Sangram Jena

(Translated by Bibhu Padhi and Minakshi Padhi)


The evening comes
Your memory returns
like the day’s last tiredness.
So many wishes, such strong
wish not to wish at all,
so many givings, so many
feelings of not to receive;
all memories in a hazy
darkness, inside a fog.
It is shadowy everywhere,
From the threshold of worship
To the tree-sequestered
Platform, river-bank,
mangroves, the fields
under which the crops
are stored, mature.
The gardens, even
On the level-floor
In the house’s centre.

The dew-soaked leaves look
like your half-wet sarees,
the hills on the farther side
of the fog are the loosening
lines of your body. It is
not quite difficult to know
the fog-enclosed hills,
the body, the wishes, the soul.
On returning home, again

those familiar faces, voices,
waiting, familiar god.
Though on my eyes
a deep brush of dusk—
of an unseen wish and hope,
waiting, and your unending
pretension of not having
anything at all.



They say
time is endless.
All time however
is imprisoned
by borders.
Like the hedged-in
crop fields.
We pass over time
as if it were a river,
from this bank to the other.

The smoke from
the small coal burner,
or the cremation ground
can envelop the entire
world, all relationships
and possibilities, even
all further time.

Whatever is outside of it
is lonely, friendless;
there is no body and flesh,
no longing nor desire, no
fear. There are only those chinks
through which is visible
the small lights of the flickering stars.



Wouldn’t you
come again to me,
into my sadnesses, my sins?

Moon, stars, river,
the hills—
the fog has covered
everything, us.

From the unfaithful fog
you appear, like
the arithmetic note book,
like a wrong addition;
a circle encloses you—of morals,
laws, sins and virtues.

I don’t know which is wrong—
the questions or the answers,
the wish to get,
the luck of not getting at all.

I know however
that my desires, like
the rains, the dew drops,
the sweat have soaked you
and your dear mind’s



The end of the night-sleep;
and then the morning.

The morning comes with
the crow’s first call,
in light, the smoke
from the oven,
the foothills,
the noise, the mantric chants.

Is the story of the night
different? At night one hears
The many echoes of warm desire.
Everywhere is the light
of attachments, the dark smoke
of loneliness, the sound of the feet,
and the body’s chants.

For this alone the nights
have been moving
throughout the night,
the waiting’s only morning.



Your memory , like
the whole day’s tiredness.

So many desires,
so many gifts
so many losses.
Everything gets lost
through the mild darkness,
inside the fog.

Numberless shadows.
from one raised dais to another,
the river’s side, mango groves,
backyard garden,
even on the terrace.

The dew-laden leaves look
like your half soaked saree;
the hills beyond the fog,
like the lines of your body.
It is not difficult to know
the hill enclosed by the fog;
nor the body, nor the wishes,
nor the soul.

When I return home,
the same familiar faces, familiar voice,
absence, god.

But the evening
spreads  over my eyes—
an invisible darkness,
hope and waiting,
and your endless absence.                                          



She is not where
I try to find her.

Is the face there
in the mirror.
Is the pain there in the body,
is speech there in letters?
Are the tears in the eyes,
the meaning in the words,
is the sun there
behind the hills?
Does the sea end at the horizon?

Whoever appears somewhere
is not anywhere at all.



The window is on the wall
like a calendar.
Everything seen changes
in light, in darkness,
in the night, the night,
in the seasons, inside, outside.

Once seen from  inside,
there are the shrubs,
rows of homes,
so many carriages
men in the run,
bazaars, offices, temples,
even the cremation grounds.

Seen from the outside,
only a mild darkness,
the absent fingers and feet.

The pictures change in the night.
no one is anywhere.
Everything missing—
light, darkness, animals, birds,
words, time,
everywhere is the song
of loneliness.

The pictures change in homes.
the shadows away from,
the hidden shadows
come in.

The inside smells
like desires,
the smell of sweat
and hushed breathings.

When the moon goes down,
there are numerous pictures;
once again the light of day while
in there is a soft darkness.



Today the rains,
once again—
in the sky, the earth,
and the mind.

Everything seems wet—
the roads, the bed,
even on the carefully kept,
unreachable skin,
below the well-preserved clothes.

On the road,
the remnant water,
sweeping away the dirt.
Everything spills over
the canal, drains,
rivers and ponds.
Everything seems full,
in and out the loneliness,
the unending shadows
of memories.

Rain comes,
the pains increase, along with
the anguish of separation;
the lights decrease,
darkness envelopes everything.

Once again, when
the night darkens,
the desires of the dark avenues
come slowly, enclose
my naked body.

There is a soft drizzle
inside me.

Illustration: After the Rains, photography, by Ishmael Annobil 2013

Graphic Design by Ishmael Annobil /  Web Development by Ruzanna Hovasapyan