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Shamsher Bahadur Singh


With you
    to be the macrocosm
     this throb
      this lone human throb
       of mine
         how's this!

This earthly reality
     of love and man
       of mountain ranges
         and oceans
           violent collisions

    of a continual
       cordial mergence

This moment
    of coextension
      this affinity
       of tension
         within me:
           that's you
             our Neruda

Translated by Akhilesh Sharma


Working the day break.

My mind solves the night's blue-black :
      A conchshell deep in tide pool,
      Slate smeared with wet ash;
Catches now the saffron crack :
      Streak of thick, orange chalk,
      A woman's body stirred up
      In a cold spring lake.

With one white stroke,
Sun rises, resolves the sky.

Translated by James Mauch

On the Slope of This Hill

On the rocky grassy slope of this hill, Topsy and I.
The quick breathing of the spaniel sitting alertly beside me.
A half-finished, distracted sketch;
Open in my lap, a notebook, bright white in the sun.
Standing all around me, big and small trees,
stirring, glistening,
very green.
Rainclouds --- radiant with sunshine, radiant in the blue sky,
the washed sky.
Like big and small puffs of cotton scattered everywhere.
Sometimes the resonance of a clean gentle sweet wind.
The background behind the mild, mellow whirring
and droning on the hill, in the woods,
on the slope --- a railway station.

The clanking, hissing, groaning of engines :
their long exhalations ---
when this wasn't here, there was only
the soft and sweet music of the wind.

....A low-then-loud-once-or-twice-shrill whistle.
An engine shunting----
The mixed-up whispers of the winds among themselves.
Wide-awake Topsy.
Below, in the distance,
like a huge, smoky green, shimmering garden,
with some of its countless roofs shining here
and there, the city of Jabalpur.

Its green lawns, and in scattered places, its green compounds.
And below us, close at hand, the red-and-black stony mounds
of dug-up earth.
....A noise --- what bird was that ?
Again ? again ?

That glass-house nearby.
Somewhere also something like a children's quarrel.
Little groups of women-workers carrying loads of red mud
on their heads.

The breathing of an engine letting off its steam
as it draws closer slowly---
Then quickly; the exhalations dying down one by one : but no ---
suddenly, a long whistle.
The sharp slanting slope of sunshine.

Translated by Vinay Dharwadker


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