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H.S. Shivaprakash, translated from the Kannada by the poet

I Am Your Translator

I am your translator
Let me translate your untimely tears
Into the non-stop rains of Cherrapunji
Your sudden disappearances
Into one century of unending snow
Your bouts of fury
Into the womb of volcanos
Your depression
Into clocks that stop ticking
Your laughter
Into another sunrise on another shore
Your Yes
Into unnamed fruits
Of a jewelled island
Your No
Into the history of shipwrecks


I am a translator
Let me translate
Your eyes into light
Your mouth into a half-open pomegranate
Your feet into wings
Your sweet speech
Into a slow-paced sonnet
Your breath into the scented breeze
Of my sandalwood groves in my endangered land,
Your touch into a breeze from Himalayan valleys
Full of healing herbs
And mineral-tasting waters
All reeling under man-made devastations

But when it comes to your sacred temple
Where, amidst camphor flames and torches,
Bells and gongs,
And chanting of sacred mantras,
Ice-lingam melts into a river of flames
All my translation fails

Thus you have translated me,
A stupid tongue wagging in vain,
Into a poet of some standing

Note: this poem was previously published in India in 2019 as a part of the collection Like Earth to Stars: Poems 2008-2014, Poetrywala, an imprint Paperwall Media & Publishing Pvt. Ltd.

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