Poetry at Sangam



BABUR’S PRAYER by Shankha Ghosh

(Translated from the Bengali by Arunava Sinha.)

Here I kneel towards the west now
Spring has arrived empty-handed today
Destroy me if your will so desires
Let my descendants remain in my dreams.

Where has his transparent youth vanished
Where does decay gnaw away furtively
Abject defeat in the corner of my eye
Pours poison in my arteries, lungs and veins.

Let the azaan from a grey emptiness
Awaken the extremities of the city
Turn me to stone, make me quiet, still
Let my descendants remain in my dreams.

Or is there no relief for the future
In the germs of sin that my body bears?
In celebrating my own barbaric win
I summon death to my own house.

Or do the flashing lights in the palace
Burn all my bones, even my heart,
And allow a million foolish moths
To find a home deep within my frame?

You have endowed me with many things
Where will you put me when I’m in ruins
It’s better that you destroy me, oh god
Let my descendants remain in my dreams.