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INDIAN POETRY : some modern indian poets (part II)

Par Ananda

Anita Thampi (Malayalam)

The Symbol

The sickle


The crescent in the sky

The star


To the eyes of children

The hammer


- pained by its unromantic origins -

Started pounding

On the nail-heads

That were yet to hang


As pictures .


Burnt out

cigarette stubs

will grow back

attach themselves to the lip

And ask for fire

Fallen strands of hair

Will rewind themselves

Into oiled, shining plaits

And ask for flowers

In the night

Which seeps from the nerves

And spread out like dirt ,


Lie close to each other

Thirsting for water

In the land where fire has not been invented

In a sandscape that has never seen flowers

We will keep searching

Till dawn

For that little shard of red

For us to think -

Fire, for you

Flower, for me.

Sweeping the Front Yard…

The back aches,

as the broom sweeps

into memory, at dawn

soil-pimples sprouted,

on the front yard

of the house in slumber

eyes deep shut.

Perhaps the rain could have

eased the ground

last night.

Earthworms must have

stirred it under,

toiling ,may be sleepless, to

build tiny homes of earth.

Only to be razed,

to be spread,

in finger-streaks

the broom leaves behind.

After the sweeper girl's

morning dance,

her Bent Backstep.

The sweeping done,

dawn alights

Light falls, the eyes

of the house open

No footprint,

Not even fallen leaves,

how clean it is!

The newspaper arrives

having scoured

the depths of night, it falls

stumbling against the door.

Then she rises from clearing the shreds

So thirsty, she'd drink the coffee to its lees.

Badri Narayan (Hindi)

Mother’s lullaby

If you had been the sun

You would have shone in the sky all day long

If you had been the moon

From full moon to new moon

You would have been slaughtered by the butcher’s knife every day

If you had been a star, my love

You would have been so far away from me

Thank God you are Badri Narayan.

It happened not so long ago

It happened not so long ago

My granny narrated it to my mother

And my mother narrated it to me

There was once a town

Where a needle and a thread

Lived together for many years

But both used to quarrel with each other

The needle felt that it was better to be a thread

While the thread felt it was better to be a needle

The needle felt that a knot could be tied beautifully with a thread

The thread felt Alas, if only I could enter the cloth before the needle.

One day the needle tried to become a thread

And the thread tried to become a needle.

But people, both lost their meanings

And both became meaningless.

A Modern Folktale

The squirrel, in its calendar

Had accurately decided upon its


But in the calendar of the river

That day was not a holiday

Both stood close by

And between the two

Fluttered two calendars

Each with their own holidays


This clock is kept upon the shelf

And in harmony with the tune of this clock

Runs the world

Because it runs along with the tune of the clock

For it to overturn on its axis is strongly


To prevent the world from overturning

What can be done?

I feel that

For this it is necessary

That all the clocks of the world become inoperative

And there remains only one squirrel’s clock

Which, in the middle of the forest

Continues to tick tock


Gaya, Sarnath, Nalanda

God knows where all I wandered

Who all I worshipped

The number of histories I read

The number of poets I associated with

I searched in the veena, I hunted in the lotus

Sankhya, Kant, Charvak I delved into

God knows how many Bible and Puran I inverted

In my dreams I met with Galileo and Einstein

The cranes of Siberia and the birds of Kiev island

I repeatedly questioned

I scrutinised the papers of Christ, Buddha and Mahavir

And from there I concluded

That all the rivers in the world

Are made from the tears of women.


What kind of a name has my father given me

I am shackled by the meaning of my name

As if a nail has been pierced into my heartland

Now I wonder how many painful conflicts I will have to undergo

How many arrows more I will have to face

To go beyond the meaning of my name.

I have become my own slave

My father

It does not let me fill myself with a new raga

It does not let me see anything beyond myself

What should I do

I am being buried by its very meaning

How many more battles should I fight

Which obstacle should I cross

How many times and in which seasons

Should I dive into the river Kosi?

From the slavery of such meanings

I have to free myself, my father.


In the ancestry of trees there were also leaves,

But the leaves are not there in the genealogy of the trees

Neither are there birds

Squirrels are not there

In it Buddha, who spent many years meditating under a tree

Is also not there

For so many years I wept under it

But I am also not there in its genealogy

There should have been in it that girl

Who killed herself hanging on it

And whose soul that has transformed into a bird’s nest

Is still hanging on its branches

Where are those female saints in its genealogy

Who broke the four walls of their houses and came to it?

In it that man is also not there

Who, to still his pangs of hunger, plucked

Its first fruit

That’s why I say it is a mistake

A grave mistake

For in the trees’ genealogy

There is one stump

That has changed everyone else into stumps

Searching for

I am a little twig

Searching for trees

I am a tree

Searching for birds

I am that bird

Which is searching for the half-eaten

Bowl shaped guava

I am also the guava

Searching for the unending perennial seeds

I am a seed

Searching for myself

In the deeply etched lines of a farmer

Sifting grain.

I am that deeply etched hand

Searching for the husks of grain

Lying scattered in the fields

After the grains have been cut.

I am also that husk

Searching for the scattered seeds of grain.

For A little while

So spread out, so thickly branched

Its roots strewn on so many sides

I wonder who made this family tree

That has spread into my existence

Its branches have filled up my body

Its roots have reached upto my finger tips.

O my woodcutters!

For a little while chop off from its roots

This family tree

Although by doing this my own blood will spill

My own veins will be cut

My own arteries will bleed

But what can I do

For a little while I want to be free from this family tree

So that for a little while my soul can fill with pure water

And the sand inside it can be shaken off

For a little while I want freedom from this imposed orthodoxy.

I am tired of incessantly imitating tradition

For a little while I want to be original.


While thinking

Thinking about birds and deer

Means ultimately thinking about hunters

That is why I see each narrative popular about them

In the context of the hunters

In trees, mountains, forests, wherever, whenever I meet them

I tell them to doubt every narrative popular about them

And whenever I think about deer I believe

That till there is no historian of the deer

There is every possibility of the hunters being glorified

And to save the birds from the hunter’s net it is very important

That the birds have their own philosophers.



I’ve thrown away the eternal fruit

Earlier I used to think

I’ll become immortal

But after seeing the result of Buddha’s immortality

I’ve dropped the idea of becoming immortal

Many days in my dreams

I saw Jesus Christ praying for death

And poor mythical Ashwatthama

Grief stricken by his immortality

Wailing piteously

And whenever he wails

A quake hits the earth

And a storm rises in the seas

That is why I have dropped the idea of becoming immortal


From the window I threw away

The eternal fruit


I am fragile

But more fragile than me is my book

Which I write with so much dedication.

I am fragile

But no less fragile than me

Is my photograph kept in the album

For my fragile self

More fragile are these diaries

That were written over so many years

And so flimsy is my belief

That I will go beyond time with them

During my lifetime I commission my own statues

These myriad statues of mine

That are immersed just after the auspicious days

Are no less fragile.

The letters that I write

That are burnt with matchsticks

At the end of the year

They are even frailer.

All the gifts that I give

Break in a few years

The age of presents is only one year

That of good wishes is only four days

Whatever I possess

Inanimate, words, tears

That I am engaged in justifying

Throughout my life

Slowly melt away

Like snowballs

Some say

Words are immortal

But how can I believe my words

That dissolve with two drops of water.




Please save me from my dreams

I wonder who has put them inside me

They are gnawing me from within.

They are slowly destroying my personality

They are defeating my manhood

They are putting me inside a boiling cauldron of consumerism

Into which they pull me even if I want to come out

They are killing my all desires inside me

They are murdering my compassion, my delicacy and my past

They are pushing me into a massive hell

I scream loudly

At midnight.




















Dev Maity (Bengali)


I keep lying on my filthy bed sheet

I myself am filthier than that.

Sun enters straight through my open window

Into every nook and cranny of my body

I need a little fervor

The guts to never go back

To all those NO-s.

Whom my mother worships with an incense stick in her hand

Before whom my father bows in reverence

I don’t believe in them

But in my parents

One day both of them came flying off from different households

People laughed at them, but they laughed more

I just need a little fervor

The guts to obey no one

But me.


Moving away from death I see, I haven’t even been born yet,

I realize, a metallic scream is what’s called surviving.

As the temples mushroom through out the pavements

In this jet-age of globalization,

This contrast makes me feel uneasy, restless

The probable proposals of my mind, sloppy like leaders

Restrain my soul from abusing and cursing

Whirling like a plane with wings on fire,

I come down from illuminated traffic-congested main roads

To this narrow dark dirty alley

Under the bulb-less lamppost, beside the act of peeing by a dog with lifted leg

A motorbike … couple (lottery) marriage in gloomy light

Engrossed in Newton’s third law about chances

I come home searing memory’s ass with my cigarette

One more day the calendar will touch my jobless messy life

A hanging arrow will wake up in my womanless bed and ask

What’s the current rate in Sonagachhi* these days?

I just feel like a sack

Inside which there is fifty one Kg of fresh meat

Of no Goddamn use whatsoever --- only shits, pisses,

Eats and slumbers

It’d have been far better to be a banyan tree in the crematory!


Over bridge over our heads

Uneven roads under our feet

Mutton cutlets at the roll corner

Beggars loitering around in front of our mouths …

Yet, don’t the matinee shows still pull enough crowds!

People with burning cash in their pockets

Don’t really notice all these stuff:

For instance, a little hand polishing shoes on the footpath

And a school bus moving past it, with cheerful faces at its windows.

The man with a pair of stilts who sobbed behind the urinal in the book-fare

Clutching his own wooden legs!

Or, for instance, the only backbone of a humble household

Sprinkles water at two o’clock to soften the roti made at six in the morning

To enable him to catch the first train.

It’s us, with deep fridges inside our brains,

A thousand eyes within eyes,

Who open the eyes of the bespectacled busy public,

Completely out of the blue.


Inside the blazing smithy

A metallic ball

Getting hotter and hotter

Turns brilliant red.

Seems like at any instance

It can explode

With an enormous noise,

Like a bomb

Hitting the brains out

And scattering it

All over the place …


Everything covered with smoke

Blood … blood everywhere

And cries …

Just then, not a single ambulance

Is to be found anywhere in this city





Woundeds are


Dead …

Do we really share

Any relationship with Earth?

Any Commitment?

Or is it just




The philanderers’ coming and going

In and out of pros quarter!


Something happens here everyday

Something more than what happens in an inn

Man and his soul are torn to shreds

Still, along the spine, only seminal signals flow,

Not protest!

Smashed into ground, stricken with poverty, I get up again

In every grimacing moment,

Not giving a damn.

More than ganja, I am intoxicated with my own existence

Captivated by hunger and too much libido.

Just as someone stares outside through the window… and from outside

Peeps inside --- I have seen

Boys my age loaf around

Carrying dynamite called sexuality in their body,

Fructuous girls know the versatile use of fire…

It’s just this World

This Nation

This State

Who try to play it safe

That’s why here poems are not written

On the theme of understanding between

Rapists and whores,

Surrounding the lollypop-king, builds up a sparkling cluster.

Towards that, towards that, towards that, exactly towards that,

A drunkard, awake all night, aims his pee.

A lot of thanks to my friend Mandakranta SEN, who sent to me all these poems. 

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