Original Odia Poem by : Guruprasad Mohanty
English Translation by : Ramakanta Rath
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
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?