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ksrinidhi_1 Poet-1 Poet-3 prasuna1 prasuna4 siriMay 16, 2010

Pit Bucket Blues

by Crazyfinger

GutBucketAfsar

A friend of mine alerted me to this new poem by Afsar, asking if I wanted to give it a shot translating it during this weekend. Here it is. The original is “Naalugu Metukulu” posted here.

Pit Bucket Blues

Will the sunlight blazing outside

Know of the darkness inside!

The voice

Strolls into stillness for a breather

For a while, to come up for air

-2-

In between the tangled embrace of the trees

A white streak, opening slightly

Leads into somewhere

Its signs in my ears

Ever a dulcet music

-3-

In between the huddled houses,

Intertwined thicker than the woods

A narrow alley

Sparkles like a moonshine

The roar of its silence

A storm that hasn’t spoken

-4-

You and I

One moment the screams of two ripples

Then in another moment,

Dreams snuggled

Under the covers of sleep

-5-

As such the petitions were always losing!

Anyway haven’t got in hands

The rope bucket

To bail up the deeper voices

-6-

Be it a word that lay severed

Or a cry that lay fallen

Don’t make the final cut on any of it!

-7-

Save these few morsels

For the empty stomach

Of that troubled pit

That arrives from far away

Nov 25, 2009

Two more by Siva Reddy: A Dream & Burrow

by Crazyfinger

My excuse for the long gap in posting is the usual lamo one: too much work.  But honestly I did try my hand at one or two poems but it is depressing when they don’t come out right.  At last I managed two Siva Reddy poems.  Both are from his collection of poems “Anthology of poems on woman” that I got recently.  I am not entirely sure if I got the “munagada deesukuni” in the 3rd line of Dream right.

Sivareddy_Burrow_ADream

A Dream

She
Slept just like that
Snuggled in front like a puppy –
Over her
Summer seasons may pass
Rainy seasons may pass
Cold winds of winter may pass
But
The spring that arrived late
Just sat at her feet,

She slept just like that
As though someone bundled up
A long drawn dream and
Forgot to take it while leaving

Burrow

I have a way
I will crawl away into it
But, what does she have
Darkness without trails
All around iron walls dug in,
Nowhere she can go
Wherever she goes,
It is back again to within –
In it is way too dark
Brooding, agonizing
Into the emptiness
Head split in
Thousand empty pieces –
No choice
Each and everyone
Must search for himself
The burrow that leads
Out of life

The scanned copies of Telugu versions are below: Dream is “Oka Swapnam” (12 Dec 2007) and Burrow is “Sorangam” (3 Sept 2002).

Sivareddy_Dream

Sivareddy_Sorangam

Nov 04, 2009

Poem by Siva Reddy (and remembering Bhargavi P. Rao)

by Crazyfinger

Two discoveries this week brought me back into the folds of re-collecting.  First I found out on the internet that Bhargavi P Rao had passed away a while ago.  I still remember talking to her about “The Gift of Magi,” the O. Henry story.  Wasn’t it only in 2007 that I ran into her at the airport…?  What happened?

The second discovery was K. Siva Reddy, the Telugu poet for this post.  I could only find this to link to online, this Introduction to the collection of translations of a few of his poems.  Fascinating to read he taught English at V.V. Degree college between 1967 and 1999.  So in my school days at V.V. High School, I would have run into him.  More poignant, a cousin of mine who was a student at the degree college – were he alive today – would surely have recalled him.

Here is my English version of his Telugu poem “Oka Nelavanka.” (One crescent moon).  The scan of Telugu version from his collection, below.

Crescent Moon

Arms and legs
Thrown this way and that way
As though not hers
She sat

Like a concrete heap
Driven in way back when
On the road side
Is she in this world, don’t know
As though she was swimming inwardly
As though unable to know which shore to reach
As though like an ocean parching
Somewhere beyond the sunset
Unaware of anything

Wind rustling in the hair
Drawing crazy lines on her forehead

The cheap ring on the finger
Bringing back some memory

With a gentle palm on its head
Caressing the dog that
Wagging its tail
Sat next to her
A faint smile in the corner of lips
Appearing playfully, like a
Crescent moon not quite yet

Sivareddy_Nelavanka

Oct 29, 2009

“Talupu,” “Padya Samadhi” by Ismail: English Versions

Ismail_poem_grave
by Crazyfinger

Some week days it just is near impossible to do anything other than your day job.  So tired and jaded I aimlessly began reading Ismail’s poems again last night.  These two stayed in my head until this morning.  Short ones (short, not simple) are easier to write them out in English because of the compactness of the presentation…Here are two of Ismail’s poems.  They both can be found in Telugu original here.  First poem below, Door, is the poem “Talupu” and the second, A Grave for a Poem, is the poem “Padya Samadhi.”

Door
Upset with me
Suddenly opening the door
You left

For bursting open
The door I closed
For your sake long ago
Letting in sunshine and air
Many thanks

A Grave for a Poem
Digging deep the poem, is the poet
Beneath tons of dirt
Beneath tons of heart
Lies covered the poem

Who buried it this deep, don’t know
Got to get out the coffin
Digging days and nights
May be it’ll come alive
At the touch of a breath

Digging the poem deep
When the casket lid was opened
Everytime from within
The cadaver that comes alive
Is the poet himself

Oct 24, 2009

Poem by Afsar: English Version

Afsar1

by Crazyfinger

Among other discoveries I made recently is Afsar’s poetry.  I think this is Afsar but if it is not this Afsar, please correct me.  My main reference continues to be this article by Ismail and this is where I found Afsar’s name and began digging for more.  Before soon I am drawn to his this Telugu poem, with a somewhat hesitant title: Kondaru Snehitulu…Nanna…Oka Artharaatri (English: A Few Friends…Father…One Midnight).

Here is my English version.  I was not quite sure if I wanted to retain the title of the original Telugu poem so I picked something else, not thinking too much about it.

Crossings

Not afraid
No matter how dark it turned
Even when
This path in the wilderness
This bridge through darkness
Is still not familiar
I heaved my body
To pass through it nevertheless

Do you remember?
In some dark evening farm field
Caught in the thicket of trees
How we crossed the night
Singing loud crazy song?

On the face, that was
Forced to turn back
From time to time
On this ever-changing journey,
Lines of so many fears
Shadows of doubts
The fear
When only death in that instant
Seems like a relief
Do you remember?

When,
Right in the middle
Waving a red flag to life
A friend was seen
On that frightening morning
Broken in pieces
On the locomotive tracks
What words did I write to myself?
Not a word came out at that sight

As such
Journeys stopped halfway
Is not new for this life!

On an emaciated night
He, what matters who it was?
Quietly over the beam
Swinging his healthy, ruddy body
Left us, tossing a beam of a final smile
At our faces
Even then whatever did we do?
Other than a weary lifeless speech?

A smile
Cut in the middle
Was still new then!
Even so…
There isn’t much to do then!

How small darknesses
Turn into enormous deaths
Can never be understood
How some deaths surround us
Like enormous darkness
Is being realized everyday

Dad,
That deathly moment, when
Telling me to wash for the last time
They all shoved me
In front of your lifeless body,
Showed up in last night’s dream
Severed from my sleep I fell
Into a deep darkness

Crying,
I was there just
Till morning
The bridge through darkness
The fearsome farm fields
Empty skies
Everything is you

May I be able to say…
Standing in the unfamiliar darkness
No, I am not afraid?

Oct 11, 2009

“Bhetala Savam” by Varavara Rao: English Version

by Crazyfinger

Two sources of introduction to Varavara Rao are here and here (poet’s website).  A founding member of VIRASAM (abbr. from Telugu words, translated into English they mean Revolutionary Writers’ Association) his poetry is bound to charge even an old damp oak with a live fire desperate for illumination.  Among many poets whose works I am familiar with, Varavara Rao is one man whose poems make me feel he is “our man,” due primarily to his common man’s language.

The Telugu original is at the poet Varavara Rao’s site here.

Demon Ghost

Hauling the carcass from the lockup
Over my shoulder, I was walking

I’ll let you in on the story of my death
Said the corpse
Tell me if it was a natural death
Or was it a murder

Carcass, and on top of it
Speaks while in the lockup
Could only mean a murder, I said

Pleased though at the truth’s utterance
For the living, to speak is a crime
So the corpse disappeared
Showed up in some other lockup

Oct 08, 2009

“Rahasya Vaana” by Kalpana Rentala: English Version

by Crazyfinger

One more Telugu poet discovery I made last week: Kalpana Rentala.  She blogs too, though infrequently.  Below is the English version of her Telugu poem, “Rahasya Vaana,” which means “secret (rahasya) rain (vaana).”  I don’t think “Secret Rain,” makes sense for the title in English.

Telugu original at Kalpana Rentala blog here.

The last four lines are very tricky, and I don’t quite see yet how I could write them in English in any other way.  Something is lost, not seen in the English words below, a sort of a feeling of a heart that just began to race its beat at the onrush of a desire, that feeling is lost, I think.  The “let us seize a little, come here,” actually appears as the last line in the original Telugu.  More important, the last two-word pair in the Telugu original, “itu randi,” is addressing the someone in plural “you” form – which gives a sense that this calling is by a wife to a husband.  It doesn’t have to be.  My point is that, that particular detail is missing in English.  For a man reading this poem, reading the last two words in Telugu will most certainly elevate the soft feeling; these final two words will at once surprise him pleasantly, perhaps even a feeling of subdued strangeness will come over him.  Nothing stirs a man with an inexplicable wonderment more than a feeling of love directed at him from a woman.  That feeling which visits him from outside is, for him, not exactly the same as the one he feels for his woman.  In feeling for a woman, a man is in his natural solipsistic self, in other words he is full of himself.  But such a visitation almost always takes him out of his skin – or threatens to such a possibility – and I think that just might be at the root of a gentle discomfort he feels, and prepares him for the love.  Jeez…did I write that…:- )

Furtive Torrent

The eyes can still hear
Those footstep sounds
Of the raindrops

The ears can still see
That windswept beat
Of the window pane

The unrest within
Is still caressing the cheek

The wet mark
Is still knocking the ocean’s door

There no one mingles with anyone now

The furtive torrent that spares nothing for anyone
Is emanating the youth
Agitating the desires

Let us seize a little, come here
That, so hard to let out-of-hand, seclusion
That, unable to be near-at-hand, body
That, moistening it like a fire, rain

On author background, I haven’t had time to dig up enough about the poets to write an introduction but here is an overview by Ismail (the poet): “Sixty Years of Telugu Poetry: A telugu retrospective,” that is quite good.  I may have to hit the Creative Commons for the visuals since all my pictures are in black-and-white and I haven’t found anything appropriate in them yet.

Oct 03, 2009

Two Poems by Ismail: English Versions

by Crazyfinger

Thanks to Purnima’s introduction to this marvellous blog Pustakam.net, I am able to discover Telugu poets and Telugu literature all over again.  I confess I’ve never heard of the poet Ismail before, now I can’t seem to get enough of him.  This article by Bolloju Baba got me going (Thanks Baba!).  The Telugu magazine Eemata was a terrific discovery (jeez…where was I all these years!).

I was told I should really introduce the writers first while posting these pedantic English translations.  True.  But I don’t like writing biographical background of the poet, it does a disservice to the poet and his/her influence.  I am still thinking how to introduce the poet to a new audience.  Anyone has ideas please express…:- )  For now, here is my English version of Ismail’s Telugu poems: First – Maa Aavida: Telugu version here (4th poem from top).

My Wife

With one hand holds up the sky
With one hand caresses the earth
With a bird hand pecks the seeds of tears
With a cascade hand, comforting, smoothens the rocks
With one hand serves the meal
With one hand lulls the children
With a blazing hand drives away the darkness
With a starry hand welcomes the sun
With one hand stands against the fate
With one hand beckons the smiles

With hands every way as
Spokes of the wheel
Drives the carriage of life with verve

Second is – Nootilo Tabelu (Telugu version: very first poem in the above same link)

Turtle in the Well

Hearing that the turtle
Was found in the well
We ran like a monkey’s herd
All the children
When we peered into
Only saw our own heads
The sky and the blue horizon
Picking stones and shards
We stirred all the water
Not only the turtle didn’t float up
But even our heads disappeared

The sky’s dark blaze
Lighting up the well’s rim
Turning into the pit
I stared still
At the water
Perturbed when
Our heads have gone in
There…! Behind my eyes
Burrowed inside the skull
Sitting still, is the turtle

Sep 30, 2009

Chengoona Ala Meeda…(Telugu poem): English Version

by Crazyfinger

This poem by Malladi Ramakrishna Sastry, which I first tried to translate here, gave me the most heartache.  Swarup pointed out the errors in my first attempt but I just couldn’t get it right.  M S Ramarao’s singing (search for M S Ramarao in Singer category) makes me want to go back to being an old man in a village, waiting for his days, recalling poems, singing them to myself and soak myself in re-collections.  This wish to sing for myself is not because I am turning solipsistic, but it is because it makes me feel humble even in front of a child, someone we always think we can easily overpower.  It makes me feel I am already too much and just by being I am already intruding.  That is the root of the desire for just not be anywhere, that desire to not to intrude in the very being itself.  Songs like these bring tears of a kind for which there are no words other than the song itself.  The song is a recollection.  I am sure over and over again that a song like this compresses an entire universe’s time span and shoves that into my being.  I sound crazed but I am more alert than anytime before at moments like these; a love that is so much like home comes over me when I hear songs like these.  And so, one more try…

Click here for the Telugu version at Swarup’s site.

Jumpy on the net, the catch leaps with pride

Young lad in sight, forgets the body your mind

Do you deny it, young lass?

Overflowing affection, like an irresistible numbness

Overwhelms you, young lass

He who is agreeable to you is near you

Why won’t you speak, young lass

For a discussion Swarup and I had on my previous attempt, click here.

A roughcut of the transliterated poem with English word equivalents.

(suddenly) (net) (on the)  (insolently bounce) (fish)
chengoona ala   meeda     midisee potadi    meenu

(young lad) (faced in front)   (forget)   (you will)   (body)
chinnavaadu  edaraite’        marachee potavu       me’nu

(would you say no)  (young lass)   (you)
kaadantaava?         chinnadaana   neevu,

(excessive)   (affection) (palm branch) (numbness) (like)
vallaamaalina mamata      kamma         timme’ra   laaga

(pervaded)          (you)      (young lass)
kammukunnadi    ninnoo,    chinnadanaa

(agreeable)   (lad)     (near)       (is)
sammasaina  vaadu   sarasane’  vunnado

(speak not) (why)            (young lass)    (you)
pallakunta   ve’ le’           chinnadaanaa   neevu

Sep 26, 2009

Sri Sri’s “Jayabheri”: An English Rendition

by Crazyfinger

I thought we’d start off this new blog with a poem from Telugu poet Sri Sri’s Mahaprasthanam.  I wouldn’t exactly call any of these attempts on this blog as “translations,” as I think one can call them translations only when they are done right.  I will stick to a somewhat loosy term “rendition.”  Here we go then…Comments are open and are not moderated beforehand.

Link to Telugu original: Click here for a collection over at Scribd and turn to page 5.

I too

offered a fuel

of firewood

to the world’s fire:

I too

poured a tear

for the world’s rain:

I too

yelled with a

mad throat

for the earth’s roar:

When summer scorched

did I not

swelter like a bat?

When rainy season

gathered all around

did I not

melt at the fathom’s height?

When winter’s cold

cut, frozen, numb

I even let cries of hunger:

If I alone am

left standing

fiery winds, rainclouds, snowdrizzles

will break the earth:

Color colored stars

peering down from the sky

will fall, explode, vomiting blood:

Days breaking

nights withering

the great deluge will

engulf this world over:

Those moments will arrive

when I alone

fill the whole earth

the sighs of my moaning cries

soaking the world in a rainstorm:

I too

will sprout

as the white petal

of the lotus of the universe:

I too

will swoon

as the string

of the lute of the universe:

I too

will rise up

as the flag

on the palace of the earth:

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