Poetry at Sangam




For Namdeo

(Translated from the Marathi by Sachin Ketkar.)

This loneliness,
Like that of an outcast,
This horrifying silence
Thinning out far and away

Innumerable swords hang
On this head
That does not have even a roof over it
There is no morsel of food left
To our name
Because basically
We don’t know
If the day will break at all for us.

Anytime in the morning or at noon or at night
Rises the sun of darkness
On the body.

The cock of the never-ending misery
Crows at any unearthly hour
At one or at two or even at three.
I mechanically get up
Bathe and like a somnambulist
I walk on the lane
That inexorably leads to you.
You have left me no other choice
As you have very nicely given me
The bondage, complete with the inevitable loneliness

It means I am definitely bound strongly
With a fragile string
And I am free
Because of my loneliness

The loneliness that grinds me
Crushes me in its colossal jaws
Torments me by sinking its monstrous teeth
Deep into me
I am ashamed of it
Looking at your throes
I don’t have any strength left
To utter it.
The fragile links are very often the strongest
As we know they can snap at time
We care for them even more
In any circumstance
Now, like the woman in Haldankar’s painting
Walking with a lamp in her hands
Covering it with her palm
Any starlet will break into a song with the moon
And you will be with me with your interminable smile
You won’t utter a single word then
But in that silence
In that smile
I will discover
Plenty of poems
Ample life
Abundance of happiness and smile
And I will compose
A song for the daybreak.