sin heredero ni coche fúnebre.

Tendido en los campos del ejército puedo ver la India.
Prometiste amarme enmarcando una constitución.

Enmarcaste una constitución pero no eres capaz de amar
Cuando estamos muertos somos el número catorce, cuando estamos vivos también.
Cargado, mientras me tambaleo, con republicanismo, democracia y tratado nuclear.

Somos crustáceos, somos Dios, somos Cristo, y somos el STSC...
¿No podrías guardar un poco más de arroz, reservado para nosotros?

Translated by Berni Sangit into Spanish from English
Two Fires
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
Noble Meat Home
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

---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

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

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

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.