Translated Poem : A Strange Temple

~Manju Kanchuli~
Translated by : Wayne Amtzis

The idol behind the shut door of god must be arrayed
with vermilion and rice That I don’t know
Before meeting the deity I’ve seen
nothing but naked figures on the struts above
I’ve eyed so many times
“Behind the locked temple door there’s no god at all”
A long time has passed . . . these days
I haven’t opened that temple door with flowers of hope
Its inner wall might have transformed into a mirror,
blossoming in the mirror
the priest’s aroused mind might have bulged forth with a flood,
the mirror on the torso turned towards his mind
might have melted with immense shame
That I don’t know Out of shame I haven’t till now
parted that mirror’s curtain
Encountering yellow sunlight everywhere
the priest’s robe of black clouds might tremble
Tangled in the loincloth of a hurricane
it might be hovering above some gorge somewhere
That I don’t know
I haven’t forced that cloud to land in the theater of the earth
I haven’t harassed it with bright sunlight
History, upon a wall of mud, has been written with lines
in the vacuum of space, with voices
over the forehead of earth, with blood
in the ink of the heart, with red
into the pen of the human, with a cry
beneath the layered soil of earth, with bones
into layers of sedimentary rock, with coral inside black coal, with illuminating diamond
But I’ve never understood
the meaning of the blank paper smeared with spider shit
in the piled garbage bin near the temple
An old wall might have been changed into a new mirror
that new mirror crawled upon by a snail
into parchment of fresh slime
That I don’t know
I’ve taken those walls, mirrors, and blank sheets
to be your undergarments
and have never in front of anyone else
parted them till today
I haven’t opened the temple door
I haven’t disrobed the priest
The image inside the closed door of god
must still be arrayed with vermilion and rice
That I don’t know Before meeting the deity
I’ve seen nothing but naked figures
on the struts above.

Translation: 1998, Wayne Amtzis and Manju Kanchuli
From: Manoa, 1998

(Source : Poetry International Web)

This entry was posted in Translated Poem and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *