Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Desperate, a man sat down,

I didn't know him,
    I knew desperation,

so I went close to him
    and reached out my hand -

holding it, he stood up,
    he didn't know me, he knew

my reaching out the hand,
    from there, we walked together,

neither of us knew the other -
    both knew walking together.


tr. from Vinod Kumar Shukla's 'Hatasha se ek vyakti baith gaya'


Vinod Kumar Shukla






 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Miniscule minority" "Miniscule minority"

- the judges kept on barking,
clearly they've never been
on a Sunday evening to the
park above the Palika parking.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

You fear

tr. from Gorakh Pandey's 'तुम्हें डर है'

Their anger is a thousand years old,
their hate is a thousand years old,
I only give
some rhyme to their
scattered words, to their desire,
and you fear that
I'm stoking fire. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

White truth

tr. from Munawwar Rana's 'Safed Sach'

His
fingers
always tell
the truth -- he
trusts them, shows
them off, every once in
a while, as we talk, he kisses
them lightly, one day, not knowing
better, he kept his fingers on my lips,
now they've started lying ever so slightly.


[After Munawwar Rana's return of the Sahitya Akademi award, Oct '15]

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Language of Forgetting

tr. from Rajesh Joshi's 'भूलने की भाषा'

A river brushed against me
in the language of water,

and suddenly, in the language
of flight, the birds
moved below the clouds,

on trees written in a hieroglyphic script,
leaves stirred together, and in their movement
was the language of rustling -

it felt as if you are somewhere close,
drawing near in the language of the body

and whispering a language of forgetting
to those you could not.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

I want to believe

tr. from Ashok Vajpeyi's 'विश्वास करना चाहता हूँ'

I want to believe that
after my defeat in love
when I mourn in the utter loneliness of a poem,
then, somewhere at least a leaf will tremble for me,
that somewhere a bird will resent that her world is, despite everything, so green,
that, for a moment, a planet will slow down somewhere in the universe
and in some invisible vein of the earth, the lava will cool a little,
that the ancestors spread over centuries will try an' give solace to each other,
and the tears of gods will fall in untimely rain;
that I will cry
and through the whole universe
will run a cry of sorrow,
I want to believe that in my defeat, and in my grief,
the world will not leave me alone.

Grief surrounds me as if
now that is the only body I have to live in and die in
as if that is the real colour of living
which has become visible to me only just now.

I want to believe that
when I'll try and find my way through
pain's long corridors
then, the light at the end of that tunnel will be of grief,
that the window from which a hand will show me the way, will be grief's window,
and the house, whose porch I'll rest in, to gather strength to keep on going,
will be the house where grief lives.

I want to believe that
just like the other name of laughter is often kids or flowers,
just like the other name of hope is poetry,
like that, the other name of love will be grief.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

He doesn't say - Ashok Vajpeyi

tr. from Ashok Vajpeyi's 'वह नहीं कहती'

He says
he has only a little heart,
like sunrays say
they have a little light
fire says
it has a little warmth --

sunrays don't say they have the universe
fire doesn't say it has those flames
he doesn't say he has his body.


[after Ashok Vajpeyi's return of the Sahitya Akademi Award, Oct '15]

Thursday, October 8, 2015

मुझे मालूम है पिंजरे का पंछी क्यों गाता है - Maya Angelou

tr. from Maya Angelou's 'I know why the caged bird sings'

आज़ाद पंछी
  तो हवा की पीठ पर बैठ कर
नदी के संग तैरता है
  और जहाँ धारा थमती है
वहां अपने पंख हलके से
  सूरज की किरणों में डुबाता है
और सारे आसमान को अपना बताता है

लेकिन जो पंछी
  अपने पिंजरे में ही सरकता है,
वो शायद ही देख पाता हो
  अपने गुस्से की सलाखों के पार,
उसके पंख यूँ कतरे हुए हैं, पैर यूँ बंधे हुए हैं,
  पर उसकी जुबां पर गाना है तैयार    

उसका गला कंपकपाता है
  फिर भी पिंजरे का पंछी गाता है
अंजान-सी चीज़ों के बारे में  
  जिनको वो रह-रह चाहता है   
और उसकी धुन सुनने में आती है
  दूर नदी-पहाड़े में
क्यूंकि पिंजरे का पंछी गाता है
  आज़ादी के बारे में 

आज़ाद पंछी तो सोचता है
  सिर्फ हलकी हवा का, जो पेड़ों में सर-सराये
लॉन के केचुओं का, जो उसी की आस लगाएं
  और फिर सारे आसमान को अपना बताता है 

लेकिन पिंजरे का पंछी तो खड़ा है
  अपने ही सपनो की मज़ारों पर,
उसकी परछाई तक चिल्लाती है
  बुरे ख्वाबों की बहती धारों पर
उसके पंख यूँ कतरे हुए हैं, पैर यूँ बंधे हुए हैं,
  पर उसकी जुबां पर गाना है तैयार

उसका गला कंपकपाता है
  फिर भी पिंजरे का पंछी गाता है
अंजान-सी चीज़ों के बारे में  
  जिनको वो रह-रह चाहता है   
और उसकी धुन सुनने में आती है
  दूर नदी-पहाड़े में
क्यूंकि पिंजरे का पंछी गाता है
  आज़ादी के बारे में