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Pratibha Satpathy

So Now You Have A Place In History

You had sought a place in history.
Well, you will now exist
in history and nowhere else.
It probably did not occur to you
that once you entered history there was no exit,
you would forever remain
far away from my embrace.
I had always wanted
that you did not turn into history,
that you stayed beside me,
that your eyes accompanied me like stars,
that your midnight whisper caressed me
like a tender word of solace,
that your love played about like a breeze
in my body's universe
spread out like a peacock's feathers.
I had never wanted
my secret life to turn into history.

I have seen history's rock-like silence.
I comprehend
the sadness in time's eyes.
I therefore know there is no way out for you
in history's pages,
there are no steps you can climb
in the dark region of time
you inhabit.

The road will always be without traffic.
Blasts of cold wind will never cease.
There will be darkness everywhere.
God knows how many times you will be dismantled
and reassembled by the useless magic of my thought.

History is an emperor.
It does not know common folk like you and me.
Senseless with the pride of its eternal life,
it tramples upon the soul's longings
uttered in a language without words.

Translated by Ramakanta Rath

God Dares Not

In the south
Of the vast continent
The woman just turned
sixty light-years
Is searching frantically
At the cross-roads.
In the market of sparkling rubies
To which people
Ready to fragment,
Barter and eat up the earth
Divert their steps;
Where lakhs of merchants
Come and go every day;
There the woman
Is searching
Trying to find her way
To the place
Where there is a house
That is her own.
Where a few cubits away
The infinite blue of the sky
Is scattered on the sea,
Where life groans in agony
On a creeper of corals
There she will imbibe
The grief and happiness of the world
In her body and then return.
She probes with her breath
Every moment to find out
Where her home is;
Where the abode of truth is.
Whoever she may be
A mad woman or a slut
Or the goddess of fulfillment
God himself dares not
Stand by her side
And show her the way.

Translated by Chandramoni Narayanaswamy

Nothing Could Be Said

Like a pair of talking mynahs
Were her eyes
Glistening with tears,
I could not tell her anything…….

Not with tears only
Not with distraction
Or the agony of love
Not even withdrawal from all
Or only terror
Much anguish, many sufferings
Have to be endured all alone
By falling in love
Setting the mind on fire

Does love mean fire?
I had no reply to that
Myriad poets in the myriad languages
Of this ancient earth
Have used up all the ink in the world
Rolling out lines and lines
Capturing only fractions of love
And protecting themselves
Have falsely stated
That love is eternal
Beyond life and death.
I could not say even this
To that lovely woman.

Why did God chose her eyes
that those two would swim the ocean
And measure the great void.
Those could have warded it off
If they had a little cleverness
A little common sense.

Because these were lacking
She reaped only the pain of love
Like a tender creeper is love
Its support is shaky.

The cutting edge of the saw
That is the path of love
so say poets,
Even that metaphor
Is inadequate for such agony.

Translated by Chandramoni Narayanaswamy


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