Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bhatti Valliye

I have just woken up to the beauty of Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s poetry in Punjabi. Well better late than never. As my father used to often say, “jab jago tab savera”. Since I’m the kind of bird that sings at dawn, bear with me as I post another trans-creation, quick on the heels of the last one. This one is based on Shiv’s poem Peeran Da Paraaga (Pan of Sorrows). There is a song based on it sung by Asa Singh Mastana, among others, called Bhatti Waliye. Again, this is not a direct translation. I have tried to capture in my rendering the spirit of the piece, not its exact words. Words and phrases don’t translate well across languages, emotions and ideas do. So here it is:



Tender of The Fire


O tender of the fire
Roast my bundle of sorrows
in your flame
In tears I will pay you

The evening is setting
The cows have come home
from grazing the fallows
The birds are squawking
The shadows are falling
Hurry, please it’s time
for me to go.

O tender of the fire
O woman with the scent
of the champa flower
my sorrows are at your feet
tend to them sweet

Quick, set my grief
to roast
the road is difficult
the distance long
to the village
where my companions
have all gone
The bundle is at your feet

O tender of the fire
O woman with the scent
of the champa flower
my sorrows are at your feet
tend to them sweet

Why is it as my turn came
your fire lost its heat?
The wood is damp,
The container wet
The embers are sputtering
The sparks are dying
My bundle at your feet

O tender of the fire
O woman with the scent
of the champa flower
my sorrows are all yours
tend to them sweet

I do not ask for much
My request is small
Deal with me quickly
And set me free
Roast my grief well
Give me the charred remains
I have no heart to haggle further
Take this bundle at your feet

O tender of the fire
O woman with the scent
of the champa flower
my sorrows seek your ministration
tend to them sweet


The wind has gone to sleep
done with its weeping
Upon the stars in the sky
a slow fever is creeping
Like a wedding procession
without a bridegroom
my life has lost
its enthusiasm for breathing

Hurry sweet, hurry please
Give me my release
In tears I shall repay you

O tender of the fire
O woman with the scent
of the champa flower
my sorrows lie at your feet
tend to them sweet


To hear the song as sung by Asa Singh Mastana:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the combo of Shiv and Asaji.

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