Poems| Sameer Tanti (Translated by Dibyajyoti Sarma)

A painting by Anil Karanjai (late -1960s) / untitlted

On the moonlit night, I’ve seen you walk

On the moonlit night, I’ve seen you walk
towards the olive grove
ah, my heart aches!
The explosives destroy your gold-plated land.
In the spring’s water-mirror, like the old days you
can no longer see your face
the charm of your face, the face of your earth.
Is it blood on your face!

Oh, Federico, Federico, they have murdered you.

I have heard how the women of Andalucía wailed in sorrow.
All night the stars gazed at your face.
You did not open your eyes to see how God
had covered His face in shame.

Federico, Federico, who will play in the piano that tune today?

The sun too reads your poems. Walking by the factory
the morning said
the workers too had heard your speech.

My artist friends will draw a picture with your words.
You had said — we’ll have to defeat the eternal silence of death.

Federico, Federico, they have murdered you.

Civil guard, civil guard
even here is that ice-cold fear.
The tongue will be severed if you speak about water, soil and men.
Oh, my landscape painting, my fruit orchard, the magic
of my ballads with women and children

Federico, Federico, ah, my heart aches!

I have seen you all

I had seen you all in the middle of the killing field
silent and sturdy like ancient sal trees

When I think of it even today, my heart brims with pride

That uncompromising war and the incomparable courage of yours
filled the entire sky
as if indomitable, an independent flag

I looked at your faces
as if you all had shouted and said:
we will have to win over tyranny
for humanity and democracy

When I think of it even today, my heart brims with pride

Even today, I witness from afar
in paddy fields and in the peak of the blue hill
the charms of your faces
the songs of your victory

like the bells of dawn pure that sound
I hear even today
which spread all over like a birdcall.

Farewell comrades, we will see each other again
in a new world.

Subject: Famine

The date is approximately 3500 BC. It happened
before your birth, before the birth of your birth.
Hrikved was not born yet. Like men, animals were
plump, strong, agile. And soil was fertile like
beautiful women. Making the men boat women of night
crossed the river of desire. One drop of semen
even then was women’s potent corp. Drinks of barley,
ox’s heart, life was an everlasting celebration.
Blessed is my Lord of Beasts, Pashupati.

Yes, it happened. It was destined that it would
happen. Rainfall of day, night’s moonlight. Lost soldiers.
In the city of bricks, nights were the luxury of amour. Time
passed, ebbed in water. One night an animal with long beard
screeched. And like a ripe orange fell an old woman,
she, who was Sindhu’s mother, the Goddess of Mohenjo-Daro.
Looking into a cauldron’s face, no one knew about food.
No one understood Sindhu.
That night was the night of famine.

Verses of the three magicians

Let me tell you about the three magicians.
All three are blind
the roads through which they walk are blind
the night they carry with them is blind too.
They know the meaning of three-crore-year-old light
they known many a healings and magic
how darkness turns into light
how one mistake can correct another
whatever you and your friends may want to know
you will get every answer.
All three are companions to each other.
All three of them ban each other.
The clouds in which they drench are blind.
The wind that takes off their garments is blind too.
From the days of wandering to civilization
they have the count of each day
and count the possibilities of pain of life and death.
Wherever they go, they create tales
whatever they say are myths.
The three do not have addresses
the three are nomads from elsewhere.
The river water they touch is red.
The leaves that float in the water are red too.
The kernels of their favourite fruits are red.
The beginning and the ending of the day is red too.
When silence takes hold of noise
they kiss the stone images
coiling on their feet serpents pray.
The serpents’ prayers bloat into blood.
All three are their own will.
They say hunger is the faith of the hungry.
In hunger even god fades out.
When they travel, they pray for the dead.
The living is the dead’s protest.
When there is conflict of soil against soil
break minarets, temples, airports, assemblies.
They know the mystery of bidden, forbidden
also about conspiracy and confusion.
All three secretly touch us
and check our blood pressure.
In their flute cries barren men-women.
In their sorrow stars shed tears.
In an animal’s cry breaks the entire millennia.
In hundred years not a single man appears.
Words look for word’s support.
Words turn into a long procession.
When they walk, stones break
the heat sharpens the thorns.
All the three magicians stand in third party.
In third party, there are no chances of telling lies.
When man falls below humanity
then only the skull can be seen.
No skull carries mind, intelligence.
Intelligence-less life is the modern life.
They know the end of a dictatorial regime
also know the results of punishment and pride.
When they talk about betrayal
they talk about our uncertainties.
All three are three ages.
All three are names of void
neither in nor out
neither above nor below thirst
lost dreams look for dreams
the knuckles of the hand sparkle in the pupil of the eye.
They know all the scripts
all the events that took place in all ages.
All those books are blind too.
Their creators and narrators are all blind.
With them there ticks a clock
until the ending of light, water, darkness.

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