Triveni Journal

1927 | 11,233,916 words

Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....

Two Poems

Subramanya Bharati (Translated from Tamil by P. S. Sundaram)

(Translated from Tamil by P. S. Sundaram)



“Sleep and Vigil”

So late, beside yourselves, and wide awake,
The racket you make!
At dead of night, when even thieves would snore,
What an uproar!
You have roused the town shouting to each other...
Forgot I’ve a mother...
With your sapient chatter over odds and ends,
You disgust me, friends.

I have endured all this for long...but the curse
Is daily worse:
Nani’s plait a crook -pulled, and pell mell
Her flowers fell;
“An elephant ran amok, red the town painted...
And Anji fainted;”
Rohini ate up all the butter in the pot...
A bell, ache got;”

“Ten urchins found Patni on a field, and kissed her...
Not one missed her;”
“An astrologer promised Natthi’s daughter various things,
Including forty kings!”
“A maimed Malayalee at Kovini gloated and glared,
Got her quite scared;”
“home is good-for-nothing Vidya, pretentious wench,
With her German and French!”
The tales you tell! The lies! Stale pkes and cheap!
They’ve spoilt my sleep.
For God’s sake, tie up all the flutes,
Drums and lutes.
Put out the lights, except that one, very small,
Which turn to the wall.
And leave me alone, to get such rest as I might.
Go home. Good night!

(After they have departed)

But what sleep can I get until I see my lord,
Kannan, my God?
The girls have left. My beloved must be waiting and awake,
For my sake.

“Near that hedge, at the corner of Bellmetal Street,
We shall meet,”
He said. What odds these eyes will never close in rest
Till I’ve clapped him to my breast?



“Off with that Veil”

The Muslims of Delhi, dear, it’s them you must thank
For this outlandish fashion of veiling the face;
Wasp waist and a figure that is full and alluring,
They sure must be clothed and confined in their place;
Wasp waist and a figure that is full and alluring,
No clothing or cincture can spoil their grace:
But who can make love when only words are allowed,
And the face is a splendour cut off by a cloud?

You talk of old ways and Aryan excellence.
Which Aryan girl ever was a walking screen?
We have met and have spoken, the ice is now broken;
This silly convention still, what does it mean?
No longer uncertain, if I pull off this curtain,
No sensible creature will obstruct me, I ween:
Parsnips are not buttered with fine words and feeling–
With an orange in hand, should I fight shy of peeling?

[Note: Bharati the poet of patriotism is well-known, also Bharati the poet .of love. Not many people who know him only in translations are likely to know about his sense of humour and his jolly unconventionality. That is the special interest of these two poems. –Translator]

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