Wednesday, May 29, 2013

If

If love were made of little things
it'd be so easy to give and receive,
we won't trade our lives with some
'paradise' (there'd be no such need 
to deceive). The trouble, most often,
in love is that - we ask of little things 
too much, why should little things of
little size have to stand in, it seems,
for the breathlessness of our dreams?
Why should his hand held necessarily
take us 'deep into the night'? Why
should his eyes be always lit with
some god-forsaken 'light'? Is it
not enough (it's only decent!) for
our peevish hearts to melt, seeing
that - despite everything in the
world - still our hands are held.

Monday, May 27, 2013

विएत्नाम - विस्लावा सिम्बोर्स्का

tr. from Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh's English tr. of Wislawa Szymborska's Polish poem 'Vietnam'

'तेरा नाम क्या है?' 'मुझे नहीं पता।'
'क्या उम्र है? कहाँ की है?' 'मुझे नहीं पता।'
'ज़मीन में ये बिल क्यूँ खोदा?' 'मुझे नहीं पता।'
'कितनी देर से यहाँ छुपी हुई थी?' 'मुझे नहीं पता।'
'मेरी ऊँगली क्यूँ काटी?' 'मुझे नहीं पता।'
'क्या मालूम नहीं कि तुझे चोट नहीं पहुंचाएंगे?' 'मुझे नहीं पता।'
'किसकी तरफ है?' 'मुझे नहीं पता।'
'ये जंग है, किसी को तो चुनना पड़ेगा।' 'मुझे नहीं पता।'
'तेरा गाँव अभी भी है या जल गया?' 'मुझे नहीं पता।'
'ये तेरे बच्चे हैं?' 'हाँ।'


(thanks to Eddie Bruce Jones and Ashish Kundalia)


Wislawa Szymborska

Friday, May 24, 2013

The on-site BBC reporter said:

'The prospect of an early end
to the war has receded.'

Breakthroughs are such difficult things,
made of the same stuff that kills them -
words.

As she and I spoke that evening,
birds in Montebello receded,
that must have been a sign, or not.
If yes, of what?

I hope someone had held the book
of how-to-do-it in front of me
and asked me to read it.

'There are always two ways,' Phil had said,
of saying the right thing.'
Should I have stuck to the letter?
Could I have said it better, or another day?
Is the right thing always the thing you want to say?

But as she spoke,
the world receded into the shell,
not quietly, but like flood-waters do.

Friendship, unlike love,
needs no preambles. It is a straighter thing.

Yet now, why does my heart
tremble. I had once read that a gargoyle,
also a water-spout, 'is an ornamental innovation
telling us that all is not well even in the house of God.'

That evening, we got each others' blood to boil
(at all times we could have receded)

but friendship, like love,
is also flawed, must need toil.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Evening in Tagore Park, May 2013: A Nonnet

She placed her chair so gently on the
ground, so that it doesn't make the
slightest of sound, for he read
his poem, in that voice she
loved, that moment the
sky was dim, the
light in her
eye was
him.

Friday, May 3, 2013

When

When all the gay boys get their shit
together, go to the gym and get fit
together, I sit and generally complain
about the weather and all that,
she says - That is why you're fat!
Now, now, I say, what's the hustle,
have you had a look at my arm,
lately a tendon threatens to look
like a muscle, so be calm, and by
the way, I am very good health-wise,
twice a day, I think about exercise.
 
(Thanks to Pramada Menon)