I am an Indian poet in English!
How long shall I wear this elegant
garland? Can I even put it down?
Poetry in English is like a passion for empire building.
It’s the subaltern speaking
the words pleading to be universally, intently heard.
I guess what I write is no English.
Still it’s a negotiable alternative
to breathing, to the art of living.
It’s the aroma to keep my spirits buoyant.
It’s a reconciliation, a bridge-in-making,
between the privileged and the marginalized.
Oh Muses! Teach me how to break down
this boundary – poets and Indian English poets–erected
since ages, between the periphery and the centre.
Make my poetry as delicious as
dry-fish. To look the world in the eye.
I write in English to free my words
lying imprisoned in the arms of the heart.
Be it Orissan or Indian, but it’s out of this earth and wind.
I am the drunkard and I am the glass
of beer. I have committed no sin
which you haven’t ; I share your fate.
Odia is to think ,feel, dream and
be my funeral pyre. English, to me,
is my garland and my sword, my sole refuge.
It’s the voice of my longings and belongings.
honest as the west wind and the yearly floods in
coastal Indian villages, it’s the frozen marrow in my bones.
But it gives me a name, my very own.
It comes to me without tireless waiting.
It torrents with the haste of the Yamuna in July rain.
Language is like raindrops shaped into a pearl.
It’s like happy-healthy sprouted beans ; like red wine
from Goa; like silken embroidery on my outfit.
It kick-starts the day with the mercury boiled,
it clears all barriers between the
heart and the home and hearth.
The alphabets of the English I use, with their
jingling anklets, flood my world with joy.
Poetry falls down in droplets, the stars melt away.
I am Indian, Odia by birth, with
wheatish brown skin, dark eyes. I am just a
poet – English or no English– my taverns filled with Muses.
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.I would like to translate this poem