By Zeenat Khan
Everything is replaceable until
the glass breaks on kitchen floor.
the round roti burnt black on stove.
through his own hands Faustus sold his soul.
hurled into hell Satan in Paradise Lost.
the virus walks on 2020 red road.
the stars become needles and fall.
the locusts smash the green grown crops.
the earthquake shakes the walls to fall.
the flood flung your cattle and hall.
the ship sunk inside Bermuda roll.
you jump and fall in death’s hole.
the sun swallows the earth whole.
your heart falls into someone’s jaws
they chewed its muscles soft and hot.
your loved one got killed by vengeful shot.
the riots looted your dignity and home.
in India you are born in shudra’s home.
to fascists you cast your single vote.
*shudra: marginalised section of society on the basis of caste
In the room
on the wall
near my bed
a little Lizard
hides and run
up and down
with puny petal legs
squinting pollen eyes
and a long filament tail.
In Hindi, we call
A lizard Chipkali.
To taste its meaning
Break like nuts
from middle, chip + kali.
Put it inside your mouth
Don’t chew: just let your
tongue touch. Take
it out in your hand
Breathe in its smell
Reach the alien land
hidden in your hand
meaning of a little life
yet to unfold, bloom
A Hidden Bud.
Zeenat is a Delhi-based young poet of 19. She is doing her under-graduation in English Literature from Vivekananda College, DU. Her work was recently published in Borderless Journal. She is co-curator of The Poetic Antidotes, a platform on Instagram to share works of acclaimed literary writers.
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TRANSLATION of Translation
Gabriel Rosenstock presents an Irish translation of the poem Translation.
Ar an mballa
Taobh lem’ leaba
Tá laghairt bheag
Ag rith síos suas
Ag dul i bhfolach
Lena cosa beaga peiteal
Súile pailine ag gliúcaíocht orm
Eireaball fada snáithíneach.
Sa Hiondúis tugtar Chipkali
Chun blaiseadh dá bhrí
Bris é mar chnó
Ina lár, chip + kali.
Cuir i do bhéal é
Ná cogain: lig dod’ theanga
É a bhrath. Tóg amach
Id’ lámh é
Bain amach an tír choigríoch sin
I bhfolach id’ ghlac
An bhrí atá le beatha bheag
Nár bhláthaigh fós
*kali : bachlóg
Dear Gabriel sir, thank you so much for this honour and love! I’ve been a passionate reader of your poems, in love with your haikus! This is so precious.
Thank you, Zeenat.