Poem by Haraprasad Das
(A modern sequel to the epic The Mahābhārata)
In the game of survival, they are all past masters;
won’t perish till the last drop of charmed water
keeps on glistening on the tip of the holy grass.
Who, then, will win the battle?-
It is the one that merits a rise again from the grave,
whose ashes may sprout on the rock bed of a brook.
What a lustre in your cunning look, you the master cheat!
Whoever sets heart upon you gets lost inconsolably.
What justice, a poet can do for a Devajāni,
if everything is yoked to Fate, and this
flowery woodland is thronged by thousand scheming Kachas!
Is love not as precious as commitment for a need?
Sometimes, it so occurs in a stormy night,
the shadow of the flicker of a wicker lamp,
looming large, reproaches the thunder for its timidity;
in the dazzle of lightning, my robe slips off the body
untended, uncared for.
May your life go waste; your acquired hymn turn futile;
all your paths lead to doom; your land celestial
be swallowed by gloom!
May you suffer for ever damnation!
Oh, my ancestors;
my unforgiving past;
my spoilt divinity;
my accursed firmament;
Lo, this is my lot!
Translated from Odia into English by Dr. Namita Laxmi Jagaddeb
Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India