The Poet's Fate
by Mohan Rana
Were this light even whiter
you and I would be invisible
we each would live our invisible pain
the absence of joy
Stunned by that void
into which shadows vanish
falling, we would imagine flying
without a sky
reach the surviving memory
no need for introductions
The poet's fate
just a breath
The literal translation of this poem was made by Lucy Rosenstein
The final translated version of the poem is by The Poetry Translation Workshop
This was the second poem ('The Washerman' is the other) that the poet himself, Mohan Rana, helped us translate when he did us the great honour of coming along to our workshop.
'The Washerman' needed a lot of finessing but, after that, this next poem came out very cleanly and quickly, perhaps because we were beginning to grasp the measure of the poet's voice.
The title took some discussion. At one point we went for 'To Be a Poet' and then went for 'The Poet's Fate' when we reached that line in the poem (the same as the title in Hindi), ditching the Hamlet-feel of our first attempt.
It was a real pleasure to have Mohan with us, and we are very grateful to him - and to his translator, Lucy Rosenstein - for giving us this unique insight into his poetry and for enduring our probing questions with such grace and patience.
© Poetry Translation Centre 2004-2015