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Narayan 'Shyam'

On The Sea Shore

The life is like the glistening sands
on the sea-shore
Whose ruffled furrows
every incoming wave reshapes.

So is my voice like a hollow-shell
Which resonates with every fitful gust
Rendering silence painfully tremulous.

Like the vast boundless main
is my fate
Whose horizon eye espies at a distance
Blotting out the prospect at my feet.

Translated by Tirth Basant

Skirtful of Sand

The perfect calm of the desert
unending expanses of sand
gnomes and dunes overspreading
sand over sand
sand beneath sand
desolate wilderness. Not a blade of grass visible
not a bird on the wing. But
at the dead of scorching noon
a stream takes a spectral form
meandering its way
across the desert.
A shimmering stream
its every wave aglow!
the desert starts breathing;
and behold!
A simple rustic of the desert
lifts the sand with his bare hands
and fills his skirt
as if it is a shimmering wave
that he carries home!
The sun travels west
Heat wave recedes
and the mirage disappears;
perfect calm returns to the desert.
The unending expanses of sand
take shape again;
the desolate wilderness sets in as before.


Holiday -
A longing for an outing...
Bus-stop - a long wait.
A dead body
funeral procession,
accompanied by band,
passes by.
An old man is dead, perhaps.
By my side stands a child;
his feet move with the rhythm of the band.
And others?
Their hands raise - mechanically -
and fold in obeisance.

Drone of the engine
a bus heading towards the stop.
A tumult!
Passengers - a mulfitude -
crowd the entrance.
Hustle of the agitated life;
agitated life on the run
demands its share of time -
ruthlessly -
Meaningless, aimless,
this existence is
full of struggle.
So much bustle,
so much trouble
saps the entire energy.
Who is happy?
What's that happiness?
Who can tell!

While in the bus,
I once again
see the funeral procession

on its onward march.
Someone heaved a lingering sigh
and murmured,
'To heaven he may go not,
what a salvation
from this wretched existence.'


I don't command...

I don't command much respect, maybe;
Yet it's much beyond you to comprehend.

You think reason is a gift bestowed by knowledge;
But you never reason out how long life is.

For long I was thinking standing beneath the tree,
Leaf is green, how could it loosen itself free.

I can't carry even my own burden,
And you insist I carry your burden too.

Compose some poems, please do, but think never so deep
That the expanding world reduced to a point be.

There are those...

There are those, outside, who torture me,
But how about the one who inspires awe in me?

Ah! The city is sleeping a sleep of the dead,
But there they are, tolling bells at the temple-head.

Oh! Singer, I don't behold in your picture
Images of your lilting voice of rapture.

Moments of the night had themselves to obliterate
To transform long evening into infinitesimal morning.

Those who keep changing their attire,
Why is it they look stark naked?
And those who lost their past, are still immersed in thought,
It shouldn't have happened the way it did.


1. The thud on the floor echoed;
The Lizard fell from the ceiling,
The heart missed a beat.

2. Sky overcrowded with stars;
Newly wedded brides and concubines
Enjoy in the same night.

3. Far away from the horizon
As if my goal is,
A poet's fancy.

4. See the dexterity of birds,
While flying how they cast
Shadows over each other.

Translated by Param Abichandani


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