Sunday, January 09, 2011

'An open letter addressed to Spring

Because I could not resist doing this one too. Another poem from Sarveshwardayal Saxena's 'Garm Hawayein', once again hurriedly translated. This one is called 'Vasant ke naam ek khula patr'.

'An open letter addressed to Spring'

Now you must stop ambushing me.
Look carefully –
Near that row of yellow flowers
On the sprawling green grass
I have just murdered a sentiment;
It is a separate matter that
Instead of red blood spreading there is
A blue circle.

To grow sick of yourself
Is a sharp knife
I carry around in a crowd
Waiting to run into myself.

I recognise that image of myself –
I have often seen him slipping away
In the dark hiding his face,
Or with you
Chatting away, head lowered,
At the slightest sound
Disappearing into a mob of flowers
Or following some tiny bird
Into dusty desolate lanes.

I know him very well –
Wherever a deck of cards is being shuffled
He sits there, quiet,
Morning to evening
At every raid after the gamblers vanish
He gets arrested
And then gets abused
By friends for being dumb.

I know him so well –
And I know too
He has learnt all this from you.
You have ruined him by making him wander
Pointlessly in forests and along waterfalls.
By way of work
All he has ever done is dry out clothes
That you chose to colour.
I have often seen him with you
Grabbing one end of a yellow footpath
Standing in a field against a strong wind.

I know him well
Like a hot iron rod,
He has been thrust into my head and heart
I cannot rest until I am free of him.
That is why I’m saying
Now you must stop ambushing me.
He has begun to see
There is a vast world between
Stomach and bread;
He decorates everything before ripping it apart
He plays the flute before sex.

I am going to kill him –
I have seen him make statues of dry twigs
And use dry leaves to make patterns on the floor,
He extends this world to another world beyond
He knocks down mountains
To extend homes into courtyards.
He has made the world larger
And life harder,
I am counting down
To his last day.
That is why I say
Now you must stop ambushing me
I have blood on my mind
I am lying in wait for him
Tomorrow is his last weekend.

You cannot hold me back any longer
Nor can you surround me and try to explain
That the thirst for beauty and the thirst for life is the same.
You’ve been saying this to him all these days
And making hard work of an easy life.
He peers into empty wells
And throws down pebbles
As if the soul is still asleep
And can be forced awake.

Those for whom he ruins himself
They go about tomtomming
His failures;
He doesn’t have a single friend
He mimics nightingales
He wanders in deserted streets
He suffers stones and abuse from everyone.

Meaning, meaning –
In his quest to lend meaning to life
He has become worthless
Sweeping out temples
And laying mats in meeting halls
He has become unsuitable for all careers.
He lends a shoulder to every bier
He wipes everyone’s tears
And yet, is called idle.

Meaning, meaning –
There is no meaning to anything any more
Nobody wants to look for meaning
The world has lost its senses.
Those who are not sick of sorrow
Are sick of joy
Mountains are drowning in cupfuls of water.
The higher our buildings
The smaller our hearts,
Nothing is true or false.
But he is not willing to accept this
No way is he willing to change
His ways.
Before he can
Die a dog’s death in his beloved world
I am going to kill him.

Now you must stop ambushing me.
Look carefully –
On the green grass near yellow flowers
I have murdered a sentiment
That linked me to him.
I know
The death of that sentiment is my own,
But I am not going to return
To the place where his body lies,
And you too get this straight
Don’t go there to offer flowers.

- Sareshwar Dayal Saxena

Last time, many of you had requested the original poem in Hindi. Am sorry but I don't have that much time, nor am I used to handling Hindi fonts on my keyboard, so it takes quite a bit of time to type out the original text. Do go out and get a copy of his book. It is published by Vani.

And to save you from disappointment, here is another poem I really liked, for which I did find the text online.


Anonymous said...

I confess I am intrigued but cannot understand the poem. What sentiment is this that the poet wishes to kill? Why does it get caught in a gambling raid? how does it knock down mountains to extend homes into courtyards. I can totally understand that you'd hate to have to explain this, but I have no recourse but to ask

Anuvad said...

A good transltion annie.

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