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Indian Poetry

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.

Translated into English from Hindi by Apurva Narain

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
In the Land of Butterflies

In the Land of Butterflies

Kunwar Narayan

I once had the illusion
that I had reached the land of butterflies
and a butterfly was chasing me.
I stopped
so she stopped too,
I looked behind me
so she too looked behind her,
and when I started running behind her
she too started running behind her
In fact, like me
she too was under an illusion
that she was in the land of butterflies
and someone was chasing her

Translated into English from Hindi by Apurva Narain

I dTír na bhFéileacán
Kunwar Narain

Bhíos tráth den bharúil aisteach
go raibh tír na bhféileacán sroiste agam
is go raibh féileacán sa tóir orm.
agus stop sise leis,
d’fhéachas im’ dhiaidh
is d’fhéach sise leis ina diaidh
agus nuair a chuas sa tóir uirthi
chuaigh sise leis sa tóir uirthi féin
Go deimhin, mo dhála féin
bhí sise leis den bharúil aisteach
go raibh tír na bhféileacán sroiste aici
is duine éigin ina diaidh

Translated by Gabriel Rosenstock into Irish from English
On the Eighth Floor

The Body change

Rati Saxena

With my first step onto the seventh-story floor
I removed the coolness like a shoe
that I’d brought from the courtyard
painted with cow dung.
I donned the new room like a sweater
with windows, shelves, and walls,
the surroundings climbing my body like bougainvillea.

Whenever moving between homes
I carry bits of the old ones on my body.

The walls of the next home are made of sunlight
that disappears with darkness.
To put on this home
is to enter dreamfulness
as a road to reality.

At the final home, a pillow waits
on my side of a shared bed
beside a window facing south.

The south is the house of death.
I make it my body
and lie down on my pillow.

I am ready.

Translated by Seth Michelson

The Name

Tulsi das

-Doha, From the Ramacharitamanas, Adikanda

The name of Rama is a universal tree
That shelters us in these fallen times -

And merely recalling it has taught me
To be true to my own:

For I, Tulsidas, who was as scrawny and dry
As a leaf of cannabis,

Have now turned as green and life-giving,
As a leaf of the tulsi-plant;

The name of rama has brought me to delight in my own.

नामु राम को कलपतरु कलि कल्यान निवासु |
जो सिमरत भयो भाँग ते तुलसी तुलसीदास ||

Translated by Anand Thakore