Face to Face with the Present One Has Fought For

I am frightened of newspapers these days
that there must be in them
the news
that nothing has happened

 You perhaps do not know
- or maybe you do -
how terrifying it is when nothing happens
when your eyes wait with baited breath
and all lies passive
like a cold woman

Even the talk of people in the village assembly
seems like a serpent
holding in its paralyzing clutch
the tree
that would sway in freedom

 I am afraid
this world which looks abandoned and incomplete
like an assembly of vacant chairs
must be thinking how ridiculous we are

 What a shame
that even after centuries
bread, work and death should think
we live only for them

I do not know how I should explain
to shy mornings and rallying nights
and to gentle evenings
that we have not come here to be greeted with a salute
from them
and that there is nothing to embrace
between equals
when one stands at arm’s length
from arms outstretched for an embrace

Even accidents arrive nowadays
like panting old men
on whores’ staircases

Why isn’t there anything
these days
like the first meeting
with one’s first love?

This country
the creation of great souls
- how long, after all, will it escape
the horned fiend of death?

When, at last, shall we return
to our homes
that happen to be
like happenings –
the exiles from life’s humble noises?

When shall we, at last, sit
around the smoke from smoldering fires
and listen
to the proud fire’s tales?

One day
we shall surely kiss
the cheeks of seasons

All earth will then become
a newspaper
and it will carry the news
of so many happenings
one day

Translated by Rjesh Kumar Sharma