Gopalakrishna Adiga

(18 February 1918 - 14 November 1992 / Mogeri, Kundapura taluk, Udupi, Karnataka / India)

This Land of Ours Now


Put this tree, dead in roots, erect,
Let the branches be as they are;
Collect the fallen leaves with choked feelings,
Boil them, prepare soup, and drink.

Water the tree; while you are sad
Water it with tears; show sympathy
With all your might; inside
Curry the favours of Sani.

Bring bulbs of rainbow colours; and
Hang them on evey branch of the tree;
Fix the paper flowers, scent them with perfumes;
And play the casettes of birds` songs.

You can`t complain that the tree is dead, there`s no shade;
Do you want a better shade than the shade of the roof of gold?
This is an ancient tree; what other solid branch you want
Than this to hang yourself and die?

When the wind blows from the west
The stage becomes active with the western dance and music;
This immortal tree doesn`t like the muddy water of the surrounding earth:
It sucks the nectar of heaven and grows.

Won`t even a single bird come here? -
Parrot, koyal, sparrow, crow, or owl?
Beat the koyal to death, stuff it with grass,
And then neatly arrange it on the branch.

Cover the moth-eaten tree with gold; and,
Carve its story on the trunk:
'There was shade here once, green leaves and buds, flowers and fruits,
koyal`s song, parrot`s nest;

Here was Kodanda, and the Panchajanya,
And the wheel-it was turning;
There were hermits, and the Vedas,
And this and that and much more.'

Hoist high the flag of 'Was'.
Bother not about the 'Is'.
There is tree, there is gold,
Water it and grow.

Submitted: Tuesday, July 10, 2012

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