Poetry by popular poet Avaya Shrestha, translated from Nepali by Haris C Adhikari

Avaya Shrestha

Doubt the beautiful 
Collages rendered by 
These various images of clouds, 
Doubt the beauty 
Of the existence of various 
Floating colours on beautiful lakes
And of the snow— like patches of clouds—
That has come to your hands. 
Doubt the sensational 
News in newspapers and TV,
The flowery, immaculate poems of poets,
The mind-blowing thoughts of intelligentsia,
And the Prime Minister’s speech 
In the name of all the citizens. 

Even the stories told 
In sweet language 
By your respected teacher,
The history written 
By great historians 
And the all-accepted values 
In the world. 
Yudhisthira’s loyalty
To truth, which is like snow 
Melting; and doubt
Arjuna’s bravery, which is like the sky
Untouched; doubt
Devavrata’s BhishmaPratigyaa*,
Duryodhana’s meanness
And the magical stories of the
Vedas and the Puranas. 
Socrates, Marx and Gandhi 
Darwin, Freud and Einstein 
Are only your co-travellers;
The Holy Bible, the Ramayana 
And the Mahabharata 
The Dhammopadesh, the Tripitak 
And the Quran 
Are not the ultimate truth;
Neither Brahma is real 
Nor false is the world; doubt
Vishnu, Maheshwor, Shree Ram, 
Christ, Kabir, Mohammed,
And even the Buddha 
Who himself speaks of doubts. 
No one is outside 
The circle of doubts 
In this yard-like 
Collective world—
Doubt !
Even this poem of mine
That creates 
The god of doubts … 
I do doubt my own conscience 
The way the soil does
Give a test every time 
To the seeds sown in its womb. 

*Bhishma Pratigya : A terrible oath taken by Devavrata (who later came to be known as Bhishma), one of the most important figures in the Mahabharata (Note:In this poem the persona doubts both the eulogized characters like Yudhisthira and Arjuna, who have been depicted as completely flawless and godlike, and the hatred-inspiring character like Duryodhana, who has been depicted only as a figure full of foolishness and demonlike character in the epic).

Avaya Shrestha (b. 1972) is a powerful poet, well known for his subversive, rebellious, anti-conformist and thought-provoking poetry. He hails from Bhaktapur district. He is also known as a short story writer and columnist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and political science from Tribhuwan Univesity. Shrestha has three books to his credit: Phul Binako Sakha and Kayakalpa (both anthologies of poetry) and Tesro Kinara (an anthology of short stores). He has received several recognitions and awards including Garima Best Prose Award (2012) , Best Creation Award in Prahari Bimonthly (2008), Nepal Academy Short (Best) Story Award (2004) and Dristi Weekly Columnist Honour (2008). He has worked as reporter and feature editor for different national dailies of Nepal. His columns Satyakura is popular among Nepali readers.

Haris C. Adhikari, a widely published poet and translator from Nepal, and an MPhil scholar in English language, teaches at Kathmandu University. He has three books poetry and literary translation to his credit. Adhikari’s creative and scholarly works have appeared in numerous national and international journals. Until 2017, he edited Misty Mountain Review, an online journal of short poetry. Currently, he co-edits Polysemy, a journal of interdisciplinary scholarship, published out of DoMIC, Kathmandu University. He can be reached at



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