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Translated from the Hindi by Sejal Arora 

Otherwise I’ll Lose My Way

Behind the bushes 

The cricket ball is still rolling 

Steam still rises from the food served

Someone scolds me from years away 

To return home and wash up and eat 

the sun hasn’t gone down yet 

Incomplete still the game of seven stones

Lightless still the evening lantern 

I will run as soon as the whistle blows 

I will search for everyone, one by one, 

Who are hidden somewhere here, behind these walls, doors and trees 

to spring a sudden strike 

My kite is wobbling through the waft of train’s soot 

Its string 

Pierces my finger 

Drops of blood, like dew, are falling in the future 

I will return home now 

I will wash up, eat and complete my homework,

Math and the world, and writing essays. 

I will empty the inkpot on my pyjamas, 

In my notebook, still, worlds large and small,

album of colourful stamps 

Beyond the hills 

A shepherd is flocking its herd 

I am the one, 

the last one, left behind, gone, wavering 

the tiniest, whitest lamb 

recognize me 

Else, I fear I’ll lose my way.

Sentences to be Completed 

Our sentences will be complete 

Sometime in the future, 

One day 

When things shall exist beyond us 

Only nature and sunlight will persist 

Across the deserted Earth wide 

These sentences will be gilding 

And echoing 

They will be complete in the future someday

And in their end 

Countless trees will sway 

Like countless full stops1


1. The graphic reference adduced by the poet is that of a full stop (poorna viram) signified by a vertical slash (|) in the Devanagari script. Thus, the imagery of swaying trees against the vertical full stops.

Statistics in a Hurried Flawed Poem 

It takes two minutes to write a sentence in a poem, 

In that time, forty thousand children may have died, 

Mostly in the third world, 

From hunger and disease. 

A hurried, flawed rush of ten lines in a poem usually takes 

Between twenty, twenty-five minutes, 

In that time, four to five lakh children might have vanished, 

Into the jaws of death. 

May the poem be so powerful, 

That poets and critics alike refrain from calling it a poem, 

Or prepare many drafts of it, 

Until then, crores of children, 

Thousands or lakhs of women and citizens,

Have perished faultlessly in this universe.

Hence, beneath the seemingly complete poem, 

There lies an even larger graveyard. 

The bigger the graveyard, 

The greater the poet and the nation.

Uday Prakash (born 1952) is a Hindi poet, scholar, journalist, translator and short story writer. He has worked as administrator, editor, researcher, and TV director. He writes for major dailies and periodicals as a freelancer. He has also received several awards for his collection of short stories and poems. With Mohan Das he received Sahitya Akademi Award in 2011. He returned his Sahitya Akademi award in 2015 as a protest against the killing of M. M. Kalburgi that initiated a storm of national protests by writers, artists, scholars and intellectuals.

Sejal Arora (she/her). Student. Mostly at a loss for words. Hence.

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