Translated from the Hindi by Swarnika Ahuja
Once I wrote a poem here
Here where I had disliked living
And was sent to live.
In that place too, where I like to stay
And have continued to stay
It is only perchance a poem was composed here.
Today, again at this detested place,
Like a leaf broken from a branch
I have come broken and beaten
And this poem has been written
For this place, I am grateful
I bow my head to this soil
I don’t love this place,
But shower it with respect
This is a place of pilgrimage,
Where I remained a traveler
This is not a nation
Where roots and peaks
That take precedence over poetry’s inspiration
I have died here twice:
First, when I wrote my first poem here
And second is today,
When I am writing a poem in the memory of this poem:
I have lived in the city of my home
And will continue to live even after death:
Imprisoned in a locket
Displayed on some wall
Preserved on the canvas of memory, boundless and unseen
But I will take something away from here
Have already found something : two poems
I have given nothing, I have nothing to give
Apart from my salutations
Take these away, take them.
Nalin Vilochan Sharma (1916-1961) worked as a professor of Hindi at the University of Patna. He is credited with initiating the “Nakenwad” school of Hindi poetry. Apart from being a poet, he was also a brilliant critic, with a wide perspective on literary history. He is also known for his short stories, especially Vish Ke Dant, and for his critical writings on literature.
Swarnika Ahuja is currently an assistant professor of English at Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, GGSIPU. She has presented her academic papers in both national and international conferences. Recently, she completed her MPhil from University of Delhi. Her poems have also been published in Ghost Review Press, The Indian Periodical and gulmohur quarterly.