Lost Poets Series| Hungryalist poets translated by Arunava Sinha| Part 1

We are happy to announce that we will be publishing English translations of poems by lesser known Hungry Generation poets  for the first time over the next few weeks. All the poems have been translated by the acclaimed translator, Arunava Sinha.

A painting by Hungryalist painter Anil Karanjai
Source: http://hungryalistgeneration.blogspot.in

Subo Acharya  

1. The sounds of a dog with no duties

Thrice I’ve exchanged glances with a dog with no duties
Noting at the base of every lamppost on the street
A distinctive self-contradiction I advance it can also
Be called retreating there’s no fear of being ambushed
All movements are unrestrained and using the alphabet
Words like ‘love’ and ‘death’ are utilised for sport
Every day on the beach just this instant I have put
A hand prone to criminal acts in my empty pocket
With the other I chuck the featureless chin
Of the world, saying, ‘dance little lady dance’ –

2. Sanjukta and the seventeen horsemen

I don’t know what you were doing then
A wrinkling of the nose curling of the lips then phooey?
Dismounting one by one, the seventeen galloping horsemen 
Bowed their heads and turned to stone
The horses cantered haphazardly
Towards the lake
I don’t know what you were doing after that
You wound up a top and let it spin
Gathering diurnal and annual momentum it revolved around you
Sinking to their necks in the mud the horses
Stretched their necks to neigh in unison
And the helmets of the seventeen soldiers began
To fling themselves at your feet

And then
When you could not find a single unbloomed bud
In your belly, breasts or anywhere on your body
Tying themselves into a knot, your nerve-endings
Took you swiftly beyond joy and illness, to a place
Where you kept giving birth, one by one,
To seventeen horsemen, and climbing upon a dome
Touching the sky, you dried your hair with the sun on your back
And when the sunlight died you narrowed your eyes
Shielding them with your hand you began to search
For the seventeen cowards from your womb. 

Shaileswar Ghosh

1. I am hungry

As soon as I put my hand on a woman’s body she turned to gold
I’m a penniless labourer I live in Port Commission Quarter No. 5
The touch of my breath split the Communist Party into two
My arms lengthened, legs shortened, organ remained unchanged
I have seen my mother in bed with a god.

My father lost all he had gambling – an insane Van Gogh
Had seen flames in the rice fields and in Tahiti’s islands
Gauguin’s dog spread syphilis – from my mouth I have pulled out
The kind of sea whose tides don’t swell, resist all attraction
Watching a boxing match on television I ran to my male friend.

I move around with you eat and drink with you sleep with you
I steal your money I buy one woman after another
When I enter a church its spire collapses, I am hungry
All the doors and windows of libraries close at my sight.

I was given hashish as payment for roasting the rotis
On the streets I hear nothing but my own footsteps
My words light up India’s nuclear furnaces instantly
When I’m really upset I exchange blows with my friends
A friend stole ten rupees I didn’t return a hundred I’d borrowed
I don’t give a damn, for I have tasted heavenly flesh
Poetry rises like the Ochterlony Monument, destroying my mind
I tell the truth when I hallucinate – I see an angel
They’re dismantled when struck by a rocket – when I’m hungry
They drag me away where my intestines fill with people’s love
One of my mates is a bastard, another a traitor, one a murderer
They escaped to our gathering without passports – another one
Broke into railway wagons to loot all the aluminium ovens
I take my girlfriend into the bathroom – I am blind in one eye
I have never seen a Rolls Royce – I like smoking by myself
And when necessary I push myself all the way to Dumdum Airport.

2. I plucked a single flower

I plucked a single flower it was enough to break my world
Every day I find my clothes ill-fitting on my body
I killed a bird whose song was meant to wake the world
I will be released after destroying every faith.
Memories of sleeping with her father figure makes a monk woman seek more darkness
The grass knows the lightning that strikes its breast is a play of power 
At last I know that severing the stalk is the creator’s finest act.

When there’s celebration on the ground we’re made to fear shipwrecks from a height
Our life is to watch, mesmerised, the male character playing the eunuch
An ascetic had to lay down his life because his heart had overflown with love
All the flowers that blossom from my deed are witches used to worship you.
I open my eyes to see the swan writhing in pain from the embedded arrow
When I nurse it back to life the hunter wants half of what I’ve saved
Peace descends only at those moments when gold and iron cost the same.
When I pluck the flower I’m a terrorist - I have offered my senses to the world
On the last train I heard the professional whore’s enchanting singing with the thieves
All weapons are off on pilgrimage now – murderers have located their personal sorrows
The gods we have come to adore change their positions every day
Satan coils himself around a young girl like a serpent to drink from her breasts
The form in which I saw my mother from the womb burns bright in my memory
Life demands to know from life, are all forms of violence your children?

I plucked a single flower it was enough to break my world
A single tear falls on my face from space – I only gaze upwards
All the streams flowing from my body have gathered in a river
Many kicks await you still if the scars from the shackles remain
The moment terror was born, the world split into two, proponents and opponents
When the deluge begins every exponent of life seeks safe sanctuary.

Thrust your son into the wedding bedroom, father, stand guard with your stick
Over the iron bedroom, tonight he will be born and die soon after
The shortcut to heaven passes through hell.

I plucked a single flower it was enough to break my world
A droplet of light lay down its life to reveal the image of my darkness

Read all poems from the Lost Poets Series.


  1. Replies
    1. Glad you liked. We will shortly present more in these series. Do watch out this space.