Poems | Amrita Pritam (Translated by Kanupriya Dhingra)

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1. A Letter

(Translated from the original in Punjabi)

I am— a book kept in an attic
perhaps carrying the Word
or any hymnal
or a chapter from the Kama Sutra,
or quackery for easy, venereal diseases.

Apparently, I am none of these.
(if I were, someone would have read me)

And as it were — a proposal was passed
in a meeting of revolutionaries
and I am its transcript.
Although it carries a police-stamp
and was never enforced, passed anyway,
and was preserved, for the sake of
further legal proceedings.

Now only some sparrows come over
with a few twigs in their beaks
and they sit on my body
to worry about the next generation
(to worry about the next generation
is beautiful indeed!)
but for diligence of any sort
birds have wings,
but no proposal has any wings.
(nor do any proposal has
another generation?)
Only sometimes I think
of smelling out—
where my future lies
and in such worry
my binding comes off, partly
but whenever I try to smell something
I smell bird-shit, only.

O the future of my earth
          I am— your current state

2. A Meeting
(Translated from Amrita Pritam's एक मुलाकात)

after several years
suddenly, a meeting
our souls
shivered like a poem
ahead of us was an entire night—
one half of the poem,
huddled in one corner
another half
sat in another corner
then at daybreak—
we met, like pieces of
torn pages
I held his hand
in my hand
he took my arm
in his arm
and we
laughed like a censor
and placed the page
on a cold table,
casting a line
on that entire poem

3. My Address
(Translated from Amrita Pritam's मेरा पता)

Today I
erased my house number
also removed
the street name impressed upon
the street’s forehead
and wiped off
directions to every road
but if you absolutely wish to find me
 then knock on
every door on the street of
every city of every country
This is a curse, a blessing as well
and wherever there is a
glimpse of a
free spirit
          —know that as my home

4. A Union with Self

My bed is here
But like shoes and shirt
Take off your body too
Keep it on the stool there
Nothing unusual—
It is a custom of one’s country

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Do you have access to the punjabi version of these? Would be grateful if you send them/post them?