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International Poetry Festival
This is the
evening of the 5th of February 2010, the curtain of the Poetry
Festival Kritya 2010 has just been dropped and we are all
together, but in a mixed mood.
We have been blessed by the golden glows of the most powerful
poetry expressed. We are all bound by a feeling of fulfillment
and bliss. We are all ready to journey back to our nests. Though
we come from different parts of India and even the world, speak
different languages, are torchbearers of diverse cultures, we
are bonded as though we are one.
Israel's Diti Ronen and Shyamla Nair from India are conversing
as if they are long lost friends. I patiently tell them there
are other people too from other places, to which Norway's Bjorn
smilingly replies, "They will talk until world's Peace is
The young Tibetan, Tenzin Tsundue, had claimed at the beginning
of the festival that he was Tibetan not Indian, but he changed
his thinking pretty soon. He said, "I belong here, I cannot
leave this country." His pain hurt us also:
"When I was born
My mother said
you are a refugee.
your tent on the roadside
smoked in the snow.
you have reached
the Horizon here.
from here to another
here you go.
From there to the next
next to the next
horizon to horizon
every step is a horizon.
Count the steps
and keep the number.
Pick the white pebbles
and the funny strange leaves.
mark the curves
and cliffs around
for you may need
to come home again.
You are what rolls
what leaps what sees
can you coax out the weightless
a leap out of the impossible
can the incredible happen some day
between measured order
something that bursts the confines
of the finite
While a plane zooms past in the sky
Ants gather around a tree
A woman spreads out some clothes to dry
A postman delivers letters to a house
A farmerís spade strikes the earth
A calf runs merrily
A woman takes a dip in a pond
And a girl gets her share of bliss
Or a sorrowful moment touches her
But if the plane happens to be a warplane
all this disappears in a flash
convention is centered on the poetry of exile, the poetry of
diaspora. With increasing mobility, being physically uprooted
from oneís familiar environment is becoming a common experience.
In the globalized world, which is shrinking day by day, we see
people of diverse natures and nationalities thrown together,
their ties from their physical as well as spiritual landscape
snapped, and rootlessness as the only common feature among them.
The world is one, but one in nullity. It is a sad picture. But I
do not think it is such a modern phenomenon, although it is
being much talked about today. We all leave our home at one
point of our lives or another and then spend the rest of our
lives trying to go back to it. It is a fundamental human
experience. It happens all the time. It happened yesterday, it
is happening today and it will happen in future. There is no
escape for Man from this essentially human predicament; if being
exiled is seen and understood as not only a physical reality,
but also a spiritual and emotional phenomenon.
They booted my homeland
out from under me
ó what they call exile ó
that is, all of a sudden
the ground was gone
and distance lay everywhere before me
But one day,
before that happened,
they stripped me
of my freedom,
and then ó
gasping for air,
surrounded by iron bars
They cut out my voice:
I have two voices
I pour out my songs
in two different tongues
They stripped me of the sum
two new suns
like two resplendent drums
I am playing
They isolated me from my people
and today my twin song
is returning like an echo
to my people And
in spite of the darkness
of this banishment,
today my poetry is aflame
before the mirror
They cut out my voice:
I have two voices
a little better than when
my daughter out of my aims:
on that day,
everything -- the future -- was gone
Rising the shining moon;
The face of the maiden,
Is forming in my mind.
Green shoots sown just last year,
Are this year but dry thatch;
Aged, the body of youth,
Bent stiffer than a bow.
If the one whom I love,
Could be mine forever;
This one joy will compare,
Gems from the oceanís depth!
Sweetheart of the wayside,
Though fair and sweet-scented;
Like a faulty turquoise,
Was found but cast away!
Set not thy heart upon,
Daughters of the mighty;
Like peaches on tall trees,
Ripen beyond your reach.
When love doth steal the heart,
Sleepless are the long nights;
Heartache follows the day,
That brings not the loved one.
When transient flowers fade,
Mourn not, thou turquoise bee;
When transient love doth wane,
That is no cause to mourn.
Cold frost on the flowers,
Agent of the north wind;
Is here to tear apart,
The flower and the bee.