Three poets, three poems from Nepal: Tulasi Diwasa, Usha Sherchan and Govinda Giri Prerna

Today, I present three poems by three poets from Nepal. 

‘Sun and Cobweb’ by Tulasi Diwasa

Tulasi Diwasa is a prominent name in modern Nepali poetry. He has authored a dozen books on literature, folk culture and folklore of various tribes in Nepal. He served as professor of Nepali Literature at Tribhuwan University for several years. He has also served as Cultural Secretary at the Nepalese Embassy in the USA and taught as a visiting professor at various universities abroad. He is a life member of Nepal Academy and the President of the Nepali Folklore Society (NFS).

Tulasi Diwasa

Sun and Cobweb

Old sun-
a splinter bounced from Time’s mountain
perhaps a black spider
now
caught in the day’s branches
knits a web consistently
drawing lines of demarcation
in the remaining time
even in that little yellow sky-
a falling splinter
blown down by the winds
to the crevice of the tree
growing within me!

From the small woods of the weeks and months
to the dense forests of centuries
tangled shafts of light–
loose, undulating,
some nestled in the smoky beams
and outside
straying around in thoughts
linger,
others stay huddled quietly
in some corner
where the left-over sky
sunk into the minds
bends!

The old sun
a splinter bounced from Time’s mountain
perhaps a black spider
now
hanging from the day’s branches
knits consistently a web
in the remaining time
drawing lines of demarcation
even in that little yellow sky-
a falling splinter
blown down by the winds
to the crevice of the tree
growing within me!

Translated by Abhi Subedi

‘Life in the begging bowl of death’ by Usha Sherchan

Usha Sherchan is a celebrated poet, lyricist and fiction writer. Usha Sherchan is known for her writings on women and LGBTIQ issues. Ms. Sherchan, born in 1955, has published three poem collections, one short story collection, five albums containing her lyrics, and a novel ‘Adhi’ which has recently been published. With 14 awards and 17 literary recognitions to her credit for her contributions to the field of Nepali literature, she is affiliated with several literary organisations and actively involved in various literary activities in the country.

Usha Sherchan

Life in the begging bowl of death  

Emptiness. emptiness. ultimate emptiness
in a gigantic cage
locked vehicles keep rolling
transporting empty passengers
transporting empty breasts
in the silence, one hears wails and sobs
covered volcanoes
in the emptiness, lives and deaths
become accursed

Lives are making merry
deaths are joking and jesting
from close up, all re-examine the other
carrying pathetic laughter
piercing with frightful cries
From the space between fingers
pitiful life peeks out
death peeks out as well
In a voice that breaks in unison from the gutter
life also flows
life also flows
voices cry in unison
voices slice time
(perform an operation)

Don’t get in a frenzy to kill the foetus
before rays of hope get to shine
don’t get in a rage to set the dam
before tides of emotion get to flow
Allow life to play without thought for propriety
shattering the long emptiness
breaking the long silence
allow life to turn over
allow life to gain a new dimension

To make anticipation rest
the nerves have begun tingling
insensibility has begun to take hold
Play with such force that all the
strings break
don’t let life get intoxicated
Sing with such power that the
raga breaks
don’t let life become insensible

Don’t let emptiness quash
Don’t let silence prickle
Colour life by playing
the strings of a guitar
Break the emotions by rubbing
the sharp strings of a sitar

So that all becomes bloody-
Make life awake from the dream
realms
with the piercing of instrument
strings
Come, demolish the emptiness.
Awaking from a dream.
Come, demolish the emptiness.
Awakening from a dream.

Oh! Who’s trying to break
through again
-these soft waves
Oh! Why are they laughing again
-these frightful deaths
Look! Those who plot to take life
by tricking it into laughter
Look! Those who plan to take
life
by flirting with life
Look! Those who think of taking
life
by playing with life

There. look
There. look
Death just sauntered by
leaving behind anticipation
Death just turned away
taking with it sweet hope

Translated by: Manjushree Thapa

‘Mother’ by Govina Giri Prerna

Govinda Giri Prerana, born in 1958 in Nepal, is a renowned poet, lyricist, novelist and story writer. He made his debut in writing in 1977 with the publication of his story “Kinara”. He now has six story collections, five collections of poems, four novels and two collections of essays to his credit. He has also edited a number of compilations. Some of his translations also appeared in publications. He has contributed a number of stories to various collections, periodicals, and journals.

Govinda Giri Prerna

Mother

Here’s a chilling instance of taming a daughter-in-law.
A woman—ready to deliver any moment
goes out to gather fodder
fills her basket with utter difficulty
gathers turfs,
added to the burden inside the belly
is the load of grass on the back
a surge of perspiration drips
down the earlobes
the load of sweats from the back
flow down, towards her petticoat
the feet are bare; there’s no slippers
It’s Tekkar Bhansari—some three hours’ drive from the capital
and three ages removed from luxury and amenities
The pang of a neel-kada spine stuck in the feet
pain from inside the belly
the anxiety of half-sleep
the anxiety whether the child will be born alright
memory of those born and departed
love for those born and survived
o, what will happen to her now!
Worries knock her down aground.
With torrents of perspiration dripping down
as she reaches the front-yard
right in the middle of it
she is driven by labor pain
so acute that it drives her half-dead;
intact is the burden on the back
and so is the one inside
as she throws the fodder load
on the edge of the porch
crushing with her feet the fading sights

That moment
right at that moment
she happens to throw on the yard
the nine-month-old burden from the belly;
a commotion ensues all over the house
and before it sneaks into the neighborhood
she hears emanating from an impenetrable forest of pain
a juvenile voice of the newborn!

That child—emanating that faint cry
was none but I;
away from those hills that vouchsafed by first cry
I am today ascending the heights of my dreams
amid commotions in America;
the mother that bore the load on her back
perhaps survives faintly in the firmament of memory
yes, once in the firmament, once away from the earth
off to a world beyond reach and beyond the eyes
she thrives in memory; mere memory
Mother! My mother
who gave me eyes to look at the world
is, henceforth, nowhere to be found.

Translated by Mahesh Paudyal 

*******

Presented by Dr Sangita Swechcha

Dr Sangita Swechcha is a Communications Professional, Researcher, and a Fiction writer. She has over 15 years of experience in international communications and media relations. She is a Guest Editor for Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (GLLI) and coordinating ‘Nepali Literature month’ – November 2019. She is a novelist and a writer who has written a novel ‘Pakhalieko Siundo’, a joint collection of stories ‘Asahamatika Pailaharu’ and a collection of short stories ‘Gulafsangako Prem’ in Nepali.

Forthcoming in English translations in 2020: A novel ‘Pakhalieko Siundo’ and a collection of short stories ‘Gulafsangako Prem’, titled in English as ‘The Rose: An Unusual Love Story’. Her twitter handle: SangyShrestha. She can be reached in her email: sangyshrestha@hotmail.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s