Saturday, March 5, 2011


                                     from the back cover: Pash a Poet of Impossible Dreams

Read the following poem on Pash, the Punjabi revolutionary poet, which I wrote while I was in Mumbai residing for a short while in a flat close to Worli Seaface,  and from where I had an almost 180 degree view of the Arabian Sea  and could watch, fascinated, the continuous rush of waves towards the seashore. The original English version is followed by my own Punjabi translation written in my bad Punjabi handwriting. Hope the poem will interest readers and admirers of Pash. 
My poem is followed by my translation of a beautiful poem by Pash: Face to Face with the Present.(Vartman De Rhu-b-Rhu)


The waves keep coming, keep coming
Towards the shore, relentlessly,
Like moths towards light.

The sea changes its colours
With the changes in the sunlight that falls
Or stops falling
But the waves keep coming, keep coming…

Reading Pash,
That country lad turned revolutionary poet,
In revolt against the idea of civilization,
I also see the human habitations along the seaside:
The ever- rising high rise towers of the rich,
The earth-embedded lowly hutments of the poor
Both irreconcilably mismatched

The waves are indifferent
To these hierarchies in the human world.
They don’t tell me why Pash’s revolt against them
Was as ineffectual as their own breaking against the rocks.
They keep coming, keep coming…
They don’t tell me anything.


These days I am scared of newspapers
They must have published somewhere the news
That nothing happened today.
You may not know, or you may
How terrifying it is for nothing to happen
For the eyes to become breathless
And for things to stay still, like a frigid woman.
These days, even the conversation at the village gatherings
Looks as if a tree, longing to rock and swing,
Were caught in the coils of a python gone to sleep.
I wonder how this world,
Seeming forlorn like empty chairs, views us?
Centuries have gone past, and even today
Bread, toil and crematoriums might still think
We live only for them.

I’m at a loss – how should I convince
These shy mornings
These nights and beautiful twilights
We haven’t come here to be saluted by them!
Where is that someone, like us,
Whom we can take into our embrace
With open arms? 

These days the events, when they happen,
Are like the old man gone breathless
Climbing the stairs to a brothel.
Why something like the first meeting of lovers
Does not happen here?
How long shall this country
Founded by Mahatmas
Let itself be chased by a one-horned grave!  
After all, when shall we, exiled from the din of living,
Return to our homes that are alive
With things that happen
And when shall we sit around the fire
And listen to her overweening tales?

One day surely we shall imprint our kisses
On the cheeks of a season
And the whole earth shall turn
Into a wondrous newspaper
That will publish news after news
Of things happening.