English Translation: Sanika Dhakephalkar
Poems by Chhaya Koregaonkar
To plant a tree inside a fence
is not to promise
the safety of its flower.
These are buds scratched from wombs
even before they could ever become flowers.
Or say, it is through the Khairlanji massacre
that terror is sowed
inside a woman’s whole, bare womb;
it isn’t as though this age of science
has seen the invention of manure that
can claim to protect these petals.
Maybe, Tathagata even
would need to open his eyes to search,
to comb through all the ghettos
for the Isa Gautami who remains.
It only follows then, that Savitri’s daughters
must embrace wisdom now
Before learning to draw letters in dust,
their hands must now bear the arms
for the uninterrupted existence of woman!
A poem mustn’t cross the path of people.
To descend into a crowded street, straight
into the commotion of humans
and then to sing songs of Kabir
is simply unacceptable.
is as comical as
releasing a rainbow
in a school for the blind.
To set sail in a ship of words
and embark on a tour of the world
is no less than a monstrous cognizable offense–
A poem should reside
safe and sound
in a nest of words;
Instead of associating
a poem with bread,
find the verses of those
who write poems
and lose yourself.
Poem never is
A burp of contentment following a meal.
Poem means piles.
It is what keeps
a body rising from its stalk, spinning
in an endless rhythm of agony.
Still, the poem is indispensable,
like a womb for a foetus.
How many years have passed since you opened the well?
The period blood has still not been washed
While we were tracing your school’s
alphabet of equality
generations have turned, slates have broken…
the oozing did not stop.
Sitting across the chest of the constitution,
they unscrupulously strip
our mothers and sisters.
Battlefields are made of women’s bodies
and the histories of impotent masculinity are written
with the blood of Khairlanji.
It won’t suffice only
to throw open the well
A new well must be dug
to bury the hidebound successors of Manu.
Otherwise, even messengers of peace will have no choice
but to resort to arms!
You’re listening, aren’t you?
To the sound of unbridled horses’ hooves?
Before these noxious hooves
The tender dawn
your little one holds inside her little fist,
emerge from the smoke of the stove.
Look past the threshold of your house—
How the new century dazzles!
Let this gleaming flood collapse
over your body
But be steadfast and tend
to the tiny, bright
spark of your pride.
They now have full knowledge
of the span of your wings.
Don’t let your ankles be tangled
In the anklets of society.
Don’t even be fooled by the carrot of women’s reservations;
This carrot is but a lute in the hands
of these master tricksters.
Manu has materialized again.
He is clothed in a saffron cassock—
examine his face closely.
Do this now:
Understand the global script
of the birth of an era;
Don’t bide your time waiting for a Jotiba.
Become your own Savitri,
a whole new alphabet.