Shamsher Bahadur Singh
to be the macrocosm
this lone human throb
This earthly reality
of love and man
of mountain ranges
of a continual
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,
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.
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