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Indian Poetry

The City Without Stars

N Gopi

Roads it seems bloom with people
The bus like a suggestive dream
Glide its eyes full of desire.

In the afternoons
The theatres bring
the cool of Simla.

The sun
in the meadows of Hussainsagar
dries crimson - dyed saris.

Every girl in a mini
seems to be smiling at you.
Vehicles stagger of neon - lights
the inebriated glare.

Trial is so
unless you have stars
in your pocket,
this city
wouldn’t peek at you;
Look even the statues
at the street corners
point their reproving fingers
to shoo you away.

Translated by D. Keshava Rao
The Dying Letter
Patchquilt
The House
Our Village - Epic
The Mountains of Manipur
The Mountain
Safety Pin
Water Song- Chapter I
Water Song – 2
Water Song – 3
Water Song – 4

The Dying Letter

N Gopi

What’s there in the telephone
Expect the silence of the heart!
The letter is like
A decaying palm leaf
That excites insatiable thirst for reading;
Like the Kohinoor diamond
Treasured at the bottom of a trunk
It is an evergreen radiant dream,
One gets a post card
After walking nearly a mile
To the post office.
Letters are not scattered
Far and wide as in a sprawling field;
Within the limited space characters
Turn into jowar seeds
Fingers used to shine with the glow of dreams.
There is no one as handsome
On this earth as the postman.
Dear, who broke this pearly bridge
That made you and me stand on the line of excitement?
Mother’s oxygen is letter
Rather than money order.
The clouds, the stars and the moon
Together with the sky
Form a beautiful letter.
What happened to us?
Have our empty minds
Turned bankrupt of ideas?
His childhood withered
With the triumphs of life?
The ink may be washed off
But the letters written
With pens dipped in the lake of blood
Will remain imperishable.
The pigeons are fleeing
From the cacophony of communication
Stop them, please.
Don’t finish off with one “Hullo”
The lovely volume of life.

Translated by J. Bhagyalakshmi
The City Without Stars
Patchquilt
The House
Our Village - Epic
The Mountains of Manipur
The Mountain
Safety Pin
Water Song- Chapter I
Water Song – 2
Water Song – 3
Water Song – 4

Patchquilt

N Gopi

No Vimal* designs can match
our colourful quilt.
I remember vividly
my mother stitching it for ten days

With a heap of old, worn-out clothes
before her
my mother made this system of synthesis,
this patchquilt.

Past and present are fine-tuned
in her hands, as easily.

Whenever we took rest over it
we felt like sleeping in the lap of
Amma, Ammamma, Akka** all
at the same time.

Our children always fight over it.
Beds look on in humiliation
over this routine.
A hereditary feel of fondness
connecting through generations.

Whenever this quilt is torn
my wife appears with a needle and thread.
Then, she appears like
waging a war with time-deity
sporting a sword.
In summer, it is hamsatulika talpam***
In winter it is a warm bed-sheet.
For me sleep means this quilt.

In the dreams it gifted me
I smelt primitive human fragrances
I took mighty Himalayas into my embrace
I imprisoned Ganga river in the metal cruse
I swallowed the globe like a pill.

There must be children in the house
if the quilt is left hanging over the wall.
Once it gets wet
it sheds tears, drop by drop, for a few days.

We don’t notice it...
but it is a symbol of our working class culture
a flag hoisted by affection’s fine tapestry.

*A popular brand-name in designing clothes
**Elder sister
***Cosy bed

Translated by Dr. K. Damodhar Rao
The City Without Stars
The Dying Letter
The House
Our Village - Epic
The Mountains of Manipur
The Mountain
Safety Pin
Water Song- Chapter I
Water Song – 2
Water Song – 3
Water Song – 4

The House

N Gopi

When you see the house from outside
it may appear small.
When you see it from the sky
it may not even be visible.
But when you see the house from within
it appears as big as the world.
In fact the world turns into a bird
snuggling in the nest.

Now we have the calling bell.
Earlier
on hearing the footsteps at the door
noticing father’s arrival
our anticipation would be rewarded.
Could tell if mother or sister
unlatched the door
just by the force of the turn.

It’s ten years now
but Savitri’s* face in the calendar
doesn’t reflect the passage of time.
The beauty has not abated.
The cement on the steps is peeling off.
Those were the hands
that carried the weight of the heart along with the body!
When she came wearing
the Dhruva**-like anklets
they would wake us up all of a sudden.

Don’t feel like selling old papers.
They are filled with diamond and lapis lazuli memories.
Above all the love letters!
Births, deaths
consumed moments of painful illnesses,
even so rising, chivalrous,
hopeful, instructive journeys.
All right here!
Walls that have hidden in their wings
everyone all these years,
have now turned into canvases for my grandsons.
In their scribbling,
I am thrilled to see the future.

*A very well-known Telugu heroine of yesteryears.
**The pole star.

Translated by M. Sridhar & Alladi Uma
The City Without Stars
The Dying Letter
Patchquilt
Our Village - Epic
The Mountains of Manipur
The Mountain
Safety Pin
Water Song- Chapter I
Water Song – 2
Water Song – 3
Water Song – 4

Our Village - Epic

N Gopi

My poetry is certainly not greater
than my people.
My poetry lines are not so sharp
when compared to their feet.
In fact, the radiance of their faces
is not reflected fully in my expressions.
Before their troubles, tribulations,
agony-tears in their eyes
their stamina of struggle,
my poetry pales in intensity.

Our village sky, our village hill
dust-filled air, all over
are all long poems created by someone, sometime ago.
These are time-limitless, ever-lasting.
Strange thing is
A newer meaning emanates today to
yesterday reading only!
That way, our village is surely a great epic
being written each moment, fresh as ever.
My awareness is not greater than our village.
Maybe one-sided too.
Not that I haven’t experienced separation
of inexpressible beloveds
Not that the attachment of valued friends
has not remained as a portrait on heart-wall.

Some empathy, some reflection
Indefinable distress
Pathos-portraits drawn in
hunger lines
Still a smile
My poetry is not that charming
when compared to the loving ones
who offered a word of comfort.

These trees are green songs
that added sheen to my feelings
The sun-risings applied colours
to my thoughts.
Every bird has a hand
in nurturing wings to my poetry.
For digging out my enthusiasm
I salute that song
I thank that rain
for drenching my heart wet.
I may go on like this,
but my poetry is surely not greater than
my village experiences.

Translated by Dr. K. Damodhar Rao
The City Without Stars
The Dying Letter
Patchquilt
The House
The Mountains of Manipur
The Mountain
Safety Pin
Water Song- Chapter I
Water Song – 2
Water Song – 3
Water Song – 4

The Mountains of Manipur

N Gopi

The mountains of Manipur*
seem set as memorials of Kalpurush**.
From behind the hanging veils of mist
they look like preparing themselves
for some magnificent show.

All along the valley
the mountains of Manipur
in one swing of exquisite motion,
strike slow moving gentle contours
as strumming one’s heart’s strings
in an aesthetic play of Rasalila***.
Wave after wave undulating softly
they seem to scatter one silent primal music.
One mountain like a warrior
comes upon as set to halt storms.
Along that blue mountain range
a play of strange shadows!
A star-spangled mansion gem-studded
rears its head!
The lake of Loktak****
appears as formed of teardrops of mountains.
The island clusters
come to view as verdant green lamps.

If one stood with head raised to watch
each mountain above seems to have its own sky.
For the Sangai deer*****
an evening time stroll
seems to stretch out till horizon’s end.
Each tree here blows leaves
of a tribal language of distinct accent.
A rolling stone stopped in its course
appears a bomb that forgot to go off.
The structures of ancient ruins stand
as footprints left of history.
Not enough
The mountains of Manipur
strike too as tombs of folk heroes
who laid down lives for their tribe.

* Manipur is known as Switzerland of India for its beauty.’
** KalaPurush is Time personified synonymous with Lord Siva. Kala also has the meaning Yama, the God of Death.

*** The Manipur dance an aesthetically appealing dance form, Rasalia, based on Lord Krishna’s dance with gopikas.

**** Loktak is a large fresh water lake. ‘Lok’ means stream and ‘Tak’ means end, meaning a disappearing stream.

***** Sangai deer is a species of deer unique to Manipur alone.

Translated by P. Jayalakshmi
The City Without Stars
The Dying Letter
Patchquilt
The House
Our Village - Epic
The Mountain
Safety Pin
Water Song- Chapter I
Water Song – 2
Water Song – 3
Water Song – 4

The Mountain

N Gopi

The mountain is not merely a mountain.
What meets the eye is not the truth.
That’s
an extraordinary treasure trove of materials,
a museum of heaped history,
a time-chest of wonderful secrets,
a garden of unknown flowers.

Not just as it appears from afar
its shape
changes moment to moment.
It draws all routes
into itself.
We wonder
if it’s the same thing
we knew all along.
If we talk aloud
it returns our own voice to us.

The mountain is not merely a mountain.
It also beats like the heart.
Sensitivity
is its inscrutable trait.
Can’t fathom
how water is present at such a height.
So if have to understand the meaning of heights
we have to ponder deep.

Viewed from the sky
it looks like a tiny morsel of food.
It moves like the tangedu tree
that yearns for Batukammas*.

The mountain
is the backdrop of my poetry,
a musical instrument
quietly playing in my life’s journey.

* Batukammas are mounds of clay decorated with different flowers during the Batukamma festival in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. The festival celebrates life in which women worship Goddess Gowri as the Mother of Life.

Translated by M. Sridhar & Alladi Uma
The City Without Stars
The Dying Letter
Patchquilt
The House
Our Village - Epic
The Mountains of Manipur
Safety Pin
Water Song- Chapter I
Water Song – 2
Water Song – 3
Water Song – 4

Safety Pin

N Gopi

Safety pin
like a star in the sky.
Childhood that has retreated
to an unreachable distance.
Not just in childhood
one can’t do without a safety pin even now.
Poking fun at globalisation
it stands between fingers
like a shrunken doll.

The same tune from morning!
Safety pin is digging up my memories.
Safety pins that had once joined
broken slippers.
The police who had saved
time and distance.
When the buttons of the knickers fell off
the pins were ready in mother’s hands!
They appeared like star festoons
hanging from the pustela thadu *

Safety pins on bangles
would sparkle like
foams of smile sprinkled from red lips.
Like weapons against danger
they would appear on my molathadu **

All kinds of feelings
as if all the beautiful sights of the world
have taken on a tiny form!

Safety pins would appear like Gulliver’s soldiers
guarding
the youthfulness behind the blouse.
They would compete with each other
to put on the tape of the langa***.
In that tunnel that pulled the tape
it felt as if it had drowned near Char-minar
to surface at Golconda fort.

Today my grandson
hangs
ten Safety pins to one,
turning the bunch into a musical instrument.
Hanging it from the ceiling
he exhibits it like chains galore.
Extending the safety pin into a triangle,
placing it upside down,
he shouts calling it a pyramid.
As for me,
when I view it upside down
it appears like a fatigued old woman
leaning against a wall.
He pulls open the safety pin,
pokes the balloon to burst it, dham.

Those days,
we looked out
for poosalolla**** Rajamma
whose sweet music of livelihood
would be heard—
“Lubber bangles, ribbons, false hair, combs
pinnesus, moladaralu.”
Kahan gaye woh log? *****

Safety pins are dropping down like tears
from the eyes of time.
The python is swallowing
small industries.
If the safety pin gets angry
it would not but prick with its looks.
Our ancestors would say—
Must remove a thorn with a thorn.
That thorn is nothing but this safety pin.

However big the giants,
one can’t but organise revolts.
Wear the badges.
Here are the safety pins.

* A chain worn by married women.
** A thread tied around a boy’s waist
*** A full skirt worn by girls.
**** Trinket seller.
***** Where have those people gone?

Translated by M. Sridhar & Alladi Uma
The City Without Stars
The Dying Letter
Patchquilt
The House
Our Village - Epic
The Mountains of Manipur
The Mountain
Water Song- Chapter I
Water Song – 2
Water Song – 3
Water Song – 4

Water Song- Chapter I

N Gopi

1
From which primordial egg
has this water tumbled forth!
Through which unimaginable expanse
is this water's primeval journey!
From the depths of which universe
has it carried forth the primal sounds!

No sooner do we hear the word water
than we are drenched all over.
No sooner do we hear the word water than we throb.
Imbued with water we, beings
become the ever shining ones.
A lovely pearl
of three molecules
falls in the courtyard.
The endless mass of water in the palm
gushes forth in turbulent waves.

Where has it come from?
How many worlds has it traversed!
How much impenetrable darkness,
how many shining bright spheres
has it hidden in its heart!

Oh precious living cell
that comes as a guest
with this deep blue globe!

What's your identity?
You won't go back, will you?

With your touch
the earth has changed into an evergreen post-natal woman.
Every lake
that you have filled
has turned into a womb.
Which far away skies
have sent you as a gift of illumination?

Your journey
has turned into canals
streams
rivers
oceans
and has transformed the earth into a water-clothed being.

The living globe revolves
with three fourths expanse of water
and fragments of land.
Unlike flung blobs of mud
the oceans are indeed united.
Seven seas only in name,
it's one gigantic treasure trove of water,
one supreme manifestation of a sea of life.
That's why it's a water globe.

But will a man keep quiet?
Would a man who jumps in excitement
for just a bit of earth keep quiet?
He has accorded a status to the mud under his feet.

"This is earth" he has declared.
Mother water has smiled to herself.
She has said to herself,
she would take care of man's arrogance some other time.

The canals at the bottom of the valley
have jingled gleefully.
Rivers have wetted their lips
with the cups of streams.
With the flow of rivers
new routes have been formed for water.
Thousands of miles of the journey of waves
have moulded the shape of the earth.
Isn't river the visual image
of time's movement!
It has consecrated the very roots of civilization
with its wet fingers.
It has cleansed earthly truths
and held them up for display.
It has given ever so new interpretations
to the laws of nature.
Water is a culture.
Water is a work of history.
Water is the unfolding of many manifestations of life.

Translated by M. Sridhar and Alladi Uma

..................……જળગીત ....
.....................(૧)

આદિકાળના
કયા બ્રહ્મઅંડને ભેદી
દડી પડ્યું આ પાણી !
કલ્પી પણ ન શકાય એવી
કઈ વિરાટ ધારાથી એનું –
છે આ નિત્ય પ્રયાણ !
કયા અગમ ઊંડાણેથી એ
વહન કરી લાવ્યું
આ આદિમ-ધ્વનિ !

લથબથ થાય બધું યે
જળનું કાને પડતા નામ
હોઠથી સરે શબ્દ જ્યાં “વારિ”
સઘળું રણઝણ રણઝણ .
અમે બધાં પ્રાણીઓ જળમય
તેજયુક્ત થઇ જઈએ જળથી

નિત્ય-જીવનમાં
ત્રિ-પરમાણુથી નિપજેલું
મનહર મોતી
ઝરી ગયું આંગણમાં .
ઊછળતાં મોજાંઓના હિલ્લોળ મહી
આવી પડતા
આ અનંત જલરાશિ
નાનકડી હથેળિયુંમાં.

આવ્યું ક્યાંથી ?
પાર કરીને લોક કેટલા ?


કેટકેટલાં ગહન તિમિર
ને તેજપુંજના ઓઘ કેટલાં
ગોપિત રાખ્યાં
હૃદય-ગુહામાં ?
આ ગહન નીલ પૃથ્વી સંગાથે
આવ્યો અહીં મહેમાન થઈને તું
જીવ-કોષ હે અમૂલખ !
તારું નામ-ઠામ-ઠેકાણું ક્યાં છે ?
ના; ના, એમ જઈશ ના પાછો .

સ્પર્શ માત્રથી તારા
વસુધા, સદ્ય-પ્રસૂતા બની નિત્ય .
ને ભર્યાં જળાશય જે જે તેં
એ બની ગયાં ગર્ભાશય .
દૂર દૂરના કયા આસમાનોએ
અહીયાં તને મોકલ્યું
પ્રકાશના ઉપહાર સ્વરૂપે ?


તારા નિત્ય પ્રવાસે
થઈને નિર્ઝર
બની ઝરણ
નદીઓ થઈને
કે થઈને સાગર
કર્યું રૂપાંતર ધરતીનું
જળ-ચર્મ ધારીણી માતા રૂપે .

પોણી દુનિયા પર ફેલાયા
જલાવરણમાં
સકળ ભૂખંડો સાથે
ઘૂમે “જીવ-ગોળ “ આ
માટીનો કો’ પિંડ ,
સમુદ્રો બધાં ય એક જ .
નામ માત્રના સાગર ભાસે સાત
એક છે , એક જ જળનો મહાનિધિ આ
સૃષ્ટિ આખી છે વિરાટ જીવનનો અર્ણવ
તેથી તો આ પૃથ્વી છે “જળ-ગોળ “.
પણ રહેતો ક્યાં માણસ મૂંગો ?
ચપટી માટી માટે પણ ઊછળી પડનારો
માણસ ક્યારે ચૂપ રહ્યો છે ?


પગની હેઠેની માટીનો
અભિષેક કરી એ બોલ્યો :
“ આ છે ભૂ-ગોળ “
હસી પડી જલમાતા મનમાં
અને મનોમન બોલી
આ પામર માણસનું અભિમાન પણ
કદી જોઈ લેવાશે .


ખીણોના ખોળામાંથી
ઝરમરવા લાવ્યા ઝરણાં
અને ઝરણની પ્યાલી હોઠે માંડી
નદીઓ હોઠ કરે છે ભીનાં
નદીઓના પગલે પગલે
ફૂટ્યા નૂતન જળમાર્ગો
અને હજારો કોષ ચાલતી જળલહેરોએ
જુઓ , સજાવ્યો ધરતીનો આકાર
અરે !
કાળના પ્રવાહનું છે દ્રશ્ય-રૂપ
આ નદી !
બધી સભ્યતાના મૂળોને
સીંચ્યા એણે
ભીની ભીની આંગળીઓથી .
કર્યા ઉજાગર
ભૌગોલિક સત્યોને એણે
પ્રક્ષાલાનથી.
નિસર્ગના સૂત્રોને એણે
ભાષ્ય નવું આપ્યું છે .

જળ તો સંસ્કૃતિ.
કૃતિ એક ઐતિહાસિક છે જળ
જીવનના સૌ વિન્યાસોનો
જળ છે આવિષ્કાર .

Translated by Ramnik Someshwar
The City Without Stars
The Dying Letter
Patchquilt
The House
Our Village - Epic
The Mountains of Manipur
The Mountain
Safety Pin
Water Song – 2
Water Song – 3
Water Song – 4

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
The City Without Stars
The Dying Letter
Patchquilt
The House
Our Village - Epic
The Mountains of Manipur
The Mountain
Safety Pin
Water Song- Chapter I
Water Song – 3
Water Song – 4

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
The City Without Stars
The Dying Letter
Patchquilt
The House
Our Village - Epic
The Mountains of Manipur
The Mountain
Safety Pin
Water Song- Chapter I
Water Song – 2
Water Song – 4

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
The City Without Stars
The Dying Letter
Patchquilt
The House
Our Village - Epic
The Mountains of Manipur
The Mountain
Safety Pin
Water Song- Chapter I
Water Song – 2
Water Song – 3

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