Pervasion of Poetry

Bal Krishna Sama


A sadhu, with a big basket,
set towards the wood to collect poetry.
Hills and streams, slopes and plains he coursed,
falls and fountains, flowers and fruits,
Weeds and tendrils he rummaged,
but in vain!
He thought – this is not the season of poesy.
An romantic wit saw him returning, weary.
Hearing the question, the wit said,
“Name me a place where poesy is not,
To a dry eye, the waterfall too is dry,
and is a mere announcement of a void
youth, falling like hair.
In a while, water will be spent,
and the slope fangs out, dry.
But Sadhu! Cleanse your heart with fervency
and upon it
collect the pangs of the distressful world;
supply the strength of sighs,
upon its layer that has been rendered a plane
by the clotted flecks of blood.
Evoke the ripples of senses, and send sprays over the forehead,
and when the eyes are rinsed by tears, look out with care.
Make the pupil keener with sympathy
and you will see blood coursing though the veins
even of stones.
You can feel the hearts of a stone,
and rocky cliffs will let out a juice;
you will get poesy, and drink it.”

Having said so, the romantic wit melted,
like wax in the sun, and with him the sadhu’s eyes.
Trees melted away like resin,
and flowers and fruits like honey.
The green meadows melted into ponds
and the entire creation melted too
like snow.
The sky melted into the Ganges,
and stars became droplets.
The sadhu saw that he was a drop of tear,
as big as himself.
In the entire cosmos, within the nuclei of atoms,
in an maddening, apocalyptic cry,
he found poetry roaring.

Trans: Mahesh Paudyal