Varnamala : Contemporary Oriya Poetry




An image of God he carved out— so hideous!
He put into it :
the silent innocence of stars
love and dispassion
addresslessness of darkness—
All came under the spell of that dreamscape.

So much he created :
Wall of solace within the palace of blood-and-bones—
he fixed there a mirror of hope and desire
reflecting many images of dream and despair
and, in the kernel of the heart, he planted
animated suspense and betrayal.

For the brief hospitality, he bestowed a gift upon us
but it didn't suffice—
his derision was too much for our dream,
his gracefulness
couldn't satiate our empty stomachs.  

Who knows what conspiracy he begot—
gradually we lost
all our gifts and tenderness.
Like loose trousers we've worn
religion and rituals.

He created a screen of desires
and, posing as the maker-and-destroyer,
he instilled in us a faith
like the blindman's stick.
He revealed the hiatus
between waiting and completeness.

That old emaciated sculptor
vanished, with his tools, all on a sudden.
By the time we found out,
our faith had turned into a log of dead wood.

Our being became mute,
silenced by his trick.
Hunger billowed from the empty stomachs
like the poetry of a new voice—
red as blood.
And, yet, absorbed in devotion,
we grovel before him, with bent knees.

Translation :
The poet  

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