Poetry: Mohan Rana (Translation)

Translation from Hindi by Lucy Rosenstein
Mohan Rana
A Patch

The forest first dried inside me
The river turned into stone
The sky became barren
The earth fallow
Desert spread
Soaking up every drop like blotting paper
Every shape tumbled onto its roots,
I had crossed a sand bridge there
Before putting it into words
A green shoot dried under my feet
A memory – just touched – became sand
My footprints disappeared
Crazed hot air whirled about
Unravelling breath from my lungs

Past days are saved in spider webs
In the outer mirrors of the inner world,
Hopes lie around with broken spades
Sew a patch
On the torn fringes of the day
So that a door may open
This century has lost its way
In the dark lane of time

With eyes open I see
This world, all around
Words turn into dust
First inside me
The sand storm has struck
  


The Cormorant 

Soon a new season will start
If there is spring in this latitude 
I'll change my clothes
And stroll around guided by maps 
Trees will come into leaf
Birds fly back from near and far
I hope there will be no news 
Of a new war
I'll clear my throat to say the half-spoken but fall silent
May this spring be so long that the memory of 
Autumn does not return to the solitude of words

Spring is getting shorter each year
Each year grows shorter in spring,
So short that sometimes
Only two seasons seem to be left now -
Good and bad
Joy and sorrow
Love and fear
You and I
May spring and autumn be divided between us
And the withering rain remain all year long

I thought, let's catch the fragrance of a taste coming from the kitchen 
On my sleeve and write it down
Wishing to understand something in the quiet back yard
Searching in a tiny space for a corner to stand,
Time may come soon
To divide the world
All has to be forgotten in order to remember
Alone with the inventory of necessary baggage,
Life requires not just breath
But flames of love in mind's shadows -
The hand which breaks the fall

Small change in the abacus adding the loan of drudgery
Nervous in the decrepit present, feeling my dry cheeks,
I haven't yet seen the past
From inside the mirror
When I leap in its luminous unknown
I lose one thing to gain another.

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