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 Thirty One.

The third poem from Mustansir Dalvi’s poetry collection Brouhahas of Cocks. Also, the second last poem for this month.

choosing trains
 Mustansir Dalvi

It’s those bloody slumwallahs again
my father curses, wet from the rain;
they’re back, throwing rocks at trains
so,so heartless, so totally insane.

I peek out from behind exhaust shaft
at the mob that destroys, burns and laughs;
duck just in time as a spinning half-
bat crashes through our grimy pane. 

The old man rushes to take us in
two sons, one wife, no next of kin
into the backroom store, on its roof of tin
skeletons dance to staccato strains.

I turn the back handle, quick, scurry out
onto rain swept rails, heart thudding, father shouts.
I turn left, then right, and finally, head south
to pick my rocks, to choose my trains.

***

Poem of the week: Week Twenty Five.

And finally, I’m posting poems for July in the right month – well, almost. The poet for the month is Indrajit Hazra and poems will be from his poetry book Twentyfour Poems. 

And I think I’ve found the perfect first poem:

Monsoon
– Indrajit Hazra

A monsoon drips through the picked sky.
Warm July can rest on its back now
And let the saline drips patter.
“Rise Lazarus,”
In wet hushed tones
Comparable to silence
With bullfrogs butting in.

The streets inch up
Rising garbage water lake.
Tomorrow be born
In showered night
Not ready yet
Still far too shy.
Wading through the city slime
Half-opened buttons let in the drops,
Those slanting rains
Of prancing clouds
Of dancing pools
Of puddled sounds.

No, I won’t sidestep tonight,
Nor tiptoe on,
Nor return to cover as the prodigal son.
I’ll walk on drenched
Demented
Mad
A parched piece of barren land
Smiling at each rain-beaded face,
While the beast
Carries on its swirl.

***