Wednesday, August 24, 2016

by the river shabari

by the river shabari
i wander and i sigh
a thousand faces in the waters
a thousand in the sky

by the river shabari
sad breezes blow
sad birds sing no song
fireflies never glow

by the river shabari
guts curl in fright
cursed wizards cry all day
banshees wail all night

by the river shabari
history makes no sound
it’s just the waters flowing by,
and humans hurled hellbound

by the river shabari
silence cuts through bones
tales of life ever lost
humans turned to stones

by the river shabari
sunset rides the waves
my children there never dream
they sleep in unmarked graves

by the river shabari
i bend my knees and weep
and pray my atheist prayers to
the earth that runs so deep

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ratnakar by Saroj Dutta (Chatushkon Magazine, 1952) - a translation

bloodied feathers fall on calm river 
a sky chewed up through chest-smashing calls of parting 
Hunter – the Nishadh – 
He stands, shameless, stoic, stark in laughter,
Inebriation of non-violence in hand, red eyes,

Bandit Ratnakar awakes
sad questions in eyes, he stays awake, stunned by this sudden pain
two eyes of one swan – hurt to death 
– strewn astray by feet
Rishi, speechless in shame, Vedic mantras make no answer

Golden dreams of fortitude in eyes, 
the Hunter has won
From ashes of forgetting rises –
a past, aflame 
Vessels of blood burn in brutal wrath, 
Rishi burns in the hatred of denial

-- Today, by the rice-bereft hut, does she still stay awake?
His lover, her breasts are made of skin – does she hold a baby-skeleton to her?

In peals of laughter the Dasyu poet 
– he tears those false flags of non-anger 
Day of darkness, fulfilled, 
to end by the dimly caving shores

Monday, August 1, 2016

for the sake of

for the sake of the hills
for the sake of the valleys 
for the sake of all sadness
that weep in lonely alleys

a touch of love, a kiss for life
a book of poems to write
to wrap around and shield us in
when anger comes to smite

for the sake of rivers gushing by
for every bend they take
for every smile and every sigh
for the noose on martyr’s neck

songs to sing, fists to hoist
broken hearts to mend
countless friends sticking on
a handful dreams to defend

for the sake of slogans on parched lips
for the sake of what they mean
for every eye, though squished by pellets,
yet keep on shining keen

voyages of wisdom, voyages of love
those shores of freedom afar 
this road we make, this road we take 
unto the morning star….