Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ki Pucchde Ho Haal

What draws me to Shiv Batalvi’s poetry is his unflinching truthfulness. What keeps me rooted is the warm intimacy of his poetic voice, completely without artifices. In this attempt at transcreating his poem Ki Puchhde Ho Haal Fakiran Da I have again sacrificed exact meanings in order to capture the directness and beauty of how the original work feels in Punjabi.

Don’t Ask After Us Fakirs

Don’t ask after us
We are fakirs
We are waters separated
From source
We are rivers of loss

I know what they call life
Is a composition of colours
I did not realise
Adding the colour of love
Would discolour it.

Many loves were given to me
But not the love I craved
This was inscribed in four lines
Upon my palm
This, then, was my fate.

Our destiny comes entwined
With us
How then could I escape it?
Though I did not leave my home
Or roam for love in tatters
Being a forsaken lover
Was my fate

Now I worship pain
At sorrow’s feet I genuflect
The world calls me a heretic
Yet it listens to my songs
Again and again

In gatherings I come across
As too arrogant
It is the pride of knowing
How well I have loved
And how much I have suffered

You call yourselves
I call myself a lover
Let’s go to the people now
And ask them
Whose truth they believe in.

To hear this in Shiv's own voice:

No comments:

Post a Comment