Categories
Poetry

Motorcar by Jibonananda Das

A translation of Jibonananda Das’s “OOnishsho Choutrish” (1934) by Rakibul Hasan Khan

Jibananda Das: Courtesy: Creative Commons

Jibonanada Das (1899-1954) was a writer from Bengal, who now is named as one of the greats after Tagore and Nazrul. During his life he wrote beautiful poetry, novels, essays and more. He believed: “Poetry and life are two different outpouring of the same thing; life as we usually conceive it contains what we normally accept as reality, but the spectacle of this incoherent and disorderly life can satisfy neither the poet’s talent nor the reader’s imagination … poetry does not contain a complete reconstruction of what we call reality; we have entered a new world.”

Motorcar

A motorcar
Fills the mind with misgivings.
A motorcar is always a thing of darkness,
Though its name is the first
Among the children of light
In the bright streets of daylight
And glowing gas lamps at night.


It's a creature of the dark:
In clear dawn light
While walking past green corn fields
I look at a motorcar in amazement
And see a 1934 model --
Glimmering, causing a dust storm,
Rushing on a red brick-built road
Going underneath two hijal trees;
Streets, fields and dew disappear.
The morning light suddenly vanishes,
Like a shy bride
Faced with a contrary view,
The field and river, as if, lifeless,
Suddenly lose poise.
This motorcar is a trailblazer,
It's rushing in the direction
Where everyone is supposed to be going;
The course of a motorcar
Fills the mind with misgivings,
Just like darkness.
In the stands

Beside footpaths
On the East and West sides of the city's main field
Are motorcars;
Soundless.
Heads covered,
Seats decorated and cavernous
Steering wheels and headlights polished;
Why are they so still?
A tree of a Kolkata park is still as well
But for other reasons;
I too am still but for another reason;
The stillness of a motor is for some dark reason

 
It is a dark thing:
In night's darkness, thousands of cars
Dash past
Paris-New York-London-Berlin
Vienna-Kolkata
On this and that shore of the sea
Like myriads of wires,
Like meteors of night,
Like endless enigmas
And with the endless resolve of men and women
They also run
But where they head to I don't know.

 
The destination of a motorcar – a motorcar itself
Has always been a mystery to me,
It seems to move towards some darkness.


I don't want to go anywhere so fast;
I have the leisure to walk to wherever I want,
The leisure to wait and lounge for a long time after reaching my destination.
Let other people be excited
About all kinds of amazing feats – I don't feel the need for them!  
I am a hopelessly outdated man
In this new century
Underneath the stars!

Rakibul Hasan Khan is an academic, poet, and translator. He is currently pursuing his PhD in English at the University of Otago, New Zealand. This translation was first published in Daily Star, Bangladesh.

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Categories
Poetry

Sorrows Left Alone

Written in Korean & translated by Ihlwha Choi

Sorrows Left Alone

When we apologise even to the flower,
the wind is sweet and the sunshine bright.
When we settle their misunderstandings,
a mound is tranquil and the birds' songs are friendly.

If birds stop singing and flowers fall blankly,
time will rattle like a wagon rolling over gravel.

We must not trust commonplace sorrow
only to heavens.

If humans do not come forward,
the world will be overthrown by the sea of tears
as only sorrows will retain their hold.

Ihlwha Choi is a South Korean poet. He has published multiple poetry collections, such as Until the Time, When Our Love will Flourish, The Color of Time, His Song and The Last Rehearsal.

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Categories
Poetry

The Mysteries of the Universe by Akbar Barakzai

Balochi Poetry by Akabar Barakzai, translated by Fazal Baloch

Mysteries of the Universe

I wonder if mountains smile
If the wind gets hungry
If clouds too have a mind
I wonder if ants wash themselves
If flowers have any sight
If colours breathe

I wonder if the sun also feels thirsty
If the moon stretches out for a yawn
If fire ever becomes pregnant 
If water dreams any dream

I wonder if stones, pebbles and gravels
Pass through childhood, youth and old age?
I wonder if beads and pearls are passionate for one another
If fish and birds compose songs
I wonder if there exist such walls
Which have no ears at all
If dead can also see us from their grave
If they laugh at us
If days and nights have tongues
If they mourn for others
I wonder if clouds too burst forth in the heavens
If flowers and trees also tie the knot
If river, lake and sea feel grief and pain
If stars and Pleiades have heart, eyes and ears
I wonder if Mars and Venus know of friendship and poetry
I wonder if the earth has ever fallen in love
If it has endured any pain and anguish
I wonder if anyone can unravel the enigmas
Embedded in Akbar's verse
The mysteries of the universe

Akbar Barakzai was born in Shikarpur, Sindh in 1938. He is ranked amongst the proponents of modern Balochi literature. His poetry reflects the objective realities of life. Love for motherland, peace and prosperity and dignity of a man are the recurrent themes of his poetry. His love for human dignity transcends all geographical and cultural frontiers. Barakzai is not a prolific poet. In a literary career which spans over half a century, Barakzai has brought out just two anthologies of poetry, Who can Kill the Sun and The Lamps of Heads, but his poetry has depth and reaches out to human hearts with its profundity. Last year, Barakzai rejected the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) award, quoting  the oppressive policies meted out to his region by the government as the reason.

Fazal Baloch is a Balochi writer and translator. He has translated many Balochi poems and short stories into English. His translations have been featured in Pakistani Literature published by Pakistan Academy of Letters and in the form of books and anthologies. Fazal Baloch has the translation rights to Barakzai’s works and is in the process of bringing them out as a book.

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Categories
Poetry

Unasked-For

By Tony Brewer

Unasked-for


I love your tiger
I hate your king
I have too many unpopular things
You looked really cute in your floppy hat
You have something in your teeth
Most movies bungle act 3
I will tolerate lima beans
I often lose track of days
Happy people here look like ads
No, thanks anyway

Tony Brewer is a poet, live sound effects artist, and event producer. His most recent book is The History of Projectiles. More at tonybrewer71.blogspot.com.

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Categories
Poetry

Longing

By Pramod Rastogi

Courtesy: Creative Commons
Longing

As flowers are to a plant, 
So is longing to my life.
While a flower offers fragrance, 
Melancholic is the poetry I offer.
While a bouquet offers exuberance,  
My poetry has only tears to offer. 

The spring brings a ray of hope
And the buds spring out in plants.
The spring pricks me like thorns, 
So scarred at present is my heart
By the burden of longings
That nest in its core.

Flowers sway in the breeze, 
Singing joyous songs of bliss,  
With each petal joining the choir.
My longings play the violin
And its eloquence stirs in me 
The quivering lips of my love.   

The clouds have covered the sky. 
The sunflowers long for the sun 
With their joy mellowed down a shade.
Dense clouds of loneliness have
Long since wandered over my life
As I long to kiss those lucid eyes. 

I have seen flowers wither,
Longing for rain to fall,
But who knows how much I long 
For the time to rewind to my youth,
To see me surrender to her embrace 
As I pin a flower on her braids? 

Pramod Rastogi is an Emeritus Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland. He is a Member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences. He is the 2014 recipient of the SPIE Dennis Gabor Award. He is currently a guest Professor at the IIT Gandhinagar, India.

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Categories
Poetry

Home Schooled

By Baisali Chatterjee Dutt

Home Schooled

I eat a new word
everyday
for breakfast. 

You butter the newspaper
and down it with a cup of sugarless tea
leaving behind crumbs on the chair. 
After you leave,
I regurgitate my newly acquired set of letters,
spit them out,
and let them bounce off the walls. 
Some settle on my broom-wielding hand
like henna
so I softly trace their beauty
like a baby’s sleeping face. 
I revel in their temporary freedom
and pound the floor
with my bare fists
and elegies. 

When you’re back,
I swallow them whole,
caging them as before,
allowing you to believe that 
Yes,
Right away
and Thank you
are the sum total of my vocabulary. 

Baisali Chatterjee Dutt is a domesticated nomad who writes, edits, dabbles in theatre and teaches. Her poetry has been published in various anthologies and magazines, print as well as online.

Categories
Poetry

Quest to Relive

Poems by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

Off the I:10

Off the I-10 I am guided
by memory in my quest
to relive the past. The
ghost of my father’s shop
remains. The name has
changed. I hear the sound
of sewing machines, of
scissors cutting fabric, and
the hammer and staple gun
of the carpenter. In his 70’s
in the 80’s, I am certain he
is dead and buried like my
father. The past has come
and gone and all I have is
a memory of ancient days.
It is getting too late to stay
around. It makes me sad
being in these streets.
I drive back to the house
that my father and mother
bought, where I feel the
sadness come and go as
well until I drift off to sleep.


Waiting Around

Waiting around
like always,
the story of
my life: whether
it is for food,
love, or a
better job,
the wait is
always a part
of it. It is the hardest
part if you
listen to Tom
Petty.  Sometimes
It is worth it
and sometimes
it is not. It is
best to walk
away sometimes
and leave
the waiting for
someone else.


The Last Cold

Here it is, the last cold
of all the colds I have
had in the whole of this
life. Soon I will have a
last sneeze once and for all.
I might not blow my nose.
My head will ache worse than
ever and this so-called
condition will be an
afterthought. This poet
has seen much better days.

This is the last goodbye.
I cannot face the sun
lying on this bed. I
will turn all the lights down.

Here it is, the last cold.
It is a physical
thing. Keep the aspirin.

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal is a Mexican-born author, who resides in California and works in the mental health field in Los Angeles. His poems have appeared in Blue Collar Review, Kendra Steiner Editions, and Unlikely Stories.

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Categories
Poetry

Euphoria in a Tea Garden

By Rupali Gupta Mukherjee

Euphoria


Stealthily, I crept up to the tall tree-top,
And, sat reclined in the cozy loft.
Tuning pages of legacy, ‘The Saga of Indian Tea’,
My mind diverted by the tweet of myriad birds.
I glanced from the heavenly machaan
Acres of undulating tea bushes lay onward.
A goblet of sizzling first-flush from the emerald lawn,
I sat snug on the tree-house, gazing at the divine dawn.

Horizon dipped in lavender splash,
Dam-Dim Estate draped in awe-struck flash.
Chic Swiss country-house veiled in misty streak
Orange coppice, crimson orchid fringes the nearby creek,
Ethnic cuisine, colonial suites, carpeted jade tea-brushwood
Sinuous rivulet Chel brimming in classical rosewood.

As I stood by the brook, to have a lucid look
I heard a placid din. Was it the trumpet of the wild?
Beyond Chel, I stood beguiled.
Their trumpets ricochetted with the adjacent mountain range.
Hiking downhill, I felt blessed, wasn’t nature’s obscurity strange?

Rupali Gupta Mukherjee has a passion for reading, writing and reciting poetry.   She is a nature enthusiast, loves to travel and has a zeal for photography.

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Categories
Poetry

Drunken Cockroach in my Wine Glass

By Saranyan Bv

Drunken cockroach in my wine glass

Dear Panchami,
Today I woke with a new angle to look at the way
The world revolves.
Panchami, don’t get hassled about my drinking,
Things could have been worse like for the cockroach
I met this morning
After I got off the bed.
By the way Panchami, how are you?
How sound was your sleep? Let me know.
The lone cockroach, Americana Periplaneta,
Suffering loneliness like I do
Had fallen last night
In my empty cup of wine.
Oh Panchami, my soul,
As you always complain
I had forgotten to clear the table.
There was this residue of that purple vintage
That stayed in the cup through the warm night,
Upon which, the roach floated
On its dorsal, looking up,
Beating its six legs, two antennas
Like old women in old days
When someone old died.
Dear Panchami,
I didn’t want to play God,
Didn’t upturn the fellow, I let him remain
In that unfussy state of combat with air.
Panchami, my soul which stands apart,
I didn’t want to play the devil either,
Didn’t want to reclaim him
From his stuporous state of inebriation
Where the universe seems faultless.
Dear Panchami,
After all he chose to drink,
Partake a sip of the Bacchus without encroaching into mine.
What if I didn’t clear the table
Put away the empty glass, wash, dry
And stack it where you always did.
Dear Panchami,
We are not here in this infinitesimal life
To play God or Devil, judge and judge not.
I am sure you are angry, but please.….
I don’t even ask your forgiveness
Dear Panchami.
For I don’t want to let you suffer the burden of
Judging and being entangled 
In matters of judgement knots.
Roaches are survivors Panchami! So am I.

Saranyan BV is poet and short-story writer, now based out of Bangalore. He came into the realm of literature by mistake, but he loves being there. His works have been published in many Indian and Asian journals. He loves the works of Raymond Carver.

Categories
Poetry

Wake

By A Jessie Michael

I awake to a wake,
(my very own it seems)
Of people familiar and not,
Unaware that I am awake at my wake.

What have I left 
in the wake of my awake life-
A speed boat existence
Swirling a lengthy, frothy wake?

How many were drenched by
The spray of my life’s wake?
I never turned to see
Too busy awake to the things before me

Now they reminisce, drink, smoke and snack
To keep awake at my wake.
“Go home. Sleep!” I say
But to them I’m not awake.

They keep awake at my wake
To celebrate me dead.
Where were they
When I was truly awake?

“O we were there,” they chatter.
“We were drenched by the wake
Of your speedboat existence.
Were you truly ever awake?”

A. Jessie Michael is a retired Associate Professor of English from Malaysia. She has written short stories for online journals, local magazines and newspapers. She has published an anthology of short stories Snapshots, with two other writers and most recently her own anthology The Madman and Other Stories (2016).

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