Kavitayan I Indian Poetry I Amrita Pritam
Kavitayan
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Amrita Pritam


The Virgin

When I moved into your bed
I was not alone--- there were
two of us
A married woman and a virgin
To sleep with you
I had to offer the virgin in
me
I did so
This slaughter is permissible
in law
Not the indignity of it
And I bore the onslaught of
the insult
The next morning
I looked at my blood stained
hands
I washed my hands
But the moment I stood
before the mirror
I found her standing there
The one whom I thought I
had slaughtered last night
Oh God!
Was it too dark in your bed
I had to kill one and I killed
the other ?

Translated by Kartar Singh Duggal


The First Creation

I was a formless I

The I by its perception transformed itself into the waters,
And you by your perception erupted into a flame of fire
And the flare of the fire floated over the waters,
But thatís the tale of prehistoric times.

That was the thirst of the earthly I,
I slaked my thirst from the river that was you,
That was the vivid dream of an earthly I,
That discovered you among the tangled woods,
It was the fragrance of our bodies, yours and mine,
And that is the truth about creation.

The creation of the universe came much later.

Translated by Pritish Nandi


The First Book

I was there Ė And perhaps you as well,
Standing perhaps a breath away,
Perhaps perched in the darkness of a vision,
Perhaps moving on a turning point of consciousness,
But that was a tale of prehistoric times.

That was our existence, yours and mine,
Which became the first language of the world.
Words were coined to identify me,
Words were coined to identify you,
And they wrote in that first language, their first book.

That was our tryst, yours and mine,
We slept on a bed of stones,
And our eyes, lips and finger tips,
Became the words of your body and mine.
They then made translations of this first book.

The Rig Veda was compiled much later.

Translated by Pritish Nandi


The First Religion

When I draped myself with your being
Our bodies were turned within in meditation.
Then our limbs entwined like flowers in a garland
As an offering at the altar of the soul.

You and I, incense offered at a sacrificial fire
Our names slipped our of our lips
To become a sacred hymn.
That was a sacred ceremony for you and me.

Religious rituals came much later.

Translated by Pritish Nandi


The First Painting

There was I Ė And perhaps you as well.

I, a shade amongst other wandering shades,
And perhaps you another pale shadow
Bits of shadows midst the pervading darkness
But thatís a tale of prehistoric times.

Darkness of nights and of groves there was,
They were these garments, we wore, you and I
A shaft of sunlight came in
And flashed through our bodies, yours and mine,
And spread itself on the stones it carved.
At the time it was only rounded limbs tipped with light.
Thus was the first painting of the universe made,
The leaves gave it their greens
Clouds their billowing whites, the skies their greys,
Flowers their reds, yellows, and crimsons.

The art of painting came much later.

Translated by Pritish Nandi


The First Melody

There was I and probably you as well
And an infinite silent stillness.
Brittle like a dry, parched leaf,
Gritty like sands on a seashore
But thatís a tale of prehistoric times.

At a road crossing I called out to you
And you answered my call,
And in the windsí throat there was a quiver
And particles of earth were animated
And the waters of brooks hummed in a melody
Branches of trees grew a trifle tense,
There was stirring in the leaves,
A little bud twinkled an eye,
And a bird fluffed out its feathers
That was the first song that the ears heard.

The septet of the lute came much later.

Translated by Pritish Nandi
 







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