It is not binding on us to undertake this journey
The ravished landscape, the settlements
of emaciated bodies
couldn't be the path of life, could it?
And are we to rest under this leafless tree?
Or quench a lifetime's thirst
in these dry riverbeds?
No, this ravishment would never be
our way of life.
The sun vomitting fire,
valleys gagged with the silence of ages,
the parched desert
and only our feet unshod
A road must be levelled out
smooth and metalled,
which is why I say
It is not binding on us to undertake this journey.
It's a flock of sheep which walks
along the metalled road and when time comes
returns mutely to the fold
And we understand.
Manohar Wakode's Marathi poem translated by Charudatta Bhagwat.
Source: No entry for the new sun. Translations from Modern Marathi Dalit poetry. Edited by Arjun Dangle