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Date of Publish: 2017-03-18

A few poems of Saratchand Thiyam

 

Hill

You remain standing and

Don’t speak at all

You can suffer too, neither denying nor affirming,

Wearing a shawl of fire you can stand quietly.

When it’s evening your picture

Can be seen lucidly,

Standing with a clean shaven head.

 

The hills track that go bursting through

Amidst forests once green

Are gradually becoming red

With a group of people

Searching for a crown of laurel leaves.

 

This long road

Connecting Wordsworth to Eliot

Is being measured today with a yardstick.

You must know, having lived for centuries,

You have been wallowing in time’s tide

Even if speechless

For you is a matter of poise

But for the blame of generations

It has become fearsome war.

You could remain looking silently at

Two hands that shake happily,

Two cheeks are kissed affectionately

Turning into thorns nonetheless.

Raising its heads

Today’s generation is looking at today’s sky

It those white pigeons

Reared by majestic you have come soaring at all

(Translated from Manipuri by Robin S Ngangom)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Human Bomb

The most intimate

companion of the living

is death.

But

on aeroplanes,

on trains,

on buses,

on ships,

don’t want to travel with a human bomb.

 

Nudged by a uman bomb

those necks sticking out

from the top of a tall storey

burning with high flames

are looking for only a way to stay alive.

 

The human bomb utterly in love with death

approach one after another,

the markets the offices the house of the elite.

 

For one objective

they are proceeding ahead

arm in arm with death steadily

the humanbombs breeding in untold numbers

from man’s imagination

(Translated from Manipuri by Robin S Ngangom)

 

 

Race

You had run a race for life

the bomb and you,

trying to explode first.

When the bomb exploded

you also had the burst

into pieces.

The bomb had exploded earlier

even if it was only a tinkle of an eye.

That split second is s precious;

because a path to your destination

was glimpsed at that instant.

After that, on the path of the patriots,

your body, now reduced into pieces,

was strewn all over.

After collecting and gathering

those pieces together

many more are drwaing near

to follow in your footsteps.

 

(Translated from Manipuri by Tayenjam Bijoykumar Singh)

 

 

House

A bomb that was burried

inside the house

exploded loudly.

Who had buried it?

 

Why?

The house might know

(Translated from Manipuri by Tayenjam Bijoykumar Singh)

 

Gun Muzzle

In that directino a gun pointed

There’s bound to b enews

Of blood and tears.

Blood waiting to gush

Tears waiting to fall.

But then, it is not possible to prevent a thing

When a gun’s muzzle has been trained.

When that youth who journeyed seeking light

Returns coverd with a white cloth

Who wou’d like to receive him?

Gun muzzles to face each other sometimes

And grief become ordinary people’s lot.

No one to impute blame

Yet almost impossible to bear

How could the hands of all those souls

Push away a gun’s muzzle

Come to touch the life of an ordinary person

Impossible to avert

Nowhere one could run to

Impossible to hide.

Before all who worship their homeland

Before all who renounced all for their homeland

Ordinary folk who also love their land

Are covering bodies with a white cloth.

Who will through the huntre’

In the polo match of two gun muzzles

Where ordinary people become kangdroom?

In the chekphei being thrown by two gun muzzles

Who wil man the barricade?

But ordinary people are waiting

For the gun muzzles to be lowered

Or pointed to the sky.

Huntre’ – in Manipuri polo, an official called huntre’-hunda tosses the ball high up in the air and shuts huntre’ ­to indicate the start of play

Kangdroom- the ball in Manipuri hockey, which is made of bamboo root and is white in colour.

Chekphei- in kang chanda, an indigenous Manipuri indoor game, the game begins with a turn of chekphei, when a player throws the Kang, an oval object.

(Translated from Manipuri by Robin S Ngangom)

 

Sister

 

The rain has not let up

Don’t go out yet, sister

 

Its only a semblance of afternoon.

After it decided to live in

With night, its paramour

This is no longer the afternoon we recognize.

 

Your umbrella alone will be useless, sister.

You will not be able to cover

Your body from the raindrops.

 

Haven’t you heard this sound

The commotion in every home

Of the still incoherent babies.

 

Don’t you go sister

This rain is only becoming harder

Don’t you go sister

Don’t you go.

 

Look sister, every courtyard

Has become

Mangarak Kanbi.

 

Sister, I won’t allow you to go

Every road is reverberating

With the deafening utterance of boots.

 

Hide inside the house, sister

Don’t you go at all.

 

Mangarak Kanbi - Mangarak Kanbi is the name of a gorge in Manipur. Early Meiteis used to through the bodies of people who died of unnatural causes in Mangarak Kanbi.

(Translated from Manipuri by Robin S Ngangom)

 

Guwahati

Time and again, made to look healthy

by your open doors

When the illness shows up

your beautiful face suddenly darkens.

Being apprehensive you close your eyes

when you face those

who are plucking tea-leaves

in tea-gardens,

who are pumping our mineral oil,

in oil-wells.

Beating the dhol for the Bihu dance

you make the one who have taken refuse in your lap

jump in steps with joy

Turning your face away

you’re crying

for those who could not come and join

your joyous Bihu dance.

 

(Translated from Manipuri by Tayenjam Bijoykumar Singh)

 

About the Poet– Saratchan Thiyam, a Manipuri poet and travel writer, was born in 1961. A recipient of Sahitya Akademi (2006) and Jamini Sundar Guha Gold Medal from Manipuri Sahitya Parishad( 2002) awards, his collections of poetry include Tengali Karada Padon, Chho Chaboon , Africa, Yamlingdabasing-gi yum, Tsunami. He is also a travel writer.

 

About the translators

Robin S Ngangom is a bilingual poet and translator in Manipuri and English. His collections of poetry include Words and the Silence, Times Crossroads and The Desire of Roots. He received Udaya Bharati National Award and Katha Award for Translation.

Tayenjam Bijoykumar Singh is an Engineer by profession and creative writer who writes Poetry, shortstories and non-fiction in English and Manipuri. He received the Katha award fro translation in 2005. His shortstory collections include Turoi Ngamloiba Wagi Landan and Nang-ni Waree.

 

 

 

 

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