The following are my translations of two more poems by Gopalakrishna Adiga, Kannada poet.
THIS LAND OF OURS NOW
Put this tree, dead in roots, erect,
Let the branches be as they are;
Collect the fallen leaves with choked feelings,
Boil them, prepare soup, and drink.
Water the tree; while you are sad
Water it with tears; show sympathy
With all your might; inside
Curry the favours of Sani.
Bring bulbs of rainbow colours; and
Hang them on evey branch of the tree;
Fix the paper flowers, scent them with perfumes;
And play the casettes of birds` songs.
You can`t complain that the tree is dead, there`s no shade;
Do you want a better shade than the shade of the roof of gold?
This is an ancient tree; what other solid branch you want
Than this to hang yourself and die?
When the wind blows from the west
The stage becomes active with the western dance and music;
This immortal tree doesn`t like the muddy water of the surrounding earth:
It sucks the nectar of heaven and grows.
Won`t even a single bird come here? --
Parrot, koyal, sparrow, crow, or owl?
Beat the koyal to death, stuff it with grass,
And then neatly arrange it on the branch.
Cover the moth-eaten tree with gold; and,
Carve its story on the trunk:
"There was shade here once, green leaves and buds, flowers and fruits,
koyal`s song, parrot`s nest;
Here was Kodanda, and the Panchajanya,
And the wheel--it was turning;
There were hermits, and the Vedas,
And this and that and much more."
Hoist high the flag of "Was".
Bother not about the "Is".
There is tree, there is gold,
Water it and grow.
Like a shadow you climbed the heights I climbed,
Crept into the lower depths I jumped,
Rubbing your wings to my wings you too flew towards the horizons I flew,
Explored, like me, new horizons; still,
You stood apart, untouched, spreading yourself
Above, below, around, piercing the sky,
Drilling the ground.
I opened myself from top to toe,
Filled the inside with salt,
Stitched the wounds,
Went underground, became a vampire,
Came up, jumped towards the sun, burnt the wings,
Fell on the ground,
On that very place built a cave around,
Became the very darkness of that cave,
Strived for fourteen years, became bitter,
Then ripened, exploded like fire,
Got back the wings--one seen, the other unseen.
Harmoniously I kept changing
From the concrete to the abstract, from the abstract
To the real--all these
Were seen by you too.
Still, like a shadow,
You remained whole, undisturbed.
You rise in the mind`s eye: you are not there outside,
But here in me:
Testing, measuring, weighing, checking--all these
Are your tasks. You pricked me with a needle
While I slept; let out
The unnecessary air while I swelled.
Are you an inside shadow? Or,
A spy from Chitraguptha?
You didn`t allow me to wander around
Like any emotion-bound animal would like to do.
You made me regret, burnt me with regret,
Caught me in the wheel of right and wrong,
Insulted me, dragged me to the streets, killed me,
By killing you rejuvenated me,
You, a Sani, a leech, yet a friend, my guru.