Sunday, January 02, 2011

dheere dheere aati hai bas maut

Excited about discovering another Hindi poet I like and once again feeling absolutely compelled to share his work with those of you who don’t have access to the language.

So here’s my very crude, hurried translation of Sarveshwardayal Saxena’s ‘Dheere-Dheere’, from the collection Garm Hawayein.


Like an empty glass
near full bottles
I have been left here.

Slowly the dark
will come staggering up
and will sit down beside me.
It will not say anything
It will fill me, over and over
and then empty me,
fill me-empty me,
and in the end
like an empty glass
near empty bottles
leave me.

You don’t know death
be it man’s or
a nation’s
be it time’s or
a form.

Everything happens slowly
Slowly bottles are opened,
the glass is filled
Yes, slowly
the soul empties
man dies.

What shall I do with the nation
that slowly staggered up
and has sat down next to me?

You don’t know death
Slowly everything is sucked into
the belly of dark,
then nothing is past
Nothing remains to pass
Like an empty glass
near empty bottles everything lies –
nation near flag
man near name
time near love
form near price,
It all lies
like an empty glass
near empty bottles.

‘Slowly’ –
I hate
this word.
Slowly the weevil grows
Wheat dies,
Slowly termites eat everything
Courage runs scared.
Slowly faith is lost
Resolve goes to bed.

What shall I do with a nation
that is slowly
slowly emptying
Like an empty glass near full bottles
It lies there.

Now I don’t want to know god
Now I don’t want heaven
Now I want nothing
Not hate, not love.

Nothing happens slowly
Only death,
Nothing comes slowly,
Only death,
Nothing is won slowly,
Only death,
Death –
Like an empty glass
near empty bottles.

The drum beat is fading
slowly the procession of revolution
is turning into a funeral procession.
The smell of rot is spreading –
on the map of the nation
and in the eyes of love
borders are fading
and like rats, we are watching.
- Sarveshwardayal Saxena.


Anonymous said...

omg.. thats awesome! thank you

Rajarshi said...

Hello Annie,

Can you please post the original poem as well (preferably in Devnagiri script), for those readers who have access to the language? :) I did a quick google but couldn't find it.


Rajarshi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
annie said...

Sorry, but don't really have the time to transcribe the devnagri and put up the whole text at the moment. However, if you like, pick up a copy of Garm Hawayein. I bought mine from the bookstore at Prithvi in Mumbai. But it should easily be available at any Hindi bookstore.

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