Two Poems by Sudhir Ranjan Singh

translated by Tuhin Bhowal

Two Poems

Time Taking Shape

Permeating me
Time takes
Shape

Time chisels
The form of space
And this form is moulded in
Such a way as if
I am the creator of everything

Wherever I step
A wild forest
Spreads in front

Grass transforms into fields
Trees into shade
And flowers wither
Yielding shape to fruits

According to my desire
Sitting on a stone waiting
Your lips take shape

I take shape
According to your desire

Permeating me
Time enters you . . .

Inside you
Time pounds you
Measures you with the weights of my desire
Like a meticulous jeweller

Time takes the shape of a trail
Which treads ahead and stops
At the shape of a house

I open
All its windows
And doors

Time
Like a gust of wind
Leaving me
Takes the shape of
Cattle on the field in front

Time takes the shape of that shepherd
Who I might have been in any previous life

All this is
Taking place at such a time
When time has been seen
Tussling against
Time.

***

I While Looking for Lost Objects

1

I while looking for lost objects . . .

After losing one
I kept remembering many such lost objects
The clock on the table missing time
So many books where it’s written:
This is the whole truth
But the truth remains
Nobody believes in what’s written now

New objects will rain like hail
And yet there will be no way to be seduced
I will move out from the necessity of time
Objects will move out from the necessity of light
Darkness will be needed like water
Man’s body will be desalinated
And no one will be required to take a bath

I will run across my hand on my face
And the hand will feel like wood
The face will feel like a broken stone
I will get so lonely without these lost objects
That to rediscover the meaning of woman
I will need to consult an encyclopedia
I will touch a child who will turn into a demon
And I will not be afraid

I will forget the lost objects
I will forget the names of those lost objects
Hence I will even forget the fear

2

Until yesterday, fear was contained as the face of objects
Delusion of a snake disguised as a rope
Wolf had been the symbol of fear in language

It was awfully silent yet visible
Each of our senses aware of its presence
It was heard doing every task
That we thought of a hundred times
Should we do this or not
Suppressing love’s hands
Crying in pretence

We went mad thinking
This fear being inside us
And we were also afraid

Of seeing it
In the disguise of a rat
We laughed forcibly
We laughed!

We had to believe our fear
Where there wasn’t fear, there was doubt
Where there wasn’t doubt, there was ignorance
Which the sheep had enshrouded like wool

The greatest was the fear of the end
Which even the frightening objects feared

The shadow of fear
Rendered the objects beautiful

3

Our belief turned shabby objects new
We signed them
Before owning them
Upon our touching, the guava branches
Turned a little springy
We were seen
Amidst thousands of metaphors of objects

There was food, there was honey, there were flowers
And the fire of being proud of ourselves . . .
Even if weren’t eating or drinking
We were satiated

Yes, there was beauty, there were senses
Speed and success
There was sex . . .
We turned jubilant remaining sad

Even after the river dried up, there was the river
Even after sunset, there was the sun
And even she
For whom this poem is being written

4

I asked wandering:
There was a Sita, whose name was Sita
Like papayas, like pumpkins
Like the branches of guavas
There was a Sita

One could witness the dew-laced face, moonlit
Even on a hot afternoon . . .

On seeing her
Taste filled the grains
Trees posed larger than trees
The turbulent loo had no effect
Air whistled melodiously . . .
Objects unattainable in the distance
Appeared almost entering the grasp of hands

See her and any object would become new
Like water, like salt . . .

She was living in an endowed body
Like leaves, like grass
Like the slobber of cattle
Warbling the heart’s wounds
Healing . . .

There were one or two pimples on the cheek
Inside them my sanguine desires glistened

I was shredded into bits and pieces by the body’s knife
Yes, my decay lay in Sita
My decay . . .

Sita was death’s message
So lovely
Now a lost object.

5

Cry until you can, lost objects
Cry in front of my mirror of memories
Wholeheartedly

Gone
Yes, gone are the times
To keep a peacock’s feathers and
Dried petals of flowers pressed inside books
Gone is the age of slogans
The age of lullabies and poetry

Inside this old’s earth chest
Termites and
Ants will get filled
No spot will remain bare even
For a kiss

Sadness won’t be engulfing me
Then why would I keep chasing Sita?

My bones have now become old rocks
Breaking . . .

Even if someone says or not
Let love, turning into fossil
Remain . . .

Who cares sitting in seclusion
Gossipping about the depth of the sky
I, exhausting myself sneezing
They, passing on the kerchief

There will be no alternative to deceit

Neither water nor salt
Not even any god
Nothing will be the truth of purity
Neither love nor thought

Deceit will also be considered
The meaning of salt and water

6

And there will be no remedy
Lest I go mad . . .
For there exists no man
Still sane

Should I go mad decorating the
Registry of lost objects in my heart,
Reading some old fable of a prince
That on opening all doors of memories
I would turn so ecstatic
That I’ll run away . . .

Let all mirages of photographs
Remain with their own scourges
Only the word is a mirror . . .

Right now
Mumbling something
I should run away
And cuddle with the weather
With monsoon
With the loo, with a cold night . . .

I want to escape
Even from light’s needle-hole
And yes, of course, in the end still needing to
Reach Sita.

Author’s Bio:

Sudhir Ranjan Singh was born on 28th October 1960 in Gaya, Bihar. An alumnus of Patna College and Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi), he teaches at Government Hamidia College, Bhopal. His three published poetry collections are Aur Kuch Nahi Toh, Mokshdhara, and Shayad. Bhartrihari – Kavita ka Paras Paththar is his contribution to poetic transcreation from the Sanskrit of the Hindu linguistic philosopher. He is also the foremost living literary critic and his three published books are Hindi Samudaay aur RashtravaadKavita ke Prasthan and Kavita ki SamajhBhaariya: Paatalkot ka Jeevan Chhand is his published travelogue. He has served as the Editor of Adyatan Hindi Alochana and has translated R.P. Naronha’s book ‘A Tale Told by an Idiot’ into Hindi as Ek Anadi ki Kahi Kahaani. Three of his new books, one poetry collection, and two works in creative non-fiction are forthcoming in 2023 – one of which is a book-length interview series on poetics with the late eminent poet, Kedarnath Singh.

Translator’s Bio:

Recipient of the Deepankar Khiwani Memorial Prize 2022, Tuhin Bhowal’s poems and translations appear or are forthcoming in Bad Lilies, Poetry at Sangam, Oxford Anthology of Translation 2022, adda, Poetry City USA, Ovenbird Poetry, Parentheses Journal, South Florida Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. Tuhin lives alone in Bangalore, India and tweets @tuhintranslates.

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