Poem of the week: Week Thirty Seven.

This month’s poet is Amrita Pritam. Poems are from a collection of her poetry called प्रतिनिधि कविताएँ, published by Rajkamal Prakashan.
I’m really excited since this is the first ever poem in Hindi on this blog!

I picked up this one (too) from Kitab Khana. So, every time I go there, I spend some (quite a lot of) time looking at the poetry section, and I usually end up buying at least one book – depending on my budget. This time, since my card is blocked, I had left home with just 200₹ my mother had handed to me. So, a very important reason why I picked प्रतिनिधि कविताएँ  is that it is priced only at 50₹.

I don’t know if this is good or bad. I’m happy since I’m reading some amazing poems at minimal cost, but would I feel the same if my work fetched me so little? It is strange that novels, comics, or even books of photographs are priced up to 1,000₹ or more but when it comes to poetry, publishers feel it’s best to price it low. Even more so when it is regional literature. 

There is an audience for poetry in the city. What proves this is the number of poetry events that happen around here. And I’m sure many of you buy poetry books but if you don’t, please do. Visit Kitab Khana (the poetry section is just next to the staircase), go through the list of books on Writers Workshop. Support the work of poets.

Now, some classic Amrita Pritam:

इश्क
– अमृता प्रीतम 

कमीना… बेवफ़ा… बदज़ात… ज़ालिम
कम्बख्त तुम याद आते हो
तो कितने ही लफ़्ज –
मेरी छाती की आग चाटते
आग थूकते
मेरे मुँह से निकलते…
 
बदन हा मांस
जब गीली मिट्टी की तरह होता
तो सारे लफ़्ज –
मेरे सूखे हुए होंटों से झरते
और मिट्टी मे
बीजों की तरह गिरते…
 
में थकी हुई धरती की तरह
खामोश होती
तो निगोड़े
मेरे अंगों मे से उग पड़ते
निर्लज्ज
फूलों की तरह हँसते
और में –
एक काले कोस जैसी
महक महक जाती…
 
***

Poem of the week: Week Two.

Second week of the theme ‘Beginnings and Ends’. I picked up Jane Bhandari’s Aquarius when I (finally) went to Kitab Khana opposite Flora Fountain. I had passed by that place numerous times and had absolutely no idea that it existed. Had I found it on an ordinary day, the experience wouldn’t have been anything short of finding Wonderland or something.

I have attended Jane’s Loquations meets, but had never really read any poetry of hers properly. Here’s one that fits the theme on many levels. 

New House
– 
Jane Bhandari 

In the beginning
The new house was void
Of all but light.
White walls 
Scooped light from the windows
And threw it into my eyes.
I was in a shell of light,
Echoing, bare and bright.

The breaking and the making
Are almost over.

At night I prowl
The silent rooms, littered
With the chaotic debris
Of a new-made home,
And look out
Over the sequinned city.

By day I watch the play
Of light on the walls,
Watch the house transform
Into something wholly mine,
My print on it as distinct 
As that of my hand.

Now
I shall enter my shell,
And then begin to grow.

***

I love the solitary feel this poem has. In it, there is a sense of patience and determination to start life anew.