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
never knowing
the absence of joy
Stunned by that void
into which shadows vanish
forms dissolve
falling, we would imagine flying
without a sky
Only sounds
reach the surviving memory
no need for introductions
The poet's fate
poetry'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.


  1. June 7th, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Genaro Delgado says:

    Gracias Por las traducciones
    simples palabras
    profundo viaje a algun lugar
    Por las traducciones linguisticas
    y las metafisicas
    Un saludo