Mother: A Poem to Translate
M O T H E R
She's my first sustenance,
The spark that stoked the fire of my life,
The teacher that instilled words in me
To arrange themselves in expression of a feeling
That's me, my mother's child.
Ageing gracefully she is now
dangling from the dried stalk of life,
Now gravity has got the better of her
With sight enfeebled and skin sagging
And bones, the two hundred and six of them
Rattle and hold her onto the illusion of life
Adorning her like a garland of twigs--
And she is my mother, the mother of mine.
But she was once strong in all her limbs
Strong enough to leave me strengthened,
Her stroke has made my legs
nimble and sturdy for the race of life,
And my hands have grown long enough
to heave morsel to mouth quite effortlessly.
It's a feverish world of anger and venom
But I'm ready to endure them all
With her invigorating massage of my tummy
And with all those pats on my back, truly assuring.
Now she's a candle
flickering inside a dilapidated castle,
Now she's a solitary harvester
winnowing her memory-grains
in her moments of ripe existence,
All of them are now left behind
Her eighty long years of worldly experience.
The sun and wind outside
Contaminated to the core,
As dirty as the rags of a demented could be
Redolent of an evil desire or a barbaric horror
Of an unrequited love or a blind lie.
But thanks to my mother--
I'm so very decently dressed
In the apparel of affection, and adorned
With the jewels of trust.
Eternal stream she is, she flows on and on
Endowing life of fearlessness and pure benediction.
Aha! My ageing mind melts
Into the depth of her motherliness,
She still preserves in her
The beats of my uncomplicated existence,
They still remain intact in her
Like the key bunch tied to her sari end--
My idyllic childhood and my blissful adolescence
My stressful present of a worrisome existence.
A Poem by
Shri Gourishankar Kar
Taken from his poetry collection
"Chandra Chalan", First Ed. 2000
Translated by me
A. N. Nanda