Varnamala : Contemporary Oriya Poetry




It's true—and not a rumour— 
that sometimes, after moonrise,  
the night is as bright as the day.  

The moon, too, as much as the sun,  
throws out shadows.  

It's true—and no rumour—  
that sometimes dead men and women smile.  
I have myself seen a young woman called Priyamvada  
smiling after she hanged herself  
on a full-moon night.  
When they laid her on the hearse  
she blew away, with a gust of her smile,  
the face of the lover who should have come.  
I had never seen a smile  
so beautiful and so full of life  
on her lips, in her eyes and, above all,  
on her face  
as long as she had lived.  

It's true—and no rumour—
that sometimes darkness spreads like a fog.  
Look at the child,sleeping quietly in the cradle.  
He had raised quite a clamour  
in his mother's lap just a moment ago.  
Memories from some earlier life  
come down in dreams  
and settle on the face  
that now looks like the inside of an ancient temple--  
dark, except for the tentative glow  
of an earthen lamp.  

Practically everyone can  
swim his way through a pool.  
Crossing the wind's rough sea  
is a far more difficult enterprise.  

Not many can continue to be themselves  
once they are face to face  
with memory gushing down like a river in spate,  
or arriving in inconsolable blasts  
of a restless storm.  

I shall continue to be myself.  
I am no fool, and shall never believe  
in rumours according to which  
thinking about one who has gone away  
always makes one very,very sad.  

Translation :
 Ramakanta  Rath 

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