Sunday, January 15, 2006

Verses from Riche Ded "Art is..."     [transcreations]

Art equals beauty     art is the carving
art is music   in tone   rhythm   & the key
art is a ditty     & art is group-chorusing
art is poetry   in couplet   verse   & melody

art is ecstatic     for art is the bliss of our being
art is charming     allurement   love   & longing
Kala chhay lalit, kala chhe shilp,
Kala chha sangeet -- sur, taal, raag,
Kala chha vastun, Kala chhe vanavun,
Kala chha kavita -- pad, chhand, suha,
Kala chhe harsh, kala chhe anand,
Kala chhe mohini, yatch, lol, anuraag.

While the stroke of the whip   cuts welts into the flesh
the lash of the tongue   crushes the very bones
sharp words are disharmonious   breeding enmity
as bit by bit   they eclipse love's luminous tones
Kamcha prath chhu maazas laha kharaan,
Mokha prath chhu karaan adijen soor,
Kudur vanun chhu be-sur, grinah gaaraan,
Shani-shani gaalaan ye pholevun noor.

Life is time itself   it's a time filled with chance
life is tasting the good   & then doing its task
is life a crossroads   a primrose path   or a boardwalk?
these are hard to accept or reject   to inspect or ask!
Zindagi chha akh samai, akh avsar te akh kaal,
Zindagi chhu heachun te heachit vartaavun, ama kathin sawaal,
Zindagi chhe tsu-vot, du-tsyot te suma-soth,
Yohuy parzanaavun, parkhaavun, ratun, traavun mahaal.

On the same Kashmiri poets website where I had discovered the trove of vakhs by Lal Ded, I also looked at some vakhs by a 20th century woman-poet, Riche Ded. Enjoying her terse verses -- which also help give definition of some basic vocabulary! -- I attempted these new renderings of three of them.


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