In the Stillness of a Word

by Amrita Bharati

Both
are so alike -
his earth
my sky
I wanted
to follow him
wherever he went

But our paths
were so different -
he was on one
I on the other
with a line between us -
his
and mine

We
were one
in our soul
But
he walked
on the low peaks of the earth
And I
in the high chasms
of the sky

Maybe
these two paths
will turn
one day
in my poetry
so we may walk together
in the stillness of a word

The literal translation of this poem was made by Lucy Rosenstein

The final translated version of the poem is by The Poetry Translation Workshop

Notes

Amrita Bharati's poetry is remarkably delicate and the central aim of the adjustments we made to Lucy Rosenstein's literal version was to retain the understated tranquility of her tone.

We hesitated over 'turn' in the final stanza, nearly choosing 'veer' or 'change' instead. But we settled in the end on 'turn' as it encapsulated the ambiguities in the Hindi original: of the path itself changing direction in both a physical and a metaphysical sense.

There are no capital letters in Hindi, and no punctuation. We decided to have as little punctuation as possible, using capital letters at the beginnings of certain lines to indicate a fresh sentence, and adding a couple of dashes where they clarified the sense.

Comments

  1. August 22nd, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    waleed says:

    good....very meaningful...

  2. April 24th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    ks says:

    Thank you, this is a beautiful translation. Just one comment: you say in your notes that there are no capital letters in hindi and no punctuation. This is incorrect. There are no capital letters but Hindi uses the same 14 punctuation marks as English, except the sign for a period or a full stop is "|"

  3. May 13th, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    sheel nigam says:

    there is one place where these two path meet.i will write in hindi.

    door anant mein ,khitij ke us paar,jahan,dharti aur aakash ka milan hota hai.

    this is the truth of the life. our souls are together but thoughts are different, so we live life together but path differs, like--- nadi aik hai, uske dono kinare sath sath behte hai per kabhi nahi milte ,till the end , jab tak woh nadi ananat sagar mein nahi sama jati.

    hope , i have shared my views in a correct , possible way. i liked the poem very much.