Varnamala : Contemporary Oriya Poetry




I will be here  
like the words made of bones  
like a hill of metal  
like an inscription;  
I will be here  
in every wound, every injury  
in bleedings not dried up still.  

So long as I am here  
fire will not be extinguished,  
eyelids will not droop,  
words will not be silent;  
so long as I am here  
there will be no secrets.  

I will be here  
at the end of all the evolutions.  
After all the crimes  
have been committed  
I will be here  
as witness and proof.  
Who can cover me up  
with ash or mud?  
Who can ever hide me  
in a box or in the grave?  

I will dump, in the debris behind the eyes,  
all those illusions  
daring to dazzle.  
Amid the eddies of all streams  
I will stand erect like a pole,  
hardened though,  
with tales not to be lost  
interlining my heart.  

Faces would be appearing with guises,  
hands stretching like hooks,  
the hawk will be demanding flesh,  
the god will be demanding obedience.  
Presuming me deaf  
some will be indulging in obscene talks,  
presuming me to be blind,  
some will be dancing naked before me,  
again, presuming me to be dead  
some will be taking me in a funeral march.  
I will be here.  
If someone curses me dead  
I will be getting born,  
again and again.  

I will not be burnt  
in fire, will not  
drown in water.  
I will inscribe on my chest  
all that has happened,  
is happening  
or will ever happen.  

So long as I am here  
there will be crops in the fields,  
there will be flowers in the gardens;  
so long as I am here  
there will be blood-flow  
in the veins of humans.  

I will be here,  
living, as long as  
the world is there.  

Translation :
Rabindra K Swain  


Could one confer it  
or ever can :  
the right  
to walk on earth,  
to touch the wind,  
to look at the sun  
to love the moon.  
Could one confer it, or ever can?  

But the time of my birth  
was such that all the rights  
had been looted.  
What remained was  
only a reddish body,  
only left-outs, faeces,  
vomits, sputum;  
only defeats  
accumulated over births and rebirths.  

The day I started walking  
an earthen pot was hung  
on my chest where  
I would collect my spit  
and a broom on my waist  
that would clear  
all the way my feet travelled.  

Who were you there  
watching me?  
Man or monster?  
The walls without gates  
looked like hills.  
All the valuables of the world  
were kept hidden from my eyes.  
No human being was there,  
except me.  

There was no right  
on land or water.  
It was not there in the scriptures,  
among the people or in the society.  
What was there  
was only defeat  
of the flowers of the dreams  
and heaps of corpses.  

The right  
was of touching those corpses,  
of carrying them;  
was of diving into the drain water  
till one touched the hell  
and the curse was there  
to litter, to crawl like worms.  

Where am I now :  
close by or in exile?  
in drain or with fire?  
Do you search me  
in the deepest wound  
of the earth?  
In the brute pages of history?  

Do you search me  
in some metamorphosis of humans?  
Translation :
Rabindra K Swain  

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