Varnamala : Contemporary Oriya Poetry




Shall we, one day,  
like a pair of sparrows  
perched on a dunghill,  
flap our wings and take off to the sky  
or shall we just cruise along  
on that white canoe far, far away ?  
The vessel of course  
is without the steersman. 
Let it. Why should we fear ?  
We two are here.  

The evening we have heard of since ages  
is perhaps imminent.  
Look, the skies no more advertise  
their skill  
of getting speckled  
with a host of colours.  
Only the birds let out an occasional twitter  
lest they recede into complete muteness.  
Not a wall, not a frame is here  
where the wind could  
playfully collide and giggle.  
Not a bubble rises above the waters  
which could hold us mirrored.  
Only we two,  
only we two are here.  

Shall I forget everything  
at the advent of that evening  ?  
Shall I forget my frolicsome plays,  
my body wounded  
in such playful moments,  
the blood oozing from the body  
the tears brewing within the blood  
and the words  
sprung from within those tears ?  

Will Time too forget  
to mend the broken bangles  
and again put them where they were ?  
Can it really forget  
to retrieve the lost ring  
lodged within a fish ?  
Shall we turn into a couple of shadows  
almost devoid of existence,yet conscious ?  

Surely the silent experience  
of the evening's arrival  
will keep us entranced for sometime.  
And then ?  
Will a pall of gloom descend ?  
Or shall we be able to realise  
that the nightsky is as blue as ever  
that the sun blazes as before,  
that the murky night  
is only conditioned  
by our hallucination, our own hemisphere ?  

But these Waters !  
Deep blue, dense and fathomless  
So charming, so alluring these waters!  
Multi-hued shells, glowing pearls  
and a variety of fish and other aquatics  
have formed an unbrittle bond  
all around here;  
Can we unbind ourselves ?  
Can we ?  

As long as waters remain  
fears lurk  
thirst and avarice tempt  
with their fierce spell.  

Do not therefore go away, please  
stay on this time,  
inhere my agonies,  
my emotions, my beseechings  
and remain in these waters,  
Son of God,  
be crucified again  
not in yourself  
but within my body  
seething with passion.  

And then ?  
Shall I have to travel alone ?  
How far ?  
Far away there, I can see the horizon :  
so majestic, so marvellous.  
is that the end ?  
Is this the end ?  
What a supernal void  
pervades all around !  
Am I that void :  
motionless and limitless ?  

Translation :
Braja Kishore Das 

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