In Sad Times : A Poem by Kumar Vikal

In sad times one does not write poems
but does whole lot of other things
from cracking jokes to gulping poison
but one does not write poems

In sad times in bright sunlight one looks
for  pitch dark to weep
and even at forty searches for
a place as safe as a mother’s lap

In sad times one thinks about
a whole lot of other things like
the depth of the water in the lake
and counts the floors of the
tallest building in the city

And alongside screams out in silence
to dear ones to stand around the lake
forming a strong embankment
And stop the lift going up the building

But friends are more like trees
they can provide shade
send a whiff of cool breeze but
they cannot turn into an embankment

One has to be one’s own embankment
In sad times one becomes a
strong or frail embankment to oneself
But one does not write poetry

Translated from Hindi by Nirupama Dutt

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Kumar Vikal Written by:

Kumar Vikal (1935-1997) was a prominent poet of the Hindi language from Punjab. He was most popular during the 1970's to '90's, the period which coincides with rise and fall of Naxalite and militant movements in Punjab. His poetry expressed the problems of oppressed and marginalized sections of the society. He published three collections of poetry titled Ek Choti Si Ladai, Rang Khatre Mai Hain, (Hindi-रंग ख़तरे में हैं) and Nirupma Dutt Mai Bahut Udas Hoon, (Hindi- निरुपमा दत्त मैं बहुत उदास हूँ).

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