Poetry at Sangam



THE PEOPLE OF MAGADH by Shrikant Verma

(Translated from the Hindi by Rahul Soni)

The people of Magadh
are sorting the bones of the dead

Which ones are Ashoka’s?
And Chandragupta’s?
No, no,
these can’t be Bimbisara’s
they are Ajatashatru’s,

the people of Magadh say
shedding tears

It’s natural

those who have seen a man alive
only they
can see him dead
those who haven’t seen him alive
how can they see him dead?

Just yesterday
the people of Magadh
saw Ashoka
going to Kalinga
returning from Kalinga
Chandragupta riding his horse to Takshashila
in tears
flexing his muscles

The people of Magadh
had seen
and they
can’t forget
that they had seen
those who

can no longer
be found