Culture & Society

Agyeya's Poems On Silence And Nanda Devi

Gunjan Joshi translates two poems by Hindi poet Agyeya in English.

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Photo: Getty Images
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I Weave a Silence 

First I weave the silence, 
And choose the strings and sounds for it. 
Warp: I need a toughened one!
Where would I find it?  
But someone is there who can change it. 
Someone who will soak it in colours!
And it will then bloom. 
I therefore pick a thick string.
Since I am associated with mortality, 
But someone, and this string, can help me, 
To evade death. 
Then weft: But are these my preferred colours? 
Also these purports!
Are these derived from my verses?
I realize that my mind is string and shaft.
In this process.  
From here to there, there to here, 
My hands work periodically! 
And change the texture of the fabric.
This way the fabric of silence is weaved. 
But there is something within me,
That I get entranced by this creation.
Believe me, I am not him. 
As when I recognise him, 
I come out of his trap. 
There are however some strings in him,   
Those are, although not me, but mine. 
He is the creator. 
I hear his voice somewhere in my soul, 
‘Are you the poet? Why do you want to add more words?
Your poem is by now complete!’
I reply, ‘Yes! She is my soul’s companion.
My only association!’ 
And for her I weave another silence. 

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Nanda Devi 

Nanda, 
In next twenty, thirty, or fifty years,  
We would have turned your forests into mush, 
To print our newspapers, 
Your tranquil silence would be ripped apart, 
By our Shaktiman trucks grinding uphill.  
Your waterfalls and rivulets would be dried up, 
And your rivers would only bring, 
Pasture eating floods and gastrointestinal diseases. 
Your sky would be soiled with, 
Smoky trails of our supersonic jets. 
Nanda, 
Very soon, 
In twenty, thirty, or fifty years, 
We would have turned your foothills, 
Into a barren land. 
And at your temple by the river. 
With water not washing its steps anymore, 
There will be a frail lamp, 
Burning. 

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