Translated from the Kunkana to the English by Rupalee Burke
Limbe panting at the fourth step of the stairs
How he once roved hills and vales
No sooner he hit the pillow would he fall fast asleep.
When his wife shook him from slumber
Awake he would
Weighing equal to a four maund male buffalo
With great difficulty
Mumble to himself: Truly!
None there is like me.
Seated at the dining table
Paneer-handi curry to eat
Uncovered basket with parathas in it
Chikus, apples and bread-butter too.
Everything but the heart missing.
Back then Shevla, bhopid, alim, ambadi, vans,
Umbra, anla, keri, karamda, timru
Flowers of all hues!
Pockets stuffed with siridoda blossoms
That’s what you would call a feast! Truly health-giving.
Here withered vegetables
Pulses cultivated with chemical fertilisers and rotting fruits
This is what makes the doctor proclaim
It is this … It is that …
Eat this … Drink that …
No way comparable to the bhagats, our own medicine-men
No matter what sickness, they cured without a fee
This mop of hair, do you see?
White as white can be
Rinsing hair with sticky mud
Those elders there bearing no trace of age!
Cannot think of sitting without a chair
Whereas yoking male buffaloes elders plough the fields!
Sweetness of ice-cream pales when it comes to
Goat milk thickened with drops of the karvat tree
Thoughts come by the dozen
Thoughts … Thoughts …
Shrugging them off, had barely put on the television
Not the television, wifey said:
Will need money, the roof is leaking.
Oh God …
How much can one earn?
There is no hunger! Yet no happiness!
One life, a million worries
Roof of teak leaves elders made in no time
In return for a meager charge.
Haunted by a host of thoughts … Sleep eluded the eyes
Memories of teacher arose in my mind
If you do not complete your work I will drive you out, he would say.
How much work I have accomplished yet no compassion-love.
Hard as stone are people here
None to call our own even within family
Feeling drowsy while turning sides
Trin trin rang the doorbell
Who is it? Wifey answered the doorbell.
Oh … Mother … Father … Mother-in-law …
Limbe sprang up from his bed
Why Mother … Father …
Indigestion … Digested …
Pain … Cured …
Mother had brought food tied in a bundle
Knot was undone
Ate to heart’s content
Wiped his mouth with his mother’s sari
Much like a bubble
In a hushed tone
Muttered: I am full!
That is where life resides!!!
- FREE: 20 Poets anthology
- 91: NO THEME VIIISUBMIT to C Gaskin 90: MONSTERwith N Curnow, coming soon! 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith Fiona Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith Vladimir Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith Judith Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith Keri Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with Dan Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with Pam Brown 52.0: TOIL with Carol Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with Luke Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with Bonny Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with John Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with Tracy Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with Corey Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with Michael Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with Felicity Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with Jan Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with Derek Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with Kent MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with Ann Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with Gig Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with Duncan Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with Kent MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with Libby Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with Sarah Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with Sam Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with Astrid Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with Sean Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with Alan Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with Jill Jones
- Submission to Cordite 91: NO THEME VIII
- Judith Bishop Reviews Phillip Hall’s Fume
- Bella Li on as Associate Publisher
- Alex Creece on as Production Editor
- Review Short: Diane Fahey’s November Journal and Carmen Leigh Keates’s Meteorites
- Review Short: Vahni Capildeo’s Seas and Trees and Jennifer Harrison’s Air Variations
- To Outlive a Home: Poetics of a Crumbling Domestic
- ‘The Rally Is Calling’: Dashiell Moore Interviews Lionel Fogarty
- Jackie Ryan: Teaser to Burger Force 3
- Dispatch from the Future Fish
- Introduction to Cordite 89: DOMESTIC
- 7 Portraits by Ali Gumillya Baker
- Selections from 3 Yhonnie Scarce Series
- Kathy Acker and The Viewing Room
- To Live There: on ‘Dispatch from the Future Fish’
- The Wild Workshop: The Ghost of a Brontëan Childhood in the Life of Dorothy Hewett
- Externalising the Symptom: Radicalised Youth and The Membrane
- On Deep Breaths and Friends Forever: Im/materiality and Mis/communication in Happy Angels Revisited
- Letter to Anne Carson: Work of Remembrance and Mourning
- Translated Extracts from Chantal Danjou
- Translations from Old English
- The Poets: Pejk Malinovski Self-translates
- Carnage, Crosses and Curiosity: 13 Images by Yvette Holt
- Body of Sound
- ‘Eat’ from Horse
- Stereocilia for 2 Ears of 1 Person