A Widower’s Lamentations

Dr. Shreepati Singh
Translated from Maithili by Ayodhyanath Choudhary

Ayodhyanath Choudhary, Translator


You should have lived a little longer
Until our daughter’s wedding was over
We should have wept together at her departure;
But I alone wept for both of you.

I never complained why you made me weep
But you did, asking me why I made you weep
You often shed tears complaining against me
But tell me now why you make me weep so deep!

Tell how I can enflame the pyre ready for you
With the hand that put vermilion in the parting in your hair
People wonder how I will be able to do so;
I forgot myself while enflaming the pyre.

When I lie down to sleep at night
Only you prop up in my mind
When I suddenly wake up in the middle of my sleep
I feel like you are saying something.

Having great regards for your husband
You used to bow down and touch my feet
Now I have started touching your feet
Since you have become all divine.

Once I was single and alone
Then I became ‘we two’;
Now I have become single again
And your photo is my sole companion.

I was not able to present you a beautiful sari
Nor could give you the ornaments of your choice
I couldn’t give you the bliss of a pilgrimage
Now these things torture me a lot.

I keep mum when I have a headache
I keep silent when my tired feet ache
I press my calves myself to find solace
Alas! Whom should I tell what I feel like?

I wished ‘Good Luck ‘ on your birthday
You bowed to touch my feet with laughter
Then I  presented you a precious ‘mobile’
Without knowing it would be your last birthday.

(Original title of the poem is ‘Bidhur Vilap’.)