Poem of the week: Week One.

So, this is a little project I thought of doing: I will post a poem a week from the poetry collections I have at home round the year. I have decided on themes for each month; each week of the month will have a poem based on the theme. January gets ‘Beginnings and ends’ for obvious reasons.

The following poem is from The Little Magazine’s India in Verse anthology of Contemporary Poetry from 20 Indian Languages.

Shall I open this day?
– Kedarnath Singh

Shall I open this day
which someone has left
at my doorstep?
The colour of turmeric
like an airmail letter.

In the shimmering light,
like other missives
this wandering message
must not go unread –
I think I’ll
open it.
This golden letter which holds the day
lying silent at my doorstep
I’ll open it.

But a small, laughing question
stays my hand,
who knows what is written there?
(who knows, perhaps it is for someone else
and left at my door in the dead of the night)
It does not bear my name
or my address
ah, how could I open it?

My hand which opened
the door
the horizon
the cardinal directions,
who knows why it trembles
at the thought of opening
this mute, fresh, turmeric-hued message
stamped by a ray of sunlight.

Translated from the Hindi poem ‘Khol doon yeh aaj ka din’ by Pratik Kanjilal.


At times, the little hesitation at the break of day is what I get from this delightful and simple poem. I can’t help but wonder, along with the poet, about this slight indecisiveness one feels at the beginning of the day.


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