Three poems of a legendary writer Tulasi Diwasa from Nepal

The first day of Nepali literature month started with the posting of three poems of poets Tulasi Diwasa, Usha Sherchan, and Govinda Giri Prerna. The first poem of the first day was of a legendary writer Tulasi Diwasa from Nepal.

Today, the very last day of the Nepali Literature Month, I take an opportunity to present three more poems of 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 Diwasa1
Tulasi Diwasa

Tulasi Diwasa is a prominent modernist Nepali poet who belongs to the group of those poets who introduced experiments, new idioms, and novelty in the mode of expression in the very discourse structure of poetry in Nepali in the sixties and seventies. The complexity of life on the one hand and the simplicity, profundity, and tenderness of experience on the other bring the poetry of Diwasa very close to the mind and heart of the reader.

His creativity permeates even in his intellectual concerns and anxieties of the age he is living in. The result is a highly creative recreation of the themes of life and the intensely lived moments of existence. Behind the apparent sense of gloom in his poetry, there is a discovery of light, beauty, and openness of the very act of poetic creation.

Diwasa is one of the truly internationally known poets of Nepal. His extensive travels and participation in the world poetry meets have opened a new vista of experience for him as a poet, humanist, and pacifist. His later poetry is the expression of this experience.”

(Quoted from an article by Prof. Abhi Subedi)

‘Tree: A Mental Picture’

In the heart of Tapovan*
Standing for sometime
With the trees in ecstasy of meditation
And talking to them in the trees’ idioms
Like a tree myself
A revelation came to me –
Eternal and ancient is the relationship
Between trees and mankind!

So there’s always
Some tree in man
And a little man in tree,
But these days I find
The tree in man slowly
Turning pale and dying
Though the man in tree
Is green and alive!

And I find again
The man growing in a tree
Becoming taller than the tree
Growing in a man!

Translated from Nepali by Abhi Subedi

[*] A lovely wood for meditation near Kathmandu that also houses the Rajneesh Ashram

River and the Bodhi Tree

River and the Bodhi Tree

Nights, crest fallen
in the fight with the light,
jumping out unexpectedly
from the latticed windows and doors
opened up to welcome the light
have descended hurriedly to the street,
bands of darkness becoming–
now a black coat
now a gray coat
on top of black cap and black shoes*,
raising heads one hand high
in the day time
are walking on the main street!
Seeing them
the pedestrians of light
consider them the floods
of a black river of molten tar
rising suddenly
and drifting by,
and they contemplate plans
to make a bright dam
of the unveiled beliefs!
At this instant
the traffic police
standing by the roadside like lampposts,
and thinking it
as the astray officers’ procession
taken out on a national day
give signals to go ahead
before the green light coming!
In this manner
they are successfully completing
a hazardous journey on foot
at every crossing from here
with dignity.

Seeing all this
a bodhi tree,
quietly wait standing
on the fringe of New Road,
yes, standing quietly
like a walking stick!

Translated from Nepali by Abhi Subedi

[*] Nepali government officers’ uniforms.  They wear this uniform during the processions they are supposed to take part in on occasions like the National Day celebration.   

Procession of Coloured Voices

Blue voices
Jumping down the sky
Float over the blue ocean
Red voices
Emitted by martyr’s blood
Drying steadily
Spillover rhododendron petals
Yellow voices
Descending from the evening horizons
Are nesting
In the ordered layers of marigold
White voices
Melting out of the barricades of clouds
Freeze over the solid
High rise bosoms of Himalayas
Green voices
Escape from the evergreen dense forest
Passing by the shaven mountain cliffs
And bare hills
Get uprooted with the tearless banks
Even from the agricultural land
Migrating down in green fluidity
Piling up green deposits
To the bottom of the sea
Black voices
Blemished by the mental pestilence,
Aridity of mind and fall of conscience
Are surging up in the flood
Of untamable darkness
Through the black tunnel-
The overflowing river of seething time
Who came out in search of a voice
Lost my own voice itself
In the melee of voices
And returned home
Utterly voiceless, quiet and lonely
After joining with respect
This procession of colored voices
A color game of holi played by time
Is this silent homecoming of mine
My attainment of the Buddhahood
Or preparation for another grand renunciation!
Like this colorless indecision
I’m voicing a continuous voiceless decision.

Translated from Nepali by Abhi Subedi

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 English translations in 2020 in e-book formats first: A novel ‘Pakhalieko Siundo’ and a collection of short stories ‘Gulafsangako Prem’, titled in English as ‘The Rose: An Unusual Love Story’ (looking for international publisher/s for publishing print versions of these books). Her twitter handle: SangyShrestha. Email: Connect on Facebook.

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