War a hearts ravage-12

English Translation: P. Jayalakshmi & Bhargavi Rao

Telugu Original : “Yuddham oka Gunde Kotha” by Seela Subhadra Devi

Sky touching flame trees,

infrequent fiery festoons’ sudden opening, 

petal showering spatter of sparks,

mien-shaking yawn of forest king,

limb-stretching brutality, and

burst of splitting sliding silence.

Climbing forest creepers, 

wondering watch monkey crowds, 

without having lit how rage the forest fires!


seeing twin-tongued mirthful play

serpents draw in tongues.

Blindly following path of those ahead

animal life, harmless dumb, yield to death.

Heavy, incapable of movement

great physiques, are consumed wholly by fire;

immigrant birds, 

flying selfishly away

look hard for safe havens;

weaklings, hoping to act

when harm approached 

satiate their hungers slow;

terrifying pythons lying in wait–brute beasts

kill life coming their way seeking shelter,

consume mouthfuls greedily

not ever thinking if they could digest.

Confused and confounded crowds 

moving heltered and skeltered,

whichever direction,

scenes of deserts too ablaze!

Monstrosity as molten fire

burning down populous cities,

on all sides suffocation;

envelop of odorous death smell.

Heart, as a paraiah, alienation-afflicted;  

humanity confused which way to choose

seek and search for a secure home.

Having reached the place, at last

breathes free, sheltered in mother’s breast.

Whence peace?

Once before this digestive fire

gratified itself with Khandav fire alone.

How calm this wild fire?

How many lives held in hand 

sacrificed to holy fire?

How many mothers have to bear wombs’ pang?

How many children deserting maternal laps

have to fall as wilted way side flowers?

How many maiden dreams to collapse as castles in air?

How many more, youthful zeal misled

become holy firewood in war sacrifice?

How many youth turn Siddharthas 

a researcher of death!

When … when will this fiery blaze cool down?

How many more nations

to sacrifice to this fierce fiery thirst?


(To be continued-)

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