On a plain so vast our eyes could not reach
they would make speeches to their hearts' content
and shout out novel slogans,
blow a breath of hope on our overtired limbs.
At times, to our shanty towns they would come,
careful not to rumple their ironed clothes
crossing our lanes and alleys,
jumping across streaming gutters
when they stopped beside our doors
we felt inexplicably moved.
Viewing our pitiable state they would say
'Truly, this needs a social economic cultural change,
the whole picture needs to be changed.'
Then we would sing
in sonorous full-throated tones.
Acting innocuous, they would eat
the marrow of our bones.
Days passed by.
Darkness pressed from all sides,
We battled against sunshine and rain
And like fools awaiting salvation
we have stood our ground
and are sunk to the neck in mire.
But now they say plans are worked out
for our salvation
–covering our wasted tombs
in a new shroud
Baban Londhe's Marathi poem 'Shroud' translated by Charudatta Bhagwat. Source: No Entry For The New Sun: Translations from Modern Marathi Poetry. Edited by Arjun Dangle.