Poems

Mountain Child

The mountain child —
a fragment of the mountain —
plays in the lap of the mountain

Toddling up the mountain
he plants his feet in the mountain soil
to rise like a mountain
in the land of mountains

The whole mountain
lives inside the mountain child
And in the lap of the mountain
lives the scurrying mountain child

The mountain child sees
a plane flying over the mountain
And he asks his father —
What is that bird?

Translation notes

The poem we translated had already been translated from Santali to Hindi - it was the first time we had translated a translated poem. It was a very interesting process, and we hope to work with Sukrita Paul Kumar again in the future.

3 Comments

1 Leslie Sloane

In my thoughts, this is a beautiful poem reflecting the beginning journey of the joyful child who wishes to play, discover, and seek that which he/she sees beyond the veil from birth, and can now move about to discover in the physical world.

It is the joining of the Heavens, which are present with the Mountain Child, weaving them in with the energies of the grounded and powerful mountain from which the physical strength is drawn, as the mountain itself holds the child safe

Then, the wonderousness reveals itself through a magical question. 

Beautiful!!!

Nirmala was introduced to me by a friend, and I am very honoured to read her words of Love/Wisdom.

Sincerely,

Leslie Sloane

2 Saiya

it sounds so cute

3 Lalita Agashe

A wonderful poem by Nirmala! If her words were not so simple, it would have failed to capture the profound integration of a mountain child with the surrounding mountains.  The last stanza questions the meaningfulness of modernity that alienates human from one’s earthly roots, the gap between adulthood that takes away the innocence; the information gathering that distances one from commonsense.

Congratulations to the translator for a very good overall translation of this poem.

I would like to humbly mention a small point here about the translation regarding the difference in my understanding of the word ‘ugne’ in the last line ‘puurii taakat se ugne ke lie’ , of second stanza. The word ‘ugne’ is a form of the verb ‘ugna’ meaning ‘to germinate’. A literal translation therefore of ‘ugne ke lie’ would be ‘for germinating’.  And then in the final translation, ‘the first stage of growth, germination, with full power,’ will convey the meaning better. Of course translation is a very delicate and tough job, and very subjective too.

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