Saturday, April 26, 2014

All the World's a Stage

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.

Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. 

The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


(Excerpt from Gulyai-Polye)

Not yet is law solidified,
The country seethes as in rough weather.
We're drunk with freedom, quite beside
Ourselves, excited beyond measure.

Dear Russia! Land close to my heart!
I wince from pain that is heart-searing,
So long have your fields not been hearing
The cockerel crow and farmdog bark . .
For many years has реасе deserted
The even tenor of our life.
The earth is pockmarked bу hooves hurtling
Across your fields in ceaseless strife.
The thudding and the groans, the screech
Of waggons and machine-gun carriages.
Can I bе dreaming in my sleep
That Pechenegs from all sides leap
Upon us, with their spears to harry us?
No, I'm not dozing, this is nо
Dream vision when а fellow's nodding:
Over the hill the horses flow
As squadron gallops after squadron.
But whither bound? То war? But where?
The smoothly rolling steppe is silent.
Is it а new moon shining there
Or а bright shoe lost bу а rider?
All's muddled . . .

But it's clear as dawn:
With fire and sword this mother country
Of mine from one end to the other
Ву internecine strife is torn.
My Russia­
Awesome tocsins ring.
Bright silver birch, white snowdrops swelling.
Whence came he, of what origin
Was he who roused you to rebellion?
So stern а genius! What draws
Ме is nоt his imposing figure.
Не did not leap upon а horse,
Fly with the wind and fight with vigour.
Не did not hack off warriors' heads
And rout the foe. With shot аnd cartridge
One form alone of dealing death
Не loved аnd that was shooting partridge.
The standard hero in our eyes
Wears а blасk mask-but he in winter
Would go careering down а rise
Astride а sledge with noisy children.
Не lacked that hair style which they say
Makes feminine resistance crumble.
His pate was bald, bald as а tray,
And nо one breathed an air more humble.
Shy, kind and simple in behaviour
Не is а man who makes me ask:
Where did he draw strength to bе аblе
То shake the whole world in his grasp?
Shake it he did".
Wind, roаr аnd rage!
Stormwind, more fiercely whirl and whistle!
The infamy of priest and prison
From luckless people wash away !
There was а cruel run of years,

In evil's clutches we were nourished
And, profiting from peasant tears,
The satraps of the Empire flourished.
The monarchy! Obnoxious trash!
For ages banquet followed banquet
And nоblеs traded power for cash
То manufacturers and bankers.
The people groaned аnd in sore plight
All Russia hoped that someone might
Соmе ... Аnd he came.
With words of power
Не gave us strength to match the hour
And said: "То еnd your suffering
In workers' hands take everything.
Nothing саn save you now except
Your оwn rule аnd your Soviet. "
And оn we strode, the blizzard braving,
In the direction he was gazing in,
After the mаn who could foresee
The day all nations would bе free.
Аnd nоw he's dead".
The moans are jarring.
Woe from the Muse nо sound саn draw.
То the farewell salute we hearken
Which heavy guns are barking, barking.
The оnе who saved us is nо more.
Не lives nо longer-but the living,
All those whom Lеnin left behind
Must this land, seething like а river
In full spate, in strong concrete bind.
For them he has not died, Has Lеnin. 

Death's anguish does not cloud their view.                       
More sternly to their task now bending 
They do what Lenin meant to do . . .

Sergei Yesenin

Thursday, April 17, 2014

इस पुल पर

Adebanji Alade
Silver morning light from Wandsworth Bridge
कई-कई नींदों की सुरंगों से
गुजरने के बाद,
सन्नाटे की कई-कई बस्तियों को
पीछे छोड़कर
खड़ा हूँ इस पुल पर
जो यूद्धनाद की लय से बना है
और यह लय बन रही है ज़िन्दगी
त्यागकर रूपक का स्वप्निल परिधान।
यहाँ से होकर
गुज़रते नहीं काठ के घोड़े।
आवारगी और इंतज़ार,
सांसारिक वासनाओं और ठोस कामनाओं,
बेचैन-बेकल गद्य और अटपटी कविताओं,
बेसुरे गीतों और उदास चुप्पियों,
पागल स्वप्नों और ज़मींदोज़ यादों,
अनगढ़ और अधबने विचारों
और बेशर्मियों
और आत्मालोचनाओं
और हमारे समय की बहुतेरी असंभव-सी चीज़ों के साथ
आते हैं यहाँ कुछ यायावर
ज़िन्दगी की ताजपोशी का गवाह बनने की
चाहत संजोये हुए।
नीचे खौलता रहता है
मटमैला पानी
दिनचर्या में व्यग्र कोलाहल घोलते हुए,
निरंतर अनिश्चितता को जन्म देती ज्वालमुखियां उबलती-दहकती रहती हैं और
पिघलते रहते हैं गंधक और लोहा
और कुछ और उपयोगी-अनुपयोगी खनिज,
जब चीर दिए जाते हैं हृदय
और गर्म-गाढ़ा रक्त पसीने और आंसुओं के प्रतीक्षारत सागर तक की
सुदूर यात्रा पर रवाना हो जाता है।
पदार्थ में स्थान पाती है
सदिश चेतना
और भविष्य एक-एक करके
अपने रहस्य खोलकर रखने लगता है।
आश्चर्य और आह्लाद की
आहटें होती है आसपास,
लेकिन तबतक बहुत सारे लोग
लौट भी चुके होते हैं
थककर, घबराकर या डरकर,
अपनी क्षुद्रताओं में,
इस विचित्र जीवन जगत की यादगार के तौर पर चोरबगलियों में भरे हुए
कुछ कंचे और कुछ भ्रामक चमकते पत्थर
जो सुख, यश और निर्विकार चिंतन के लिए
काफी हुआ करते हैं।
इधर, मानो जादू के जोर से
यह पुल कभी स्वयं
एक युयुत्सु जल-प्रवाह बन जाता है
और कभी
दुर्गम वनों के बीच से गुज़रता
एक ऐसा रास्ता
जिस पर केवल दुर्दांत बवंडर
यात्रा किया करते हैं।  

शशि प्रकाश, १९९५

Sunday, April 13, 2014


The reflection is
what’s real.
The river
and sky
are doors to take us
to the Eternal.
Down beds of frogs
or beds of bright stars
our love will go off, singing
the morning of the great flight.
The reflection is
what’s real.
Only a heart remains,
only one wind.
Don’t weep!
Near or far,
it’s the same.
Eternal Narcissus,

Nature’s way.

Fredrico Garcia Lorca