Varnamala : Contemporary Oriya Poetry

 
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RAJENDRA KISHORE PANDA
 

THE AMBASSADOR


I have lost the accredition papers
My address is temporary
Any house I live in
is my embassy under threat

Every man looks like a wily foreigner
For each language I ask for
a translator,an interpreter
Every woman seems to be
a venom-maiden
How do I bathe,every river
vanishes at the sight of my feet
The wind wafts past me
doesn't bring
the vintage scent of a country my own

Courts, benches, fields, camps
caves and sanctums:
nowhere I meet my peer,
my samanadharma

Up there, perhaps,
the Master gets replaced

Who really recalls the terms
of the last Treaty-of-Peace
Parleying over the new draft
I'm afraid
a Great War may blast
the very next moment

I do not know the country
of which or to which
I'm the Ambassador:
an envoy-in-peril
At every stride I get
more and more exiled
And every poem:
just a fragile pact
for a transient ceasefire
with Time the Terrible

Translation:
Madhav Das


From BODHINABHA: THE SKYVISION

Smoke soars up
as water streams down
it's natural

Not that smoke really uncapped
a bottle
and leapt into the shape
of a shrieking demon
all of a sudden
it wasn't that way

Touching, patting, caressing
all-fingers
on the moving potters'-wheel
I was playing
with moist clay

To shape the globe anew
grip over the hands
is a must
fire comes next

How can art take birth
unless the hands waver?
Distortion
a cherished curse

Clay that enters a mould
and gets out of it
remains mere clay
dead though shapely
I don't need moulds

Sweat, blood, sandalwood-paste
memory, being and dreams
I blended into a dough
to keep the clay moist
braving the sun
Waiting for new distortions
of varied ilks

My hands trembled
From the whirring wheel soared
a blue ascension
a lean column of incense
in cool grace

Clay becoming smoke
who could have fancied?
Now I know
why the sky is blue
why sculpting
is so cruel

Some day
the needletip of my blue smoke
will reach up to the sun
and,  piercing it,
prick the sky to etch
a new star
a red lone star

Had the colour of the smoke
been red
had the colour of the wet clay
been red,ah,
at the beginning
of the beginning

Translation:
The Poet
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