Multilingual Poetry from Trinidad and Tobago

Sham Ramlal

- Sham Ramlal

Bilingual Poem in Hindi and English

From Uttar Pradesh Bihaar
And surrounding areas they
Speaking Urdu, Bhojpuri and Telugu,
Their culture, there way of life,
Was all the same.
Hamaare purvaj Caribbean mey
Bari dur se aayaa
(Our ancestors came to the Caribbean from very far.)
They were placed in Mauritius,
Fiji, Suriname, Trinidad
And Guyana.
The promises made by the British Raj,
We're empty and Hollow.
Bhaarat ke Log (The people from India)
We're treated so bad.
Given survival wages,
Aur kabhi kabhi (And sometimes) 
none whatsoever.
They were made to suffer
Deprivation, lajja dard (shame, pain)
Pain and hunger.
Yet still they survived these terrible shocks.
For today their descendants
Stand tall and strong
Way bahut mahaan log (They are very great people)
Firmer than the Gibraltar rock!

The pulse of unity

if all bleed red and scream in delightful pleasure
and the colour of pain is beyond conceivable measure
if language falters and laughter is no barrier

and the spectrum of human diversity
tramples on wanton hegemony

when time soothes the torment from the distance past
and hope in the future is like a nectarine repast

the wiles of the demonic will no more prevail
unity in diversity will merge anon,

fanatical dogmas will no more impale,
as the hearts of the world will beat as one.


It seems like a long time now,
But memory is keen.
I can still smell the aroma.
Of fry bake and egg, bake and bulljol 
And roti and sardine!
Chocolate, tea, fever grass, ginger 
And orange peel too.
Lime bud and soursop leaf,
We're our regular brew!
Hot sada roti and baigan chokha,
And that bitter tasting caraille
Or fry aloo
If you doh want it 
You could lie dong close it,
Is nothing for you!
Sometimes on Sundays we had 
Common fowl to eat.
The old lady would cook half
And doave dong the other half
To use in the week.
Coconut chutney well grind up in the sill,
With bhandhaniya and a whole Congo pepper.
And yam and Dahl,
You must feel the fire!
These foods never give us cancer,
Or even diabetes for that matter.
Wholesome and healthy.
You might say, oh!
Such simple fare!
But I do not care.
For the days of old, brought
Joy to my soul,
And in my heart they are held 
Forever dear!

I Wonder!

In the land of the living, there are many dead
They have no heart or, so it seems.
Perchance I am misled.
But when the cry of the hungry and homeless
Causes no pain.
Nor compassion stirs when our women
Are slain.
And the hearts of the world,
Beats with agony untold,
I Wonder.
And when for the love of power
And greed and lust.
We trample and massacre
Our brother and sister,
I Wonder.
And when without shame
We stand on the bones of the dead
Making Grandiloquent speeches
And preening ourselves
Like vultures that have just fed.
I Wonder!

Hindi: it's about Mayaro 

Chalo Mayaro mere pyaro,
Wahaan khushi aur shaant melo

Dekho meel se meel kitni nariyal ke payro
Kaisa sundar hai es sthaan mayaro.

Atlantic Mahasagar kuch company
Crude oil kheechon

Aur isee samudra me 
Machuwa baar baar
Machlee pakro.

Yahaan Afriki,Cheenee, Spain 
Our Bharateey ke logo

Sath sath milkar
Khushi manao.

Mayaro: Translation

Let’s go to Mayaro my dears
Where we will find joy and peace

Look, for miles and miles, so many coconut trees
How beautiful is this place Mayaro

In the Atlantic Ocean some company
Drill for crude oil

And in this very same sea
Fishermen catch fishes
again, and again

Here African, Spanish, Chinese
And people of Indian descent

Live in peace and harmony.

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