2 min read

Translated from the Hindi by Shubham Mamgain

When have I Asked that Someone Walk with Me

When have I asked that

Someone walk with me?

Desired, yes. 

Often I have had

Shoes tailored for the trees

Only to keep standing beside them

They showed off their greenery

Their flowers

Their birds kept them occupied 

I moved on

Unlike them

I failed to turn my feet

into roots 

Despite knowing well

That to keep pressing onwards

is to keep losing something

and to become lonelier 

I have now arrived at a point

Where trees cast

long shadows around me 

For some company?

Because of the setting sun?

I can't say,

I have to press further on.

Someone walk with me

When have I asked that?

Desired, yes.

Living with You 

Living with you

I have often felt

That directions have folded,

Every road has become short,

The world has pulled up its knees

And become balcony-like

Which is crowded to the fullest,

Isolation is nowhere to be found

Neither outside nor within. 

The shape of all things has reduced,

Trees now stand so low

That I can pat their heads

And bless them,

Sky hits against my chest,

When needed, I can hide my face in the clouds. 

Living with you

I have often felt

That everything means the same thing,

Be it the waving of the grass,

The wind coming through the window,

Or sunlight climbing a wall

To disappear on the other side. 

Living with you

It has often occurred to me

That we are surrounded

Not by inabilities but by possibilities,

A door can be carved into any wall

And an entire mountain

Can push through any door. 

If strength is limited

Everything is powerless as well,

If arms can fall short

The ocean too is confined,

Ability is just another name for desire.

The land between life and death

Is not fate’s. It belongs to me.

Having Parted from you

Having parted from you I feel

Suddenly my wings have shrunk

And I keep falling

Into a limitless sea below.

No journey exists now,

Neither meaningful nor meaningless;

There is no difference between flying and falling. 

Having parted from you

The instinct to look for something in everything

The desire to find something in everything

Kept growing weaker

Entire existence is spread out like railway tracks

Every moment is thundering away. 

Having parted from you

Even the grass blades look so big

That I keep running headfirst

Into their roots,

Rivers are strings of cotton

I keep tripping over them,

The sky has turned inside-out

Moons and stars are nowhere to be seen,

I no longer live on the earth, instead somewhere inside

I am crawling with its weight on my head. 

Having parted from you I feel

Nothing else exists besides shapes,

Everything collides

And leaves without a hurt. 

Having parted from you I feel

I am spinning so wildly

That everything appears to me

Without form and colour

And I appear to everything

Formless and colourless as well,

In a circle of spots,

I exist stain-like,

I am endless

And will remain so.

There is nothing to wait for

Not even death.

By and by 

Next to brimful bottles

I have been put away

Like an empty glass 

By and by darkness will come

And, stumbling,

Sit next to me.

It won’t say anything

Only fill me

Empty me,

Over and over

Pour me in and out,

And in the end

Leave me next to empty bottles

Like an empty glass. 


You don’t know death

Be it man’s

Or a nation’s

Be it time’s

Or a fashion’s.

Everything happens by and by

By and by, bottles are uncorked

Glasses filled,

Yes, only by and by

The soul is drained

A person dies. 

What do I do with this nation

That, stumbling, by and by

Has come to sit next to me. 


You don’t know death

By and by everything

Is devoured by darkness,

Then nothing happens

Because nothing remains

All is left like an empty glass

Next to empty bottles—

A nation next to a flag

A person next to a name

Time next to Love

Fashion next to the price

All is left

Next to empty bottles

Like an empty glass 

‘By and by’—

I have absolute disdain

For this phrase.

Only by and by does mite show up

Grain expires,

Only by and by does termite lick everything off

Courage gives in to fear.

Only by and by does faith disappear

Resolve retires. 


What do I do with the nation

That is growing emptier

By and by

Left next to filled bottles

Like an empty glass. 

By and by

I no longer want to find God

By and by

I no longer seek heavenly abode

By and by

Nothing remains that I approve of

Be it hatred, be it love. 


Nothing happens by and by

Only death happens,

Nothing arrives by and by

Only death arrives,

Nothing is found by and by

Only death is found,


An empty glass

Next to empty bottles. 


The beating of the drum is waning

By and by the march of revolution

Is turning into a funeral procession.

The rot is spreading—

On the nation’s map

And in the eyes of love

The borders are getting blurred

And we are looking on, like rats.

Sarveshwar Dayal Saxena (1927–1983) was a Hindi writer, poet, columnist and playwright. He was one of the seven poets who first published in one of the “Tar Saptaks,” which ushered in the ‘Prayogvaad’ (Experimentalism) era, which in time evolved to become the “Nayi Kavita” (New Poetry) movement.

Shubham Mamgain’s work has previously appeared (including under the pseudonym M.S. Alphonze) in nether Quarterly, gulmohur quarterly, Qissa the magazine, The Alipore Post, and Reading Room Co. In 2022, he was one of the ten recipients of the Dr. Anamika Prize for GenZ Poets. He lives in Dehradun.

* The email will not be published on the website.