Wednesday, June 10, 2009


An elegy for Pluto

In childhood I used to see the stars and fireflies streak across the sky
and was delighted to imagine anyone of them as Pluto, Neptune or Mars.
Like siblings born at short stretches we grew up in warm camaraderie.
Pluto played much fun with us in those evenings!
Currently some astronomers have for no reason
determinedly set themselves against Pluto on the plea
that Pluto is incapable of swallowing up its neighbour;
every twenty years it crosses the orbit of Neptune:
it is supposedly dwarf in size and so is denied the status of a planet!
Since childhood it is our experience that
Pluto does not like to usurp anyone’s right or to tread on anyone’s corn.
It has Charon, Hydra and Nyx for neighbours.
They are tiny objects, comparable to Pluto’s offspring.
Is this relationship of love and compassion too censurable?
Do we not pay a visit to our aunt’s place?
If the simple and innocuous Pluto, for old time’s sake
enters Neptune’s yard, once in twenty years
what’s the harm?
The stars and planets too are elder or younger brothers and sisters;
Pluto is young in age.
I would say — we are wont to work our younger siblings’ shoe-laces
into floral designs, tie up the blazing-red ribbon into a beautiful knot
and send her to school, we take them for an outing to the park or the riverside ...
Does it then become us to deal such cruelty to Pluto
on a lame excuse like Iraq war?
For the few remaining days let us stay together in the earth and the sky...

Translated by Zakeria Shirazi


I find it difficult to make out the behavior of the crows of Ted Huges
They are anyhow post-modern
The crows of Bengal are eternal like my simple mother
All along they talk about our good and bad
Hold meetings for freeing the world from garbage,
And in the light of their understandings, they fly
and run in sun and rain; and
at the precise moment they place the forecasts of danger
So, I love the crows of Bengal.
All morning-crows are my younger sisters
They awaken my daughters and seat them at reading-tables
They send my father to eastern sky with plough
and call my mother to bow in prayer
And, shout out to the world and say…
Sister, get up and keep well – our throats are about to
burst crowing, right now those will bleed!

Translated by Kajal Bondyopadhyay

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