Sunday, January 29, 2017

केही अनुदित रचनाहरू (अंग्रेजी) - मातृका पोखरेल

Collection of Poem - Matrika Pokharel

Eye-glasses Matrika Pokharel
I seek immediate emancipation from the glasses I bought at your market. From the glasses I bought at your market I saw no difference between robbery and politics same appear the faces of brokerage and faith social service and trade with no difference between. No, there's no difference at all between the tidy and turbid hearts between wages of labor and cash retrieved as commission. They look alike. Through the glasses I bought at your market, I see white and black colors similar; I'm unable to tell one from the other. I shall, henceforth free myself from the glasses from your market and if ever I cannot get a new pair I would love to crush the one from your market into piece hammering them atop a stone. The bare eyes, at least do not suffer from deceptive visions. I won't love to waste the rest of my life in illusionary views. This glass-market is yours I mean—this postmodern market. I am aware— I ought to find a new market. The glasses I bought at your market make everything appear illusionary, deceptive. Through the glasses from your market I could see nothing I wanted to see. I could neither see the sun rising from the east nor could I see anything else. I didn’t see lotuses competing to bloom out from the smudge, either. Once put, let the glasses show kids scuttling school-ward with happy faces, carrying their satchels and seniors inside their clubs, laughing aloud with joy. Let the resonance of their laughter echo again and again! No, the glasses from your market show nothing of the sort. I seek immediate emancipation from the glasses I bought at your market.



(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)

==================================

Immortal Poetry

Matrika Pokharel

He planted poetry
in a vase in the mansion
and said to me
this is how you ought to nurture
a flower to blossoms.
I showed him poems
of many hues and colours
along roadsides
on the foreyards of huts
and said
these too are beautiful verses
they too need to be cared for.
Annoyed,
he turned his head away
and made an about turn!

The next day
I looked at him
from the abode of my poetry.
He had forgotten
to water his plant in the vase.
The wilted flower
turned to me, and wept.

Two days later
with a withered flower in hand
he walked up to the roadside
looking at my garden
and asked for a live flower.
I turned him to the field
where live flowers thrived.
He gawked at them without a word.

For that, in this part of the world
I declare with pride
that though they be at a slum's backyard
or at nooks along narrow streets
or stepped upon by the obese aristocrats
my verses are immortal
my poetry is immortal!

©


The White Palace
 Matrika Pokharel

The white palace
molests the youth of Helambu
every night;
takes bath in the sweats of
Kale – the blacksmith,
and Gore – a Gharti boy!
He cannot stand the talks
of sunshine in this village.
Eight years back, one day
though it was at night
the cloud unveiled its countenance, albeit a little,
the moon showed a portion of its face
and that day
the white palace
ordered curfew!

In the palace
sarangis made out of human bone
are played
at festivals and celebrations
though off the beat!
I know not if someone knows
that human blood is offered on the altar
and children's juvenile lips
are counted among delicious meals
and the palace
blushes, swimming in a pool of blood
amidst embellishments
catered by the skulls of ancestors
and the pictures of unknown meteors and comets.
Yes, that is the beauty of the palace!

In every file of the court
each of us might verify–
he has cases filed against consciousness
and prisons offer him a witness!
These days
notified for an earthquake shortly
he gawks around.
In the midst of our settlement
he exhibits strange behaviors.
Yes, he shows different demeanors.

sarangi: a typical Nepali harp

©

What did you dream of, Chong Pang?
Matrika Pokharel

Many years back, when quite young I was
You would often say to me
'Brother! What pain could Falkland experience
compared to the pang I endure through?'
Albeit it was
in the midst of war-smoke
Falkland could perhaps get some sleep
when we were doomed to wake nightlong!
Whatever be the degree of concern,
London slumbers in deep sleep perhaps
when our villa
stays awake all through the night.
Come, if you believe not,
and look at our county;
look at the eyes of the old grannies
and look at the graceless faces of the grandpas!
In fact, in those days
Chong Pang would stay awake
throughout the night
to get some appalling news on the radio
every morning.


Just a few days back,
I looked at Chong Pang
and caressed his present.
At a time
when Kosovo was transmuting into a grave
I saw Chong Pang
writhe in pain
like the patient of a terrible heart disease.
The television however showed
that America was placid
like the statue of Buddha
and so was London
calm and unmoved!

Yesterday too
I observed Chong Pang
and searched for his future.
The shells
strewn over the slopes in Kargil
would go off on his chest
that day
with many a pair of deserted eyes
waiting for the mortal remains
of the dead ones.
I asked him
why Falkland would ache in him
in spite of the long distance in between?
Why Kosovo should
irk as a wound
and Kargil
jab as a thorn!
Answerless,
he displayed a wrinkled temple
and gawked at me!

Chong Pang should understand by now
and Nepal, the country of Chong Pang should understand
whether we are born for Falkland
or we have we grown up for Kargil.
Speak out Chong Pang,
at a time
when our own existence is at stake
would you fight for your own essence
or continue to ache for others?
Chong Pang is a county common to us.
Is Chong Pang doomed to fight
petty, selfish wars
fought at distant nooks of the earth
for puny human avarice?
Is my Nepal doomed
to fight it all?
Come on, Chong Pang, tell!
What are your dreams
for the upcoming?

©
(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


Discontinuity
Matrika Pokharel

Kale the blacksmith
finds it hard to sustain himself
in spite of day and nightlong
submersion in toils!
When with his smithy
he too sits to rest for a while
and starts contemplating over his wrinkled temple
your democracy falls into jeopardy!

Rana Kanccho
a tiller since his father's time
doesn’t merely yoke up bulls afield;
he is himself yoked up, at times.
Heat, storm or downpour
day or night
makes no much difference to him
doomed to toil ever as always
and yet
like the son of his landlord
his own son could never make it
to the school with books.
Like himself,
his son befriends the smudge
the spade and the lever
as though they came genetically!
To reckon this paradox
when Rana Kanchho
stops for a while,  away from the plough
your democracy is shaken!

With hills of his feet, all cracked
like the untilled terraces in the field
Thuli, his wife
scales from jungle to the water spout
then to the cattle shed
and the course repeats each day!
Rest? Nay, it figures not in her planner.
If medicines be named
banmara and teetepati – two weeds are hers
and she knows them too well!
If any day for any reason
she lays aside the load of fodder
along a narrow lane
and tries to decipher this ghastly cycle
take it for sure
your democracy is in danger!


With whatever you might resist the danger
with gun, or with bombs
or seek help from across the border
or extend hands beyond the seas
or chew up the consciousness within men
or roast as popcorn all shreds of probabilities!
If ever in a spring day
after the showers
when a ray of the sun appears
you see flights of locusts
think! Think deep–
many Kales will take to the street
many Rana Kanchhas will come out of home
and many Thulis will break silence.
Tell, which hole will you dent?
Tell, which palm will mend holes on the ground?

Many things can be resisted, granted
but there are equally many
that are immune to resistance.
How will you stop a storm?
How will you stop the surge of a river?

with a sod of soil
or with a stone?
This too is a rule
a harsher rule, though
one made by history.
Tell, how will you avert this danger?
How will you shoo this truth away?

banmara and teetepati: medicinal herbs

©
(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


Travelers Destined for Different Roads
Matrika Pokharel

They observed the ripples of Marsyangdi
and observed the greenery that flanked.
We decided in group
to write verses on those things
but I said
I spotted the blood of Sobhakanta
in the water of Marsyangdi
and in the greenery by its sides
found a garden of faith!

Standing on the bosom of Marshyangi
they talked of the cliffs
and I sought there for the faith of Sobhakanta.
They talked of the pure water
that formed the ebb of Marshyandi
while I sought in it
for the uncorrupt heart of Sobhakanta.
We were pilgrims of different tastes!

On the banks of Marshyandi,
they saw things like that
and I saw different things.
They looked through yellow jaundiced eyes
and I through blue ones.
We– travelers on the Marsyangdi bank.

They talked of the white cascades
flowing downhill,
colliding with the walls
along the side of Marsyangdi;
I found in those waterfalls
the throbbing of Sobhakanta's heart.
They talked of the green paddy
on the ridges that parted the terraces
while I found in them
the footmarks of Shobhakanta
and in each cottage I sought
for the essence
of his lean, dilapidated body!
Friends, you don’t need to take me otherwise;
in this season, at this place
I cannot weave verses of greenery
nor can I sing of the silver cascades.
Though we are co-travelers on the Marshyangdi bank
we are of different tastes!


©
(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)

Against Darkness
Matrika Pokharel

Darkness came following me from behind;
I kept running, and moved farther
with a trust, even graver.
He went charging upon me,
from a distance
that uniformly separated us;
he kept bombarding me
with gun, sword and shells.

As I was falling in the dark
unable to find my way
along slopes, cliffs and caves
I got a piece of candle
and lighted.
Deterred, darkness
held back in fear!
That day I came to know
darkness fears lamps
and runs away from light!

Hitherto, I didn’t run away from darkness;
rather, looked for light around–
lights of various kinds
to stand against darkness
and then, as dauntless I stood
he could no longer chase me off.
With a lamp in hand
while I spotted the lane
to retrieve my loss dignity
he kept away from me.
I aired the news to all
and since then
along with my kinsmen
I have set out
with lamps in hand
in search of light!

©
(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


Against Your Poetic Grain
Matrika Pokharel

When you name
a starving, naked man as 'civilized'
in your verse
and, eying some petty offers
you invoke the well-offs
I must write against the grain of your poetry
to save the honor of my muse!
I must write against your attitude!

As you hate verses
scribbled by beads of sweat
I too despise poems
written inside a well-furnished room
atop a mansion with marble stairs
with plans
to crush my dear sweat-beads.
I declare death of your lines
and vow to write against your poesy.


I am reading!
How sweet were your verses
when you wrote them
sitting on straw mats
gifted by Paltu Tharu!
When you wrote
after addressing your hunger
with roasted corns from Maite Kami's kiln
your verses were nascent songs of Nepal
for, you would write to reconstruct your nation.
O, how sweet would those verses be!
But these days, alas,
in Pazero you scale the city
and oblivious of your earlier love for huts
you import marble from Bangkok
and erect mansions.

These days
the mass doesn’t understand your poetry.
You write verses that befit a palace
or write ones that the mass doesn’t comprehend.
Like two edges of everything
you write for one
and I for its opposite;
you write in favour of hands
as soft as butter
and I for hands all rugged with blisters.
We are in fact, travelers of different poles;
you write against my poetry
and I against yours.

At this time
when the roof of Paltu Tharu leaks,
when rulers have intruded into the village
and are raping Devi Khadka
no, I cannot write verses
about the amorous fantasies of a princess
that roves around in the palace.

When no fire warms the kiln of Maite Kami,
when the homes of my kiths have been devastated
how can I write of the luxury of Kazi Saheb?
When courtyards of the Nepalese
have been fragmented
when Mechi, Mahakali have been robbed away
I cannot sing in the glory of Hillary Clinton.
Scold, as you may
I write for the glory of poetry
I write against the grain of your verse.

©
(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)

Snake Worship
Matrika Pokharel

Placing a whip
on the heads of reason
he said, "Long live, democracy!"
With shells strewn everywhere
he proposed for 'peace zone'
and said
'Long live, peace!'
Biting the parched bellies and naked bodies
like a cobra
he said, 'Long live patience!'
and declared that  he was Naag – the snake god
and for centuries
in this meek county
got the people to worship him.
In the name of democracy
peace and patience
he bit those that irked his eyes
as long as blood lasted in their bodies
and as they fell dead, devoid of blood
he threw their carcasses;
some on the bank of Seti
and others inside Bhiman jungle
or towards Sukhana
and many in places still uncovered.
On his part, however
he continued to make people
worship his glory as Naag–
the snake god.

Defiling the pace of change
we too continued revering him
but this time
he stripped himself, stark naked
beyond the imagined limits
till everyone could see things
and in haste
amid fears
he put on the snake-shaped cap
in his bid to hoodwink us
as he always did
and displayed a fake smile
facing us.
Once again
he talked of democracy.
In fact, he was enacting a play
wherein we inferred
he was a true serpent;
we whispered among ourselves.

This time too, however
the same danger persisted.
Helpless, we meekly listened.
How long are we going to heed?
The same danger
is still ringing, however!

©
(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)

Jaljala
Matrika Pokharel

Faith happened to blossom
even on the hilltop
and belief even on the summit.
Hand in hand with you
people happened to play
lovely games with death
as they do with sun and moon
as they do with clouds and fogs.
Jaljala!
You are after all a hill
one among thousands in my country.
But, you stand out
and I have heard songs about you
and many a time
when the sky clears its veils
when crimson turns the sky
I have turned to the west
and imagined:
Jaljala would look the same!

Jaljala
you ought to widen your lap
for, the way is still quite long
days are still afar
before we dance
arm-in-arm with the moon.

We must not be carried away
by fireflies we meet on the way
venomous hands are groping for you
from all around.
You have a fountain of life
enshrined in your bosoms
and an Everest
inside your heart.

Jaljala,
lately
a desire has besieged me
to mount atop you
and look east
and write lyrics in your name
till hearts ache deep within.

Youths
are making their way homeward
from lands far away from home
with crippled bodies
and are gazing at your height.
They must be taught
to live here, at home.

Melting like wax
at the quackery of brokers
daughters are moving in processions
to lands abroad
with mirages of great future harbored within
but doomed to burn
in blazes of carnal ravenosity!
They must be taught
of life at home.

Jaljala!
After a kiss of your summit
these days
a desire has swelled in me
to paint the face of Rana Kanchha anew
to emboss the countenance of Bindu Tharu anew!

Jaljala–
a hill that strives to change the future
you are assaulting the present!
I too have conceived
the village now as a ruin.
Like your bright eyes
I have seen the village burning.
Making your way
through the Mahabharata
you ought to be moving
towards my village
and stretch towards my county
crossing the Chure.
I will be stating witness against the present
I too will be nurturing a dream
in this village that is all but ruined
I shall, from the gutted village
pursue for a future
glorious and bright!

©
(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)



For Future
Matrika Pokharel


As chopping boards,
they have been covering pains in smiles
for centuries.
In the chilly frost of winter
we paste on the walls of future
our hearts, bruised by snow.
Lizards under cozy quilts
are distributing dreams.
First they talk of peace
and if insatiate
talk of revolution
while in other instances
right in front of our eyes
Hitlers are engaged in secret meetings
with Gandhi's stick in their hands;
shells, that smelt in the countryside till recent times
have entered the town
and hence, news about loss of men
is not surprising anymore,
nor is the news of killing
new to this land anymore.
I am in a colony of people
who nourish cute dreams
and live with terror
conspiously displayed on their countenances.
The darkness of innumerable queries
engulf the rooms here;
one need not wait for nights
to have a touch of darkness
in the present I live at.

There are woods nearby
wherefrom carcasses start reeking
as soon as spring sets in
and when gun reports come from the woods
we mourn for the lost kinsmen.
We are  witnesses–
the honors of the relatives have been forsaken;
brothers, sowing light in the field
tilled and smoothened by consciousness
are lynched forever.
At such a moment
from this colony
what can I write for you
other than slogans?
What can I make you hear?
If, inside your poetry
laden with selfish power-mongering
there is no shred of pain
at the sight of people
crushing others as though they were roads
and yet, if you claim
your verses are for beauty
I would love to write
slogans right on your eyes.

Brother porter
who bears load of salt
from Katari to Solu, far way
breaks the news aired by the radio
amid smiles.
Who doesn’t know
that reading newspaper
and vacantly looking at forlorn riverbanks
is but the same, now?
One needs no time telling
if it's news or a play on the television.
With slogans that have gradually crept
into the village from the woods
trusts are shattering,
and yet, there is no meaning
of ceasing to weave dreams
at a time
when a ruler
that enters the Singha Durbar in a hearse
for fear of revolt
advertises for his own bright future;
at a time
when proposals have been made
to import foreign vultures into our forest.
As long as a drop of blood
lasts in our bodies
we shall be fighting for future;
some of us as processions
and some as slogans
or still some others of us as poems
as though we were born to fight.
We shall always be fighting for future!

©
(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)

Tribute of the Juvenile Moons
Matrika Pokharel


I have more flowers to plant
for tribute to be offered tomorrow.

Two years back
I extended the garden
and planted some immortal flowers.
Mom asked for a few blossoms
to offer at the temple
and in fact, I wanted to give her some.
But thought deep–
in fact, thought hard
and inferred
their fall would be the fall of Sagarmatha
and of course, the fall of all my faith.
That year
all flowers grown in the heart
I offered as tributes to the juvenile moons.

Last year
I widened the garden
and planted new breed flowers
in the paddy field.
Daughter asked for some blossoms
to place on here locks.
That year too
I kept no flower for myself
for, all went in offering
as homage to the juvenile moons
till my garden turned bare!


And this year
my peers – all of the same age
decided to carry
loads of light
along a long, long way.
I am contemplating
that if ever their faith crumbles
that shall be the fall of civilization!

How can I, then
afford flowers from such a small garden
to be offered to juvenile moons
as homage for the coming year?

I have yet new flowers to plant
to be offered in homage for tomorrow!

©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


The Eyes of Swayambhu
Matrika Pokharel


Beloved poet 'Icchuk'!
On one of those days that have become history
a few days before you were killed
we are together – you and I
and with a pair of underground hands
you had scribbled a couple of sleepless dreams
at this very place
where, under the eyes of Swambhu
I am at present
seeking  for those days
albeit in recollections!

Beloved poet 'Icchuk'!
When the news of your murder
reached villages and counties
like a momentous storm
the eyelashes of all seekers of a bright sky
were simultaneously soaked
and villages, tired of scarcities
wept along with me.
Papers sold more copies
for carrying the news of your demise.
The hapless people wept at your end
until their tears gathered to form a Gandaki –
yes, they were the same people
whose future you are seeking
even after your demise
the way people search for saligrams
in Kaligandaki.
Children sang mourning songs.

Beloved poet 'Icchuk'!
All these happened at the news of your murder!

A day after your murder
I asked the keen eyes of Swayambhu
whether a sun
with an old bag
and a lean body
roamed around, thither
as it did a day or so
earlier in the past.
I asked further
if a moon with sweet dreams
came that way, or not.
Have you seen
the foot marks of his murder?
Mounted on the top of this hill
did you recognize
the corpse of my beloved poet?
Tell o, the great eyes of Swayambhu!
You were, for sure a witness,
when my beloved poet was killed.
Did you ever see him around?

©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)

Trails – 1
Matrika Pokharel

Nightlong, we would remain sleepless
talking about the day
and he, shut in a room
talked of night daylong.
We talked of the moon
for the upcoming
and he, housed in a corner,
sang of darkness.
Gradually, he thought of building
a swimming pool
filled with sweat
and looked at the crimson blood
of the orphaned mass
as something
as worthless as the red water
in a balloon
played with at the time of Holi.
And from that very moment
separate roads got carved out
one for him, and one for us
different routes of life.

We scribbled the dreams of Dukhiya Tharu
and made plans to quench his hunger;
we drew the reality of Kajiba,
hewed out a little from his obese belly
and dented a little, there.
He got startled with us.
Seeing the future of children
nurturing dreams on the street,
we wrote out our worries;
he shook on seeing us
and from that moment
new routes opened to us
and came up new plans.
Against him,
we drew separate new routes of life
straight and clear
for life that was otherwise crooked.


©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


Trails – II
Matrika Pokharel

Ghosts are
leading the way from the front
with headlights on.
Clearing the way,
the leopards are nodding their heads
basking in the sun upon pine boles.
I loathe their path,
for, in the illusion for them
we were robbed of our dreams
and we are in a funeral procession
of our own forsaken dreams!
I can see
that to our front
a black snake raises its hood
waiting for its prey
and is managing accounts for those
who stray along wrong trails.
Those who rob children of their tiffin
do not take to broad, public routes
and those who come to procure the throne
keep a different path.
Those who return
too keep a different, worse route
on their way back after killing and plundering.
Vultures, on the top of the palace
are installing their binoculars
and are adding and slashing
inferences about the trail we keep.
When moss fills those wrong trails,
they make assaults on our trails, all of a sudden
and wage bloody war.
We must ready ourselves
for the war;
for, we must safeguard our trail
our own beloved trail!


©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


Trails – III
Matrika Pokharel

Jackals in white dresses
are forwarding proposals
for animal husbandry;
owls, safe in tree holes
are distributing dreams
of national reconstruction.
Chewing betel
the crowd is, as ever, clapping
and I observe the cruel reality
from behind
and caress myself, front and back.
Nearby, a few yards away
a victor stands on the chest of a warrior
hit by a bullet, and fallen aground;
his gun ready, he is demanding
all powers of the morrow!
The charioteers I am looking for
are at the main road
I shout to them
with the best of my might
but why?
Yes, on the edge of the road are they
the charioteers I seek for!
They are fit
to walk along this route
and yet, they are on the edge.

Standing on the fringe of the road
they showed me a way
that moved ahead
and said
how is this road?
They didn’t praise the road
as do leaders at election times.
A beautiful trail
with none of the advertisements
lay by my side;
yes the one I was looking for
for years.
We cleaned its edges
and related new tales of creation there
and, cloaked under the widowed sky
for many nights, we wove sweet futures;
and talked about our faiths.
This road,
made of immortal metals
was beyond my imaginations
and at last
I found for myself a beautiful trail
and that was my beloved trail!

©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


A Glimpse of the Voyage
Matrika Pokharel

When, just yesterday
they entered the Singha Durbar
showing us a different way
and just now
tired of a long journey
they drank water from Tukuche
and headed north
through the Durbar Marg,
we stopped for a while
on our ways
seeing wounds of tumbling
they forced upon history.

For years bygone
the harvest of treachery
was aplenty
and now, those who collected the yield
are drawing farmhands into the palace!
Adding fruit juice in human tears
they are holding a feast
with human tongue and brain cooked alongside.
Pale like a jaundiced guy,
our companions of yester years
are attending the banquet
amid demonic laughters!

The previous year
the harvest of treachery
was affluent too!
Recently,
after they pawned our reason
and ascended the dark stairs of selfishness
and after they stabbed
the bosoms of our faith
we stared at the wounds
they inflicted upon us,
and stopped for a while
on our journey.

These days,
I detest scaling the Durbar Marg.
At times, we come across
relatives of yester years
who once  waited to sell
our heads for some puny pelf!
It is not easy
to talk a little
or to smile a little
with those who are awaiting death.
Of late,
I therefore detest
to walk along the Durbar Marg.
Molesting our dreams
just now
the patients of jaundice
have moved northward.
This time
seeing the wound they inflicted
we stopped for a while
on our journey.

©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


The Plight of a Priest
Matrika Pokharel

Every morning
I go to the Sahid Gate
to show my obeisance
but a shameless bust I loathe
that sits above the statues of the martyrs
forwards its neck
to receive the garland first.
I am an unfortunate priest
of the Sahid Gate!

I am ready, rather
to walk uphill on the Sailung slope
with flowers of the woods
in honor of those who die for future
but I don’t, at the least wish
to adorn a loathsome history
with garlands.
Henceforth
it is of no worth
coming to the Sahid Gate
to honor the martyrs.
It would be far better
to make Sahid Gates
on the bare lawns in our villages.

I can reckon
that surveyors are making plans
to erect a throne
above the head of the martyrs.
I am an unfortunate priest of the Sahid Gate.

Yet,
mounted on stallions
Junga Bahadurs
are staring from behind
at the martyrs' statues at Sahid Gate.
Every night at Tudhikhel
meetings are called for
to make plans to crush my faith
and in one of its scenes
I have frequently seen
Narasamsher raising his finger.
I must, now
erect a new statue
of martyrs with swords in hand
and place it atop the Dharahara
or on lawns in my own village.
I, an unfortunate priest of the Sahid Gate!


Sahid Gate: a gate in Kathmandu constructed in honor of four martyrs who were hanged by the Ranas for pro-democracy movement
©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


Landslide
Matrika Pokharel


Raising arms of animosity upon the hills
and hewing its bosoms with saws of disaster
why are people
masked by the caps of postmodernity,
worshipping landslide?
I am mad with rage
as though I were flames rising out of wildfire!

***

Why should people worship  landslide anymore?
Kathmandu has endured through Jogimara;
the wounds at Krishnaveer too are no less acute.
Tarai too is inundated by the crumbling Durkshim.
Why should people, yet, keep worshipping landslides?
The same, antique reality of terror
the same, old slide
on the top of the hill
and the same old village on the base
drowsing with heavy lids at dusk
still besiege me, time and again!
At the moment
the slide is scaling the hill-hump
and I am at the quadrivial,
waiting for a new procession
with worries for a new age.

***

I, the Mahabharata
am hailing a new morrow
with flowers of novelty in hand–
such a morrow,
wherein, no landslide
renders any village a ruin
hewing the chest of hills like us;
a morrow that doesn’t push us back to primitivism
and that day
together with me
the children shall read
a history of untold cruelties.


©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)

The Firmament of Friendship
Matrika Pokharel


Between him and me
a cloud of mistrust
hangs like ozone layer!

***

He ever carries stones in his pocket
to break street lamps;
he wants to rear the town
like a dark night.
I could not, together with him
announce my assault upon the street lamps
I had rather pined
to assemble small, holed ruins
and cottages
and forge them into a new, safe home
nor could I, together with him
renounce my dreams to make for the nation
a sweet home.
Gradually so
like the west-heading sun
our friendship waned
and slowly
the cerulean hue of the firmament
diluted!


***


With velvet shoes
he would constantly trample
the candles of hope
that I wanted to kindle;
the cobras
that have just been imported
would make plots to bite my dreams;
he would keep
patting their backs.
We had no freedom
to dream of picking celestial stars
nor could we dream
that our starving kinsmen have been fed.
I could not, like him
bomb the bridges of heart
that carried uniform dreams.
Rectified though with one
the bridges of the heart
often gets
snapped with others.

***

Between him and me
a cloud of mistrust
hangs like the ozone layer!

***
©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


In Search of a New Morn
Matrika Pokharel


I could not make marbles
to embellish stairs of palaces
by snapping the dreams of juvenile eyes!
Yes, as you say, I am different from you.
As you hang
a portrait of division from your neck
I also have furled
a new morn of faith
upon my eyes irking with compulsion
and in it, you need not have any doubt.

Merely for pleasing you
I can not readily drink
the filthy scum of the puddle
taking it for fresh water;
nor can I dive into the pool of sweat
just because we are co-travelers.
I can not pluck
feathers off my pigeons that long for free flight
and make the inside fur of my shoes.
Your doubts are legitimate!
To villages suffocated by heat
I too have invited a fresh, new breeze!

***

Long back, I had told you
that your dying horses
can no more trot and rule
as they did in starving villages
those days!
They will be impotent
to procreate anymore
in order to perpetuate
your loathsome rule.
By wishing long life to your stallions
I can not invite in this cold county
a fog that veils juvenile suns.
I cab never deliver
a forged statement
against the evolving new age.
In result however,
if you desire
I am ready to scale mountains of scarcity.
But I reiterate
with history as my witness
that, I could never make
dolls of the young dreaming eyes of children
and play with them.

©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)

Mosquitoes from Delhi
Matrika Pokharel


With conscience of flames
from sizzling fire
we have repeatedly been marching
in processions of revolt
but every single day
seated safely on the decayed bole of an old accord
some mosquitoes from Delhi
constantly step upon our moves.

***

We are barred
even from peeking into our homes
with a handful of light
doomed as though we are
to keep for him
all of our rooms dark
and banned as though we are
from giving rest to our eyes
longing to clean the filth
puked out by history;
restricted as though we are
from bearing noses
that cherish odors of the free soil.
With proboscis
sharp enough to penetrate
thick sweaters
always roaming around
on the peaceful bosom of your village
are these mosquitoes from Delhi
that come beating the drum of terror.


They plot plans to shoot
not only the sizzling Madhesh

but also the chilly, snowy hills.
They reach the Sagarmatha
attempting to bite our pride.
They don’t allow us
even a short spell of honored sleep
nor do they grant us
a brief session of dreams
in self respect.
We try, from Lipu Lake
to release a pair of white pigeons
and they sting on their wings
with venomous snouts.
We, at this moment,
are scribbling questions within ourselves too:
why are people nurturing
a swarm of mosquitoes from Delhi?
We are all drenched in hatred
like the present age
as though it were not an age of reason
or age of self-respect
or of freedom.
Attacking unhesitatingly and shamelessly
upon this age
are the mosquitoes of Delhi.

©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)

Of Dreams and Torches
Matrika Pokharel


These days, in the village
a news repeatedly haunts:
the news of the loss
of Comrade Kanchan's torch.
At the moment
shocked as we are
we incessantly talk
of the lost torch.


Our village
is old
in the same way as you saw it
the way you felt it.
In the night
that gradually wanes
we the villagers
gather splinters to ward off cold
and sit, shocked
talking of comrade Kanchan's lost torch.

***

Sometimes
sitting around the fireplace
and at times on the porch
or on the ridge down the farmyard
we talk of the lost, old torch
for, we still love it.
When comrade Kanchan would light the same
and knock on our doors
towards midnight
we would envision the rising moon
from our porches
all strewn with poverty.
Who could have stolen
such a torch of comrade Kanchan?
Who could have forsaken
the  beloved moon of our porch?

From our village
we have aired a news to the town:
for comrade Kanchan
we are ready to squeeze our purses
and collect money.
Comrade Kanchan!
Buy torch anew, once again
for, the dark night is still dangerous.
We are ready
to forgo meals;
the dark night looks
for opportunities to assault.
In the light of your torch
we are impatient
to scale the Sagarmatha;
at the moment
greatly worried we are
Comrade Kanchan!
We are receiving news
that you have ceased dreaming of light
with the loss of the torch.
Comrade Kanchan!
News reaching the village says
no shred of darkness appeared on your face
at the loss of the torch.
This has, today
made us even more upset.

***

When dreams lose,
man happened to wear
a different countenance.
©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


Odor of the Soil
Matrika Pokharel


In this soil
I have detected, as you do
the odor of my ancestor's toil.

**

The tales your forefathers told
and annals our grandfather related
we had listened to, together.
Did you forget it all?
You must have in mind
a story
your great grandpa told
as we sat near him
around the fireplace.
It seems
that it was just a while ago
that my great grandparents died
together with yours
while clearing forest
in this part of the world.
While populating this land of ours
my granddad had in seven days
died of malaria.
Fresh are stories told by grandma
about survival
over a handful of corn
roasted in an earthen pot
with gunruk in a tapari
that your grandfather saved for hard times.
Who could have fenced
our friendship
with villainous barbed wire of bitterness?
These days,
you are moving away from me.

***

As plains sizzled with heat,
my ancestors
together with yours
had walked uphill
with a pair of oxen
singing songs of Ubhauli
and as the hills shivered in winter
with their ploughs and spades
they had descended to the plains
singing songs of Udhauli.
As they came to this water spout,
to fill their pitchers
my sister had crooned
Sorathi with your sister Sumnima.
In this jungle
as they came to chop wood
my brother has sung Selo
together with your brother Paruhang
and I remember it all
with no error at all.
Who could have fenced
our friendship
with villainous barbed wire of bitterness?
These days,
you are moving away from me.

***
In the soil they kneaded
to build the main home of yours
we can still smell
the toil of our grandfathers;
our window frames
still bear the images of Ram and Sita
your great grandfather carved.
The ghats where our old folks were cremated
and the yards where yours were buried
are equally antique.
One tired evening
weary of weeding corn in the field
the tales our folks told
sitting on the farm side,
are still fresh in each of us
for we had listened together.
Rummaged if are bases
of these settlements
one can still find marks
of the feet of forerunners yours
together with those of mine.
Who could have fenced
our friendship
with villainous barbed wire of bitterness?
These days,
you are moving away from me.


Together we heard
every tale of history
we were told in every repose
after some walk.
The new age
conceived afresh just now
waits for soul to be infused;
new hearts are yet to be installed
and no brains have been planted yet,
let alone the question of
new hands, and newer feet.
Come, away from this forest of clamor
I will tell you tales of times
when our lives just made a start.
For, in this soil
I have detected, as you do
the odor of my ancestor's toil.

©
UbhauliUdhauli: Kirat festivals, celebrated with typical songs
Sorathi: a typical folk song, often accompanied by dance
Sel: a song sung with accompanying drum often sung by Tamangs of Nepal
ghats: cremation grouds on river banks



(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


Conditions
Matrika Pokharel

I am ready
to follow them;
only that, they must possess eyes.
I am, in fact, ready
to pursue them
but, they must have robust feet
to climb mountaintops.
It has been years
that I have been searching
for bright eyes
and robust feet
on the part of those who lead.

Yes, I had in fact denied
to follow the blind.
It is true that I rejected
lame ones from the race.
I have expressed my dissent
many a time
and finally,
written it
in the form of this poem.

I am ready
to heed to their guidance.
Only that
they must possess
a dedication
for a long, long trip.

©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)

Faces
Matrika Pokharel

In front of me
stands a face
that with votive smear all over the forehead
walks everyday to human slaughterhouse
with weapons in hand.
That face –
can with no daunt
smear black soot on the statute
and can draw up plans
to mount a hill of corpses;
it can put
gorgeous, silky, foreign rags
onto its dogs
and can gift to sluts
costly, bejeweled watches
with gold and diamond.
No spider weaves a web
at his home
and no mud, smudge or dung
reaches it, clung to his shoes.
Aromatic is the air
with perfume
sprayed all around the bed
but alas
of all faces on earth
I hate this the most!

Another face awaits
very near to me.
It is Ritthe Gharti
who bears the face, right now.
The face,
beset by loads of their master's daughters
walking to their husaband's,
carried barefoot all through Tarai
along the blacktopped road
O, how pleased he was
that evening
with a belly fully fed
and how joyous was the time!
Lucky he thought he was
for having a time to rest
albeit for a short while
near the mansion.
Reeking is his sink,
and reeking is the body
just back home from toils
but, of all faces on earth
I love his face the most.


Of late,
innumerable faces
are taking to the streets
with barrages of conscience
on the verge of breaking!
At present
against some faces
other faces, in a great number
are uniting into fronts.
The east,
they are gazing
in anticipation of a bright future
is my future too.
At the moment
a lot of love swells in me
for the face borne by Ritthe Gharti
and many faces similar to that.
©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


All Will Look Fair
Matrika Pokharel


All will look fair
as long as
horses with loads of black stones
climb mountaintops;
birds fall from the sky
and frogs, with feathers pasted on them
enter the Singha Durbar;
taking the water of Tukucha in their palms
as long as the the pundits of today
initiate a debate
on the purity of water;
mounted on lions
deer compass long journeys,
owls take positions on the holy dais
to sing the glory of the sun
and the present
with cruel destiny of history
flows like Bagmati
everything shall look true.

Yes, everything will look true
as long as doctors in the hospital
fail to tell
a living man from a dead one;
helpless politicians file cases
in the courts of law
to safeguard their principles;
rain washes their shrine away,
till in the pure well of water
in the village
colorful pouches of acid
are mixed.
Yes, all these shall continue
to look true
till yellow hue thrives in our blood.
Everything shall be ordinary
as long as a color
yellow like that of shroud
persists on our eyes.
Till that moment,
almost everything shall appear true.

©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


Tukucha
Matrika Pokharel

The water of Tukucha
must be reeking to many
as it does to me.

Drop any foot in Tukucha these days
it is sure
that it gets filthier
or wash however technical a head
it grows fouler;
wash clothes as you might wish
they shall get dirtier
for Tukucha these days
is no longer like in the past.

Tukucha is
no longer like tales in history.
It has been long
since it started
carrying away  fetus of virgin blood.
Putrefying corpses in sacks
and decaying human heads
are blueprints in his planner.

Years back
it would play with farmers
reposed on its banks
and return home at dusk
with mud and smudge all over;
ruled though by Singha Durbar
every night
it would love to join the farmers
on their stage
and unbosom its grievances to them.
But, as it turned a ruler with time
it started reeking.

Tukucha these days
doesn’t flow towards Bagmiti
responding to the sweet melody
of Sinajyamme;
forcing people to veil their noses
it rushes and hides itself
in the army barrack.
Tukucha these days
does not beckon Bekhaman
to plant a piece of land with paddy
but invites
a gang of smugglers
to erect luxury dens
along its banks.

Tukucha these days
is no longer like good old days.
It is no longer lovely.

©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


The Terror of a Bonnet
Matrika Pokharel

At this moment
when a storm besieges the world
once again, as in history
an insane,
has fled from the asylum from the backdoor
with a rusted bonnet on head
and walked into our village.
In the pages of the present, therefore
we are busy
writing the history
of the terror of a bonnet!

The lunatic asylum is well provided
and it has all amenities;
its four walls
are more affluent than Europe
or more well-off than America.
After many years
a leader of the insanes
silently sneaked out from a backdoor
with the dear, old rusted bonnet!
And, ever since he walked out of the four walls
the village is shaken by terror
and the town besieged by fright.

His bonnet-terrorism
has, at the moment
entered the village through a town
and the town is all dejected
due to the terror.
The clubs have closed at dusk
and so have five star hotels,
and shopping complexes.
These days
the village shakes
in terror of the bonnet-fright
and the town
before midday
gathers to oppose the terror.
At this time of tempest
an insane has walked out of the asylum
with an antique bonnet
smeared with blood
and almost toppled aground
by a forceful suh of wind
and has entered our village.

From the old, rusted helmet
drops of blood are constantly falling;
the face of the insane
is fully deformed.
His rules
are measuring success
with the number of individuals slain
but he shamelessly puts the bonnet on.
Once again
an insane bonnet
toppled aground many a time
by gushes of wind in history
has entered our village.

In the pages of the present, therefore
we are busy
writing the history
of the terror of a bonnet!

©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


A Picture of the Future
Matrika Pokharel

On the wall are many portraits!
There are Marx
Buddha and Gandhi
and fathers and mothers
living lonely lives in the village.
In a showcase
just under the pictures
are bottles of duty-free Black Label
and are silver recipes
and glass symbols
important from London
to the city house.

Every evening, some people
with dulled intellect
look at all the pictures
over wine and roasted chicken;
then they look at the parents' portraits
and gawk  for a moment.
In fact,
they have no care for the pictures.
The mark of hands
that arranged gunruk
and corn and grit
to be sent to their study places
are not reflected on the portraits.
It has been years
that the portraits
dull and shabby
hang on a wall in the city.

During father's days
the grandpa would be seen coughing
on a bed, nearby
but the walls would not bear
his picture.
These days, the father
coughs out of consumption
breaking the stillness of the night
in the village
and with every bark of the dog
the mother locks terror
in her girdle cloth
and embraces the darkness!
But a picture of theirs
taken decades back
hangs safely on a town wall.
There in the village
the parents are
as unsafe as the village itself.
I am, at the moment
thinking of a new morrow
when, we would not at any cost
lie on the cots;
during the days of our children
I know not, though
whether our portraits will hang
on their walls.
What will happen on the morrow?
In the past
people loved people
and these days, in the town
people love portraits.
What will happen of us
tomorrow
when the time of our children comes?

©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)




Tomorrow
Matrika Pokharel
Decided we are
to make a flag
out of a shirt, blotted by clots –
the souvenir of the brothers' feud.
Also decided we are
to stage a procession with the flag
to stitch with threads of victory
the tattered hearts of mothers
who have lost their children;
to irrigate the plants
dying of landslide
with a canal-full of water of faith;
to light up the decayed roads
for a newer future
to die today and live for tomorrow
yes, to die today for a better tomorrow.

***

Today, we have decided
to make plans for tomorrow
for, we know,
that shall not come to us
fee of cost!
We shall sing
the lore of the sacrifices of stars
that shall bring us such days.
We have plans
to dictate new songs to school children.
Stones on the way lie aplenty
stumbling upon which
we have fallen at places often.
We shall break and smoothen them;
we shall today
scale the indomitable hills of trouble
for the sake of tomorrow.
We shall make fresh designs
with voices
that have for decades been following us;
yes, we shall make tomorrow a brand new day!

***

Tomorrow
we shall manage all odds at home
and burn the garbage around.
For years
a ring of cowitch
hangs down your neck;
we shall set it on bonfire
at the village chautari
and touch newer moons!
Tomorrow
we will beget a new Nepal!

©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


I am Searching for Another Amlekhgunj
Matrika Pokharel

Once again
we need to emancipate
some new heads;
I am therefore
searching for a new Amlekhganj –
the land for the emancipated.

They keep drawing
barbed wire along my ways
and that is the only task they execute.
They dig out ditches
along the path I keep
and that is the only longing they harbor.
Those heads
have no approval
for a new moon;
those hearts
have no trust in the sky of equality.
It is a duty on their part
to guide me to filthy puddles.
They appear
in my front
on black curtains sometimes
and on red or yellow at times.
Sometimes they appear
hiding their faces.
I have thought of an alternative now:
I am looking for a new place
the Amalekhgunj of our century.

The Amlekhgunj
they searched out in the past
was for hearts desirous of freedom;
the one that I
at this moment look for
is for hearts
dying to get enslaved.

Some heads
are dissipating pollution
with their faith anchored to a haunted house
that stands since long
in the heart of the town
and is constantly crumbling
and, they have tied
the hands of the progressing clock
with a chain
and are pulling it back.
At the moment
I am looking for a new Amlekhgunj
for those heads.

©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)


Singha Durbar
Matrika Pokharel

For me
Singha Durbar
and magic places
are the same!

***

They entered the Singha Durbar
cloaked by a bakkhu
made from the martyr's hair.
At the moment
with frightened eyes
I am gazing at the Durbar's gate
to see if
like in the past
they have put on a bastard's hide
on their return.
O, how has the Singh Durbar changed these days
in the pace our villas and towns change?
I am terrified by its ways!

***

Singha Durbar is in the town
and my village is fed up of its power;
it sends a leader to Singha Durbar
with a carrying pan
to fetch salt;
the leader
with a load of gold
puts up near Singha Durbar.
To feed its starving populace
my village sends a leader to Singha Durbar
with a sack to fetch cereals;
Singh Durbar reifies the worth of his head
and the leader owns a homestead
in the vicinity of the Durbar.
The Singh Durbar
I have been hearing of
and reading of in history
is a proficient magic place;
anyone who enters it
finds his color changed,
manner altered,
and the whole transfigured.

***

For me
Singha Durbar
and magic places
are the same!
©


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)



Banphool and Dreams
Matrika Pokharel

I am banphool – the wild flower!
For centuries
my petals have been smoldered
by the snow of poverty
and defamation!
On the frontier of civilizations
I have many a time
fallen, injured
and humiliated.
If I had not
shouldered the age, in spite of all that
how would we have touched the moon?
Enduring through the chilling present
I have invited everyone
to bask in the cozy sun
on the slope.
I am Setu Sunar!
I don’t have a different dream
away from the one we dream of together.

My forefathers
didn’t see the land
just above the ditch
and I refused to step
upon it.
I am Setu Sunar!

To put a ladder
of sacrifice
to transcend the ditch
I also launched my first step
on  the auspicious moment
of a new journey we planned.
I believe in the strength of drops
I believe in the odor of the sun
I believe in the pace of the wind
I am Setu Sunar!
I believe in a morrow of equality
for, I am one like you.
I have some reservation
with flowers in the garden.

My dear relatives!
Keep advising the morrow's time occasionally
no wart should develop anymore.
Do not sing mourning songs
when I am on the move
and when my little kids
grow old enough to understand,
tell them
that their mother has gone
to the sea
to ensure that the dreams of their blue eyes
are all fulfilled.
I have no palace of avarice
for I am banphool – a flower of the woods!
I have a little reservation
with flowers in the garden.

A weed
that my parents overlooked
grew into a  massive venom tree;
I am enraged
to see its expanse in lush
and get maddened
at the past.
I am Setu Sunar!
I raised a ladder
of sacrifice
to rise above the ditch.
Dear relations!
I am a wild flower!
Yes, I am Setu Sunar.
I don’t have a dream
different than yours, far way!


(Setu Sunar is a martyr, who attained martyrdom at the then Gyanendra Chowk in Nepalgunj, on Baisakh 4, 2063 during Peoples Movement – II. Later, the demonstrators named this place Sahid Setu Bika Chowk in honor of martyr Sunar)


(Translation: Mahesh Paudyal)

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