Saturday, February 4, 2012

If he found a little liquor,

If he found a little liquor,

he would give it to us.
If he had more,
he would drink happily
while we sang. 
where is he now? 
If he had even a little rice. 
he shared it 
in many plates. 
where is he now? 
If he had more, 
he shared it 
in many more plates. 
where is he now? 
He gave us 
all the flesh 
on the bones 
where is he now? 
Wherever spear and arrow flew, 
he was there. 
where is he now? 
With his palms scented 
with lemon grass, 
he carressed my hair 
smelling of meat. 
where is he now? 
The spear that pierced his chest 
pierced at once 
the wide eating bowls 
of great and famous minstrels, 
pierced many begging patms,
and, dimming the images in the eyes
of men he sheltered,
it went right through the subtle tongues 
of poets 
skilled in the search 
for good words. 
Where is he now,
father, mainstay,
where is he now? 
No more, 
No singers any more 
nor anyone to give anything 
to singers 
As in the cold waters
jalap flowers blossom,
large, full of honey, 
but die untouched, unworn, 
there are many now living
and dying,
without giving
one thing
to others. 
-Translated by A.K.Ramanujam "Poems of War and Love" pp 169-170, Columbia University Press, 1985

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