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Leeladhar Jagoori

The Show is On

The contrasting world you see
is called complexity.
Adam is not with it, as
much as with his colloquy.

At the rear of the non-stop reval
clamour sounds like a chorus
but, if you listen with care
you'll hear a sinister -sounding instrument
harping upon our indigence and ignorance
---much as we harp upon our culture;
it transmutes the pleas from the outer
world into an unlikely rhapsody.

Nothing is being born and yet
you all continue harping in despite.
At such moments I feel
I too had bettre relish, colloquially,
the taste of being
by taking a header for the lower rungs;
And from the formidable upper rungs
I should much against my palate
all the confounded tastes
from versifying to vasectomy.
Whenever I sense so
there rises forthwith the tail
of a query or a cow.

After searching and shifting it were said
the problems is ill-besieged,
the party the lone point of reference
nor the people.
Therefore erasing the line
between life and personal computations
the sene has been shelved
the one about sympathy, about civility;
goes on as it ever has.

If ever the curtain goes up
I shall demonstrate my readiness;
if it never does
I shall, like many another
plead my growing incapacity
to know, to comprehend.

Translated from Hindi by Ajit Khullar


The Policeman had a dream
He was no longer a policeman
Children surrounded him for candies
And tied him up for a joke
A girl came forward and still closer
Grew into a dream woman
Yet he could not free himself
She reappeared to whisk the kids away
As if they were her own.

When he relates the dream to fellow policemen
They guess the dream children may be themselves
And the woman taking them to glory
But the man who dreamed he wasn't a policeman
Said the woman came again and clearly
Was his own wife, the children his too
So am I the father of you men ?
The policemen all roared with laughter.

In a nearby cafe I sat sipping tea
When a frightened hotel boy blurted out
Hear what happened at the police station
the police are roaring with laughter
The police are laughing at a policeman
And the boy dropped dead
The shot came from a tea-sipping
Snack-eating man in my cafe
How dare you tell the secret !
Now I wonder whether it's morning yet
And I out of reach of the dream
Debate whether to tell someone
or keep my dream secret.

Translated by Kusum Shukla and John O. Perry

The Scene

A man
took away my word from me,
after having felt me all over. My word
must still be warm in his mouth.

This happened as the cat
Was walking down the parapet,
Covered with glass shards,
Holding a mouse between her jaws.

In the bush the cat
Let go of the mouse.
And soft
And pulsating, the mouse form
Walked a few paces
And then broke into a run.

And as soon as it ran, the cat
And carried the mouse
Into another bush.

Above the bush, the birds
Kept up their flappings and screechings
The mouse had already lost
Ground as big as the mouse.

Under the cat lay squeezed
Ground as big as the cat,
But her shadow was larger
And lay sprawled like a tiger's.

Once again I see the man coming towards me
And again he is eyeing me like another word.

Translated by Mrinal Pande



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