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Archive for August, 2011

Lost Angels

Friday, August 19th, 2011

It's not just milk
but crores of sins are white too
only, adulterated by a few tears

Glass-eyed swans
tell me about the color of tears, not the portion of water
you're the angels
who slipped off a tipsy heaven
reveling in the waters, you must have slurped the oceans
tell me about the taste of tears
in god's deep embrace
you must have perspired a little
tell me about the scent of tears

I, like the dark cloud
could rain down a flood
on how tears feel

It's not just jasmines
hand-gloves are white too
only, stained by a little blood

Having washed your hands, emperors
before you crown me with thorns
show me a thimbleful of dark blood
you are the serpent kings of the primeval jungle
you must have bitten the dust, where man got hurt
tell me about the taste of the blood that spilled
when you caressed the warrior's back as a whip
the sandalwood trees must have swooned
tell me about the scent of blood

Having ascended the cross
like a throne, I, on the other hand
when asked about the blood
will guide your fingers through the holes in my palms

Not just the seven colors
the four varnas mixed are white too
only, darkened by a little fifthness

Raised by the crumbs of angarajya to a finer varna, O arch sudras
tell me about the color of power
from God's feet to his shoulders
you've climbed, oppressors
manu's dharma in your moneypurses
hoarded, of course,
tell me about the taste of power

In the scum-laden lake
what springs forth doesn't reflect your face
tell me about the scent of power

I, who you have never considered human
if asked about the feel of power
shall unpeel its skin, to illustrate.

My translation of Satish Chandar's Telugu poem  'Lost Angels'

Farewell to Arms

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Let us put aside the arms and convene a round table conference.
We have no nation, no identity,
We have no land to till, no house to live in.
You did not leave even a blade of grass for us since times of Aryavart.
OK, we would forget that.
Are you ready to break the walls that you constructed in the village?
We are ready to dissolve like sugar in milk.
Will you tolerate if your Draupadi selects our son Galiya as her husband?
And will your Arjun accept our daughter Raili if she comes as new Chitrangada?
Let us pull the dead cattle turn by turn, do you agree?
We are ready to eat your leftover food,
Will you eat leftover food at our marriage ceremony?
Let us remove provisions for reservation from our constitution.
Our Magan and Chhagan will compete on open merit basis,
But will you give admission to them in your convent schools?
Let us put aside arms,
and till the fertile land of our country together.
But will you give us half the share of the harvest?

G K Vankar's translation of Pravin Gadhavi's Gujarati poem Farewell to arms  from his poetry collection The Bayonet (1985).

Pravin Gadhavi, born 13 May 1951, is an IAS Officer in the Government of Gujarat. A prolific writer, his collections of poetry are The Bayonet (1985), Padchhayo (1996) and Tunir (2002). His short story collections are Pratiksha (1995), Antarvyatha (1995) and Surajpankhi. The last publication was given Govt. of Gujarat Award.

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