Three poems

That cane of the policeman!
Translated by Tayenjam Bijoykumar Singh

Image Courtesy: npr

O hooded rickshaw puller!
how timid you are
unable to bear the sun, you're resting awhile
but I'm worried for the sake of you.
in such a time at this very spot
in the middle of minuthong!
the instant i see you today
the memory of a shocking incident returns
listen carefully, it's the story of another like you
he who had not learnt to blame his fate
a courageous youth like you,
in the fierce sun like today's
on southern edge in the middle of this very
was resting on his rickshaw like his aged
at that moment came a truckload of policemen
from the east
when the vehicle slowed down its speed
one of the three constables sitting in front
the one on the left rose
and stuck out a cane
and struck the rickshaw puller on his back
Swiftly, once, twice and thrice
oh, they were all grinning
all those in the truck!
with shame he lowered his head in pain
in this world where might is right
the youth whose life carried no meaning
arching his back
to endure the pain
drove off across the bridge
slowly towards the west
pondering why i had come that way
i came back with a heavy heart that day
whose creation could have made it possible
the policeman's cane i saw that day?


This Night
Translated by Chungkham Sheelaramani

Image Courtesy: tinablogsalot

This night, flanked by two millennia
impassioned voices visit my ears
o beloved goddess, time
so anxious I, your child, am at
the hour the last moments of the night
make me so restive
i can't but forget
the world of the prison
those whose eyes fill with tears
when the birds flutter their wings
whose who ask — why these legs
which are meant for walking? those who declare
the eyes meant to see are rendered worthless
o prison! vanish from my sight!
so cruel the strength of your chains is
lives have been shattered;
from you it is, that god is cursed,
your presence makes us hate power
had not you ever been born
i would call the world
the rendezvous of peace
the shelter of the poor
the immaculate waters where
there's no inequality
the shrine where
the world worships time — the goddess


Be brave, sister
Translated  by Laifitngbam Debabrata Roy

Image Courtesy: The Hindu

Ah, enough
stop this show of laughter
when eyes brim tears
forgive me i listen no more

why blame fate endlessly
prove your strength, sister
is the world of the poor any different?
stop hitching rides in their vehicles
to bare more of meekness can only invite disrespect

walk across these fields to me
dream your destiny as birthright
a high seat awaits you here
to honour unrecognised strength
inherited thro' your birthplace

look, sister
look around you
 trees heavy with fruit
how tall they stand in the sun's searing heat
rooted strong in the land of their birth

we, like the trees, must
from our roots take our hearts
let's go tell our plaints
this land unmoved that gives us succour
never will we allow her dishonour

the scorching sun
daunt us not from our work
the power of your sorrow-filled body
can crush mountain and metropolis


* Name of a bridge over the Turel (river) in the north of Imphal City, the capital of Manipur.