Suman Pokhrel: Translated by Dr. Abhi Subedi

Suman Pokhrel_pictureBIO

Suman Pokhrel (सुमन पोखरेल) born on September 21, 1967, is a multilingual Nepali poet, lyricist and translator as well as an artist. He is one of the finest Nepali poets today known for innovative style and grace. He has acclaimed collections of poems in Nepali entitled Soonya Mutuko Dhadkanbhitra (1999) (Within the Beats of Beat less Heart) and Jeevanko Chheubaata (From the Bank of Life) (2010) and collections of marvellous songs called Hazaar Aankha Yee Aankhama (Thousands of Eyes onto these Eyes) (2001) to his credit.
As a poet, Suman Pokhrel partakes in the mundane aspect of life with a passion that makes his reader to elevate to a higher self. The impressionable images created by him allow his readers to introspect. His poems revolve around the nuances of life. He is a poet with a strong tender voice. The play around his choice of words creates magic in the minds of his readers.
Pokhrel’s poems are published in various poetry journals and anthologies nationally and internationally. Pokhrel was awarded with prestigious SAARC Literary Award in 2013.

 

Abhi Subedi_picture
BIO

Born in Terathum of eastern Nepal, Dr. Abhi Subedi (अभि सुवेदी) received his higher education in Nepal and Britain. He is an essayist, critic, linguist, playwright, translator and poet. He has over two- dozen books on different subjects to his credit. Among his over 10 plays, strong theatre groups in Nepal and abroad have performed several of them. Professor Subedi has taught for 40 years at the Central Department of English. He is vice-President of the Nepali Folklore Society of Nepal. He is the founding former President of the International Theatre Institute (ITI) UNESCO from 2000—2008 and member of International Playwright’s Forum from 2000-2011. Subedi became President (1990-1992) and two times General Secretary of the Linguistic Society of Nepal. He was also President of the Literary Association of Nepal. He is vice-President of the Nepal Folklore Society and member of International Association of Theatre Critics. He is involved in a number of interdisciplinary study groups and a prolific writer on issues of freedom, culture, literature, arts and social transformations. His essays and seminar papers are published in Nepal and outside.

 

(All poems from the original Nepali translated into English by Abhi Subedi).

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1.


रुख

हाँगामा चढेर प्रदर्शित गरे आफूलार्इ
र बैठक र मन्दिर चहार्दै हराए फूलहरू।
कुनै आकारमा अटाउन नसकेर बेठेगान दौडिरहे नदीहरू।
असङ्
ख्य गन्तव्य बोकेर जताततै बराल्लिइरहे बाटाहरू।

म भने उही माटालार्इ समाएर
उभिइरहेछु निरन्तर।

कति युगल मेरो फेदमा बसेर
कल्पनाको संसार उडी रमाए,
ढाकर बिसाएर कति भरियाहरू
मेरो आडमा रहरको जीवनजस्तै सपना निदाए।
केटाकेटीहरू हाँगाहाँगामा उफ्रिएर
बाल्यकाल सम्झाउने चिनो बोकी हुर्किएर गए।

बेतोडले कुदेका हावाका झुन्डहरू
मेरा पातमा बसी एक छिन साउती मारेर आकाश खेद्दै क्षितिजतिर दौडिए,
बचेराहरू मेरै हाँगामा काढिएर
पँखेटा उमारी जीवन बोकेर उडे,
थकानले आफैँलार्इ बिर्सी आइपुगेका यात्री पनि
मेरो छायामा बौरिए र आफूलार्इ लिएर गए।

कतिपल्ट दिनभरि हिर्काएर घामले
उभिएको ठाउँबाट खेद्
न खोजिरह्यो मलार्इ,
पानीले चुटेर मलार्इ नै पानी बनार्इ बगाउन खोज्यो,
आँधीले ठेलेर उडाउने चेष्टा गर्दै
कतै पुर्
याएर आफैँजस्तै बिलाइदिन खोज्यो।

इन्द्रेनी बोकेका किरणहरू पनि अडिएनन्,
नौमती बाजा र एकोहोरो शङ्खका आवाजहरू पनि
पालैपालो आए र कतै गइरहे।

घरबाट निस्कनुअघि चार दिन परको बटुवा
मेरो छहारीमा एकपल्ट सुस्ताएर हिँड्
ने सोच्दछ,
मेरा हाँगामा चल्ला काढ्
ने निधो गरेर
चराहरू वसन्त बोलाउँछन्,
कतै हराइयो भने यहीँ भेट्
ने भनेर बाटाहरू छुट्टिन्छन्,
आँधीले खेद्दै ल्याएका धुला र कसिङ्गरहरू
मेरा पातमा छेलिएर थकाइ मार्छन्।
बर्षाको कुटाइले पानी भएको माटो
मेरा जरा समाएर आफ्नो अस्तित्वमा फर्कन्छ।

बिजुलीले आँखै बिर्साउने गरी नाचेर लोभ्याउन खोजिरहे,
चट्याङहरूले तर्साएझैँ गरिरहे,
बादलहरूले पानी छ्याप्दै ब्यूँझाउन खोजेझैँ गरिरहे।

हिँडू लागेन
यहाँबाट कहिल्यै मलार्इ।

.

Tree

Flowers climb the branches
exhibit their full blossom
flowers visit drawing rooms
They visit temples
and then they vanish.
defying fixed shapes
rivers hasten to no destination.
carrying countless goals
roads get lost in a maze.

Unceasingly
I stand
holding the selfsame earth.

Many couples came under my shade
and rose to ecstatic heights
of imagination,
tired porters
put down their baskets
by my side
and slept out dreams
like lives of longings.
children who hopped branches,
left as they grew
carrying mementos
to remind childhood.

Wild winds’ whirling clusters
whispered a while
perching on my leaves
and raced towards horizons
chasing sky,
chicks hatched on my branches
grew wings and flew out
carrying tiny lives,
travelers who arrived
passed out from exhaustion
but they came round under my shade
and carried themselves away.

Many a time
slogging me through the day
the sun sought to chase me away
from my standing position,
rain battered me into water
threatening to wash me down,
storm nearly blew me by force
by melting me into air
somewhere like itself.

Rays carrying rainbows
could not stay with me
sounds of Naumati band and
monotonous conch-shell drones
rose in sky by turns
and faded somewhere.

Traveler living in a distance
four days from here
before leaving home
thinks of relaxing under my shade
and catching up with his journey,
birds herald the spring
resolved to hatch on my branches,
roads part to meet here
in case they got lost,
dusts and shriveled leaves
take a breather behind my leaves
escaping chasing hurricane.

soil a muddy flow hit by rain
turns to its essence holding my roots.
lightning dancing with winking eyes
continued to tempt
thunderbolts played threat games
clouds acted as though
they were splashing water
to wake me up.

Never did I feel like
leaving this place
and walk.

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2.

रहर

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रहरहरू खेलिरहन्छन्
निरन्तर।

म हेरिरहेछु,
नियतिदेखि अनभिज्ञ रहरहरू
स-साना केटाकेटीझैँ खेलिरहन्छन्
मनभित्र।

खेल्दाखेल्दै
फुटाउँछन्
मनमा भएका खेलौनाहरू ती
कोतर्छन्
मनका भित्ताहरू ती
कोट्याउँछन्
मनका पत्रहरू र धुजाधुजा पारेर फ्याँक्छन्
ती।

थाह पाउँदैनन्
रहरहरूले,
मान्छे
बाँचिरहेछ नाजुक जिन्दगीको अभावग्रस्त बँचाइ,
भत्कन हुँदैन भनेरै मात्र नभत्किएका
आशाका खण्डहरमाथि उभिएर भन्ने।

रहरहरू निर्वोध छन्, निर्भय छन्।

चकचक गर्छन्
मनको भीरमा
बेस्सरी हल्लाउँछन्
मनको हाँगामा चढेर
मनको भाँच्चिएको टुक्राको घोडा चढ्
छन्

उफ्रन्छन्
मनै थर्काउने गरी कहिले
कहिले फुटाउँछन्
मनको बिर्को र
छताछुल्ल पोखिदिन्छन्
भावनाहरू।

रमाइलो लाग्छ,
रहरहरूले छरेका मनका टुक्रा बटुलेर जोडिरहन,
मेरी सानी छोरीले भत्काएका उसका खेलौनाहरू जोडेजस्तो।

मनपर्छ केटाकेटीजस्ता रहरहरू
र मलार्इ जीवनवोध गराउँदै
घरिघरि झस्क्याइरहने तिनका खेलहरू।

झुकेर सलाम गर्छु म रहरहरूलार्इ।
रहरहरू नआउनु हो खेल्न भने
मन पनि म जत्तिकै खालीखाली हुने थियो।

जीवन मेरा आँखाबाट
मलार्इ थाहै नदिर्इ कहिले भागिसकेको हुने थियो।

.

Desires

Desires
play perpetually

I am gazing–
desires
unaware of destiny
frisk about my mindscape
like children.

While playing children
break my mind’s toys
lacerate its walls
peel away mind’s layers
pulverise them and
throw around.

Desires stay unaware
of man’s fragile existence
authored by scarcity

They are not demolished
because it’s said they should not–
to be declared standing
on hope’s ruins.

Desires unopposed, undaunted
romp around mind’s cliff
swing fast on mind’s branch
gallop on its broken piece
jump shaking mind’s foundations,
sometimes they break mind’s bell jar
spilling feelings.

It’s fun assembling
mind’s jigsaw pieces
scattered by desires
like assembling
my small daughter’s toys
strewn about in her play.

I like desires like children
and their plays
that tease me now and then into
knowing life.

I salute my desires with a bow.
were it not for them to come and play
mind would be empty just like me.

Life would flee
from my eyes
without telling me when.

.

3.

कमैया बस्तीमा

म छुट्याउन सकिरहेको थिइनँ
उनीहरूका भाग्य र
उनीहरूका छाप्रा अड्याइरहेका ती झिना झिक्राहरूमध्ये
कुन बढी विश्वासयोग्य थिए।

उनीहरूले पछारेको घिनलाग्दो इतिहास
र उनीहरूलार्इ जिस्क्याइरहेको निर्लज्ज वर्तमानमध्ये
कुन ज्यादा नाङ्गो थियो,
कुन अधिक वीभत्स थियो
मैले बुझ्न सकिरहेको थिर्इनँ।

तिनका अनुहारमा सन्तुष्टिजस्तै हँसाइ पोती
जब गुन्जिरहेथे स्वाभिमानमा उभिएका
ती उन्मुक्त आवाजहरू हाम्रो वरिपरि,
मलार्इ उदेक लागिरहेथ्यो।

“पानी पर्
यो भने के गर्छौ?”, सोधिरहेथे साथीहरू
“खै के हुन्छ, भिज्छौँ होला”, हाँस्दै उत्तर दिइरहेथे उनीहरू
“भरे के खान्छौ?”, उत्तर थिएन उनीहरूसँग, हाँस्नुबाहेक अर्को।

मलार्इ रिस उठ्
लाझैँ भइरहेथ्यो
मेरो बोली हराएझैँ गरिरहेथ्यो
जसरी तिनीहरू आफ्ना सपना हराइरहेथे।

नभोगेको खुसीमा हाँस्दै गरेका ती अनुहारमा
चड्याङ्
चड्याङ्
हिर्काउँझैँ लागिरहेथ्यो मलार्इ
त्यो दु:खमा किन हाँसिरहेछन्
तिनीहरू भनेर।

इन्द्रेनी पनि लत्पतिएर टाँगिएजस्तो
पानी पनि सुइरो भएर बर्सिएजस्तो
घाम उदाएर पनि बस्तीको आकाशलार्इ समेत नछोर्इ उम्किभागेजस्तो
उनीहरूको सपनामाथिको ठट्टा देखेर मलार्इ रोऊँरोऊँ भइरहेथ्यो।

त्यो गन्तव्यविहीनतामा रुमल्लिइरहेका यात्राहरूको बस्तीबीच
बेसुरमा गाइरहेका चराहरूको स्वर
नियतिदेखि अनभिज्ञ नाचिरहेका पुतलीका उमङ्ग
र मिठासविहीन बहिरहेको लाटो हावा देखेर
मलार्इ बहुलाऊँबहुलाऊँ भइरहेथ्यो।

त्यत्रो अपमान पराजित गरेपछि जन्मिएको
त्यो निस्सारता देखेर मलार्इ मरूँमरूँ लागिरहेथ्यो।
उनीहरू रमाइरहेथे संसार विजय गरेझैँ।

मलार्इ जीवनको रहस्यले पिरोलिरह्यो,
प्रश्न आयो मनमा,
के स्वतन्त्रता जीवनभन्दा मिठो हुन्छ?
वा जीवन कठीन भएपछि बाँच्न सजिलो हुन्छ?

Among freed Bonded-labourers

I could not say
which one was more authentic,
their fate or
the slender woody sticks
that supported their shacks.

I didn’t understand
which one was more unclad
and which one more ruinous
the hated history
they chucked on the ground
or the shameless present
that mocks their fate.

I was surprised
when their free tongues
bolstered by self-esteems
were resonating around us
creating ripples of smiles
across their faces
like deep contentment.

Friends were asking
‘what will you do if it rains?
‘maybe we will get wet’
was their reply.
‘what will you eat later?’
they had no reply to offer
save the selfsame smiles.

I felt I was getting enraged
and losing my speech
like them losing their dreams.

I felt like slapping on those faces
smiling for good fortunes
that they never saw,
and for laughing
even in misery.

Like a rainbow arching with a splash
like a rain falling in needles
like sun drifting away by stealth
without touching the country sky
I felt like crying
to see them jesting
with their own dreams.

I was feeling like mad
by the melody of birds
singing out of tune
in the settlements
where travels lose
their own destinations,
zest of butterflies dancing
unaware of their fates,
and the dumb wind
blowing with no fine taste.

I felt I would die
to see that hollowness
born by defeating humiliations;
they were cheerful
as if they had conquered the world.

Life’s mystery continued to trouble me
a question came to my mind,
is freedom dearer than life?
or does it become easier to live
when life becomes difficult?

 

*****

 

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