Poetry at Sangam



SHUBHSRAVA by Ashok Vajpeyi

Translated from the Hindi by Rahul Soni.


There’s a river mentioned in the Puranas, called Shubhsrava. An ancient river: who knows what unknown forests it flows through. What sort of vegetation grows on its banks, what tributaries come and merge with it. Where is its origin: how small, almost imperceptible. Insubstantial in the beginning. Gradually taking on the shape of a river. Full of water, full of plants, full of fish. Full of sound, and brimming with waves of beauty. A river of childhood: a young river in the abode of ancients. A river untouched by gods. A river untouched by geography. A river of only words. A river made up of words. A river that flows beside the pure and radiant, then disappears. A river called Shubhsrava, yet unnamed. A river held in an infant god’s scripture. An impossible river, a hidden, a vanished river. A river in Shubhsrava: a river in every river. Flowing from the Puranas down to these words: a river, Shubhsrava.