Marathi poetry by Sanket Mhatre

Poems by Sanket Mhatre translated by Rochelle Potkar

Sanket Mhatre
Grandma: a line from a poem

In grandma's wrinkles are embedded various footmarks of my childhood, running from cow dung-plastered courtyards of the past up until the polished verandahs of the present.

Grandma puts forth a flower of life to death, every dawn.
Sotto voce-ing slokas, she wades through the transit-vessel of instancy and gets lost every day 
into the thoroughfare of the city.

The stems of her fresh memories have cultured 
into our blood-vein civilization.

Father continues to write about the city,
about its poets,
its houses,
about the brink-of-breakage bones in his body.

My grandma however
unspeakingly, begins to expand into the city in Father's poems
or transforms into a sparrow, perched on one of his lyrical lines.
I have prudently salvaged grandma's sloughed bark.

Every day I peel off one of her wrinkles and un-crease a poem.

Today too I have done the same thing.


Now in any instance, Nature
will take control from our hands.  

At any moment will come a storm,
will come a tsunami.

Rivers will flood 
or be lambasted by earthquakes,

and fissures will form over the earth's soul and surface.

Because in Jerusalem that small boy, when hounded
with a gun's barrel between his two eyes 
a finger on the trigger, 
said just this much: “I’m going to tell God everything.”

On humanity never such devastation was spat.
That's why don't search for reasons when clocks 
freeze time. 

Soundlessly, just soundly sleep 
thinking of your body a response 
to the teeny boy's last cry.

Sanket Mhatre is a well-known bilingual poet writing in English & Marathi. He has curated Crossover Poems – a multilingual poetry recitation sessions that unifies poets from different languages on a single platform. Apart from this, Sanket Mhatre has been invited to read at Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Poets Translating Poets, Goa Arts & Literature Festival, Jaipur Literature Festival, Vagdevi Litfest and Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan. Besides curation & recitation, Sanket Mhatre has also created Kavita Café – a Youtube Channel that combines cinematic vision with visual poetry.

Rochelle Potkar is an alumna of Iowa’s International Writing Program (2015) and a Charles Wallace Writer’s fellow, University of Stirling (2017). She is the author of Four Degrees of Separation and Paper Asylum – that was shortlisted for the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2020. Her poem ‘To Daraza’ won the 2018 Norton Girault Literary Prize UK, and ‘The girl from Lal Bazaar’ was shortlisted at the Gregory O’ Donoghue International Poetry Prize, 2018. Her unpublished poetry book The Inglorious Coins of the Counting House was longlisted at the Beverly Prize Poetry Book Award, 2019, UK.  



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