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Dipak Mishra


It's true—and not a rumour—
that sometimes, after moonrise,
the night is as bright as the day.

The moon, too, as much as the sun,
throws out shadows.

It's true—and no rumour—
that sometimes dead men and women smile.
I have myself seen a young woman called Priyamvada
smiling after she hanged herself
on a full-moon night.
When they laid her on the hearse
she blew away, with a gust of her smile,
the face of the lover who should have come.
I had never seen a smile
so beautiful and so full of life
on her lips, in her eyes and, above all,
on her face
as long as she had lived.

It's true—and no rumour—
that sometimes darkness spreads like a fog.
Look at the child, sleeping quietly in the cradle.
He had raised quite a clamour
in his mother's lap just a moment ago.
Memories from some earlier life
come down in dreams
and settle on the face
that now looks like the inside of an ancient temple--
dark, except for the tentative glow
of an earthen lamp.

Practically everyone can
swim his way through a pool.
Crossing the wind's rough sea
is a far more difficult enterprise.

Not many can continue to be themselves
once they are face to face
with memory gushing down like a river in spate,
or arriving in inconsolable blasts
of a restless storm.

I shall continue to be myself.
I am no fool, and shall never believe
in rumours according to which
thinking about one who has gone away
always makes one very, very sad.

Translated by Ramakanta Rath


Death is a place
secure, elegant
without exit
like a woman's embrace.

is a well-furnished
first class waiting room;
this pilgrim-body
ever eager ever waiting
so sing the basant-bahar.

Even If

Even if
the fallen leaves regain
their childhood green
even if the nude Gopis
get back their lost saris
even if Kurukshetra takes back
the armoury of the opposing armies
even if Brindavan gets back
the beloved of Radhika
and the giant monkey
vomits back the sun
tell me, Swarna Jena, tell me
shall I never get back
my luminous self
in your revolving dark clouds ?


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