In Search of a New Era

Ganesh Ghimire

Long back,
when truth was still living
water happened to cross the limits of its conduct
by raising fish
in the pond where stands Kathmandu today

At the plea of the wretched people
Manjushree descended from the mountains,
cut open a gorge at Chobhar
and ended the white-terror of the big fish.
Seeing water’s unequal love for the fish
when the Creator filled intellect
into the soft tissues
human settlement commenced
in the Valley of Kathmandu

As the day matured
thoughts and desires of varied colours
spouted in the valley
in the name of civilization;
that brought in the Gopals, the Kirats.
With time, the Shahs entered
ousted the Lichchhavis and the Mallas
and no sooner than late, departed
and today, once again
faces of new emperors have emerged

In the gyration of time
the world happened to have sneaked
from underneath the armpits of hills
and went past Sanga, Chobhar and Nagdunga
rolling at times, or flying.
It engendered in Kathmandu
people more in number than expected
making Kathmandu feel as though it were not Kathmandu
and today, here, it trades on human beings.
These days, Kathmandu measures
the worth of people against money.
He is the watchman
when trust from upon him has receded
the nights wake every moment,
carrying on them
the photocopy of the ruins
of the tall, crumbling shrines

We don’t know when
air shall claim back its oxygen from people;
how long could they thrive, thirsty
merely on lentils, rice and water?
When could people get water from Melamchi
in your Kathmandu?

O Manjushree!
the episode of New Kathmandu campaign
you started with a sword
is aching with a burning pain
pent-up, like a goitre of sores.
As you came down to contain the fish-terror
will you come yourself, this time too
to drain out puss from this goitre
or you will send someone else?

[Trans: Mahesh Paudyal]

[Ghimre is a Nepali poet and ghazal writer, based now in Australia. He coordinates Shastasanga Sathi Minute, a regular Nepali literary series of discussions and recital. Formerly, he was the General Secretary of International Nepali Literary Society (INLS), Central Executive Committee.]