From Contemporary Kannada poetry


Here is a poem from Kannada. S. Manjunath is one of the major voices in contemporary Kannada poetry. His poems are rich in their micro details and careful construction. I have translated here one of his poems that I like. It is an old one though.  


Thing Hymn

(S. Manjunath: vastu stuti)


Salutes to things

May they not make our hearts logwood

Bestowing on us dumb curses, inertia, idiotic sleep.


Salutes to heaps of glittering coins

May they not mock us, entice us;

Vanishing from our pockets

May they not waste the meaning of compassion.


Salutes to prostitutes

Their starved eyes, mad derisive eyes

May they not assault poor us;

May they with mercy send us

Onto faintly fragrant road of love.


Many salutes to god and devil,

Who is what who knows

May he be safe who claims he knows

May no one make us slaves

May we not be

Death’s morsels even as we live.


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