LANDSCAPE

Original Odia Poem by : Guruprasad Mohanty

English Translation by : Ramakanta Rath

Guruprasad Mohanty

(1924-2004)

Guruprasad Mohanty is regarded as the founder of modernism in Odia Poetry. His poems occupy a unique place in Odia literature. He was awarded Sahitya Akademi award in 1973. He has written only 68 poems in his lifetime

 

How could the gulmohur

preserve its redness

in the unceasing traffic

of automobiles?

 

At some nondescript moment

of some forever-lost century

this redness began its journey

from some first stirring of blood

to the April sunlight of today.

 

This summer day

heaps red dust on the road

meandering across the treeless hill.

Tyres of cars, buses, trucks and jeeps

and the chimneys of the steel plant

belch red dust all the time.

How then can the gulmohur

preserve its own redness?

 

I look out of the window

of the superfast bus

through my sunglasses

and try to comprehend

actual problems of the red colour

and its present-day motives and conduct.

 

Are my looks as stupid

as the look of

the superannuated old chairman

of the Enquiry-Commission

set up after the crowd

took out processions, burnt buses, and

was lathi-charged and fired upon?

 

From its origin in ether

the gulmohur’s redness

has descended on the road.

How could redness continue to be red

amidst all this automobile traffic?

 

Where does this redness go

after the annihilation of its being?

Does it travel to a sad, disarrayed,

unsure and ravaged sunset

in some horizon?

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