World Poetry Day

In 1999,  UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) designated March 21 is as World Poetry Day to celebrate ” linguistic diversity through poetic expression” and to increase “the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard.”

I take this opportunity to share beloved poems from the four languages, Sanskrit (Kalidasa), Hindi (Subhadra Kumari Chauhan), Marathi (Bahinabai Chaudhari), and Of course, English (Emily Dickinson). Except for the Sanskrit poet Kalidasa, I consider the other three poets as my foremothers in the sense that I love them, admire them, and draw inspiration from them.

  1. संस्क्रुत (Sanskrit)
    A verse from Meghdut (Cloud Messenger) by Kalidasa.

आषाढस्य प्रथमदिवसे मेघमाश्लिष्टसानुं।
वप्रक्रीडापरिणतगजप्रेक्षणीयं ददर्श।।

Loosely translated:
On the very first day of Aashadh, the cloud leans over
the cliff as if an elephant about to engage in amorous games

Aashads is the first month of Monsoon according to the Hindu Calendar.

  1. हिंदी (Hindi)

झाँसी की रानी (Queen of Jhansi) by सुभद्रा कुमारी चौहान (Subhadra Kumari Chauhan)

About The Queen of Jhansi.

A very good English Translation can be found here.

  1. मराठी (Marathi)

मन वढाय वढाय by बहिणाबाई चौधरी

मन वढाय वढाय, उभ्या पीकातलं ढोर ।
किती हाकला हाकला, फिरी येतं पिकांवर ।।

मन मोकाट मोकाट, त्याले ठायी ठायी वाटा ।
जशा वार्‍यानं चालल्या, पानावर्हल्यारे लाटा ।।

मन लहरी लहरी, त्याले हाती धरे कोन? ।
उंडारलं उंडारलं जसं वारा वाहादन ।।

मन जह्यरी जह्यरी, याचं न्यारं रे तंतर आरे ।
इचू साप बरा, त्याले उतारे मंतर ।।

मन पाखरू पाखरू, त्याची काय सांगू मात?।
आता व्हतं भुईवर, गेलं गेलं आभायात ।।

मन चप्पय चप्पय, त्याले नही जरा धीर ।
तठे व्हयीसनी ईज, आलं आलं धर्तीवर ।।

मन एवढं एवढं, जसा खाकसचा दाना ।
मन केवढं केवढं? आभायात बी मायेना ॥

देवा, कसं देलं मन आसं नही दुनियात ।
आसा कसा रे तू योगी काय तुझी करामत ॥

देवा, आसं कसं मन? आसं कसं रे घडलं ।
कुठे जागेपनी तूले असं सपनं पडलं ॥

Loose English Translation

The mind is a truant by Bahinabai Chaudhari

The mind is a truant like cattle in a field
You can drive it away, but it will always return

The mind is a stray; it wanders in all around
As the waves spiraling away in a breeze

The mind is temperamental; who can rein it in?
It’s as wild as the blowing wind

The mind is toxic; its ways are strange
A scorpion or snake is preferable; at least there are antidotes

The mind is a bird; how many of its exploits should I name?
One moment it’s on the ground; next, it has soared to the sky

The mind is too quick and so impatient
It’s lightning that strikes in a flash

The mind is small as a poppy seed
And how big is it? Even the sky can’t hold it

God, what is this unique mind you granted us?
What kind of Yogi are you? What is this marvel you created?

God, what is this mind? How did it arise?
What is this vision you saw while fully awake?

A Wounded Deer – Leaps Highest or as I like to say, “don’t let them see the blood.”

A Wounded Deer – Leaps Highest
By Emily Dickinson

A wounded deer – leaps highest
I’ve heard the hunter tell;
‘Tis but the ecstasy of death,
And then the brake is still.

The smitten rock that gushes,
The trampled steel that springs:
A cheek is always redder
Just where the hectic stings!

Mirth is mail of anguish,
In which its cautious arm
Lest anybody spy the blood
And, “you’re hurt” exclaim

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