Tempest of time (poems)

-Kondapalli Niharini

Translated by Elanaaga

Translator’s Note

          I have been trying to take some good Telugu literature into English for a long. In that process, I translated the stories of VattikotaAlwaruSwamy, Dasarathi Krishnamacharya, andKalojiNarayanaRao. Besides rendering such good fiction, I translated modern poetry as well. However, I was a bit reluctant to take up English translations of modern Telugu poetry extensively. Due to this, I had to be very choosy while contemplating embarking upon such efforts, but of late I relaxed my restriction a bit. This change has resulted in this translation.

          Dr. KondapalliNeeharini has been showing a great promise in her literary work for the last few years. Her poetry reflects good Telangana idioms, besides couching the ideals and aspirations of her native land. She raises her voice against injustice whenever she comes across it. She argues on behalf of women over certain issues that are detrimental to the welfare of the female population, with not much aggression though. Thus, she can be described as a conservative feminist if not a radical feminist. Further, she emphasizes the importance of family values in life. Also, she has a penchant for the propriety of language. For instance, she employed a new Telugu word, viz.,haalinifor a female farmer in this book. No poet has used this word earlier in poetry. All these factors have gone a long way in my deciding to render her Telugu book, KaalaPrabhanjanaminto English.

          Many translation works, especially those replete with native idiom first appear easy, but laterprove otherwisewhen the rendering gets going. This translation was no exception in this regard. Yet I grappled with it and completed the work; my experience has helped in this.Earlier, some books were considered “not amenable to translation” by many translators. However, after the translation of Geetanjali Shree’s Ret Samadhi into English by Daisy Rockwell got the International Booker Prize, there has been much debate on certain issues of translation. Some have refuted the idea that some texts can be “not amenable to translation.” If the translator has enough skill, any text can be translated, they said. Only, one has to acquire greater ingenuity and put in greater effort. This explanation seems plausible. James Joyce’s English novel Ulysses was written in the “Stream of Consciousness” style. Many, after reading it, would feel that rendering it into another language is not possible. However, it was translated into over twenty languages including French. So, one requires to improve his or her skill beforeoutrightly rejecting a bookfor rendering.

          It is a matter of pleasure that the noted poet and writerPradeepBiswal of Bhubaneshwar and writer cum translator K. DamodarRao of Warangal have consented to write forewords to this book. The former is a well-known Odia poet while the latter is an accomplished translator. As promised, both kept their word.Dr. Neeharini did not impose any restrictions on me concerningthe rendering of this book. So, I enjoyed the full liberty that she had given me. I am grateful to these three people.I have another reason to thank K. DamodarRao; he proofread my translation meticulously and made certain corrections here there, which perhaps contributed to some improvement in the quality.

          I hope the readers would receive this translation of mine with the same love and affection as they did in the past in the case of my earlier renderings.



4. The Burnt Heart

I will take the infinite fire of sorrow
from the emptied silence, from the nonstop sleep,
smear it on parallel lines
and make red sweat ooze from them.

I flipped the pages of history
replete with discrimination, offences
and blocked the heart walls with them.
Did the same to the maladies,
which haven’t seen new dawns.

I will put males or females as Bhethalas
on the rock of the magical world;
stick the tacks of hope’s eye-lids
on a handbag or the straps of chappals.

Burying the blood-drenched clouds
in the cracked- up soil, carrying the truth,
I will become a broken statue
which ties the lies to thelatitude.

When the streams of torments
keep swelling unendingly,
I will cry with complaints on all sides,
transfer me to certain direction.
Asking the eastern winds to hack
the whirlwinds that burn baby rays,
I will teach the world the songs of the season.

I will become a spying eye spotting
the dual attitudes of those who
instigate childhood with demonic plays.
Will become sharp on either side
as a dropped blossom and a heap of ash.

Erecting a bridge on which hearts can walk
with the hues of the crescent moon,
fastening unburnt images to stars,
I will move as a trailblazing aeon.

Scripting the death sentences of
the unwritten definitions,
I will imagine the corpse
of his sin in the mat’s roll.
I am time;
I am the life that cannot return.
I am a quiver; a burnt heart of
charmless jungle devoid of moonlight!

(Vividha, Andhra Jyothi, 23rd September 2019)


(To be continued-)

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