a grief outcast

 20070824510009102

 

 

 

I know you’re searching for hundreds of reasons

to justify all these killings—whatever.

You know, I’m simply looking for those lives

that are lost forever.

 

Have you ever let even a small blade

you chanced upon

go unused?

I’m confident of the spoils you collected

during your battles.

 

But hereafter this story

will be written by the severed thumb

of Ekalavya.[1]

 

And the justifications

that you weave

may be true for you,

but for me they’re lies

loftier than the Himalayas.

 

Now I search for the cries

that were buried under the weight of the Vedas.

I need to trace out

the black bodies crushed under your iron feet

so that all the mornings now be brightened

with a black slogan.

 

Who cares who am I?

When you never hear the thump of my heart

but always notice the color of my skin?

 

Who cares what my body is?

When it’s meant to stoop down,

to honor you!

 

Who cares where I live?

When I am always cast away from the village,

destined to nestle in pitch darkness.

 

All these lush fields now wear greenery,

borrowing my tears

and nothing remains for me.

I have lost all my breath, forever. 

 

Who cares how the sun rises here,

when the sunshine, damp with my sweat,

is meant to bloom a rainbow for you only?

 

Whoever would be me?

When my body is meant only

to be shattered to pieces

and burnt to ash?

 

Who cares who am I?

When my body is only to be destroyed

and thrown into the gutters!

 

You cut my breath as rudely, as simply

as you cut my harvest every year.

 

Don’t say anymore.

Your eyes are red with my blood.

Don’t pat my back

with a dagger that cuts my throat. 

 

My dear poet!

I know this delicate midnight breeze

keeps you occupied.

How long this slavery to white poems?

 

Poet,

now I’m terrified of white flowers.

In a world where my every step

touches upon a bloodied corpse,

I fear green fields.

Pure blue skies

unnerve me.

 

I’m sorry, my lord

 

My poem is not your slave

it’s a sickle with its head to the sky.

 

My poem is not a damsel timid in your moonlight

it’s a tiger prowling in a shadowed forest.

 

To say a final word,

My poem won’t be your grand Constitution

devoted to your happiness

at all costs.

 

*

 



[1] A lower-caste character from the great Indian epic Mahabharata. Ekalavaya wants to be the disciple of the great archer Drona who refuses him as a student because of his low caste. Drona promises Arjuna that he will make him the greatest archer on the earth, but Ekalavya surpasses Arjuna, while using a clay image of Drona as his teacher. Arjuna becomes jealous of Ekalavya. To appease Arjuna, Drona goes to Ekalavya and asks him for a gift–as compensation for his teaching, Drona asks for Ekalavya’s thumb. A sincere disciple, Ekalavya cuts off his thumb and presents it to Drona.

 Tr: Jessica Athens and Afsar

Published in: on ఫిబ్రవరి 19, 2009 at 5:52 సా.  3 వ్యాఖ్యలు  

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3 వ్యాఖ్యలువ్యాఖ్యానించండి

  1. very nice. But in the lines -“who cares how the sun rises here, when the sunshine…”.Don’t you think it should be “…the sun shines…” Anyway, as far as poetry is concerned grammar can be ignored. once again i would like to say that your intense feelings can be read between the lines. good.

  2. yes; “intense” for sure.

    ofcourse, the ekalavya story is not exactly the way how you use it; but many have used it in the same fashion and thus surely it has got an acceptance in the poetic form;so i accept that – for adding fuel to the same “intense feeling” in me to fight against the oppressor.

    Unless you have already chosen to fight for a certain section idnetified by the use of “Ekalavya”, this poem has got all the universalised grief of an outcast.

    The outcasts have always been there as were the oppressors ; I see new forms of oppression which most poets have not yet seen perhaps – but this time the new class of outcasts do not necessarily be the same class as of the past;this class will comprise a whole set comrising of all the classes you have known so far.I stand for him – the outcast.

    Can you see who the outcast has been! See him,and i am sure you will find more intesity than you have seen for yourself in your own poem.

    I have seen him at every point of space,every moment of time and every thought of mind.Needless to say,the oppressor has also been sighted simultaneously.And i have stood and will stand with the outcast against the oppressor.Thats my choice ; my freedom;

  3. Afsar, Poem is good. But, wouldn’t it have been useful if you gave the orignal poem along with the translation?


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