M.S. Sriram calls Jayant Kaikini one of the evergreen poets in Kannada for being youthful in his work and in conduct. Ever since I started reading poetry I have been reading Jayant. In my friends circle I was notorious as Jayant’s advertiser. I am fond of his poems, his short stories and his prose. Once when he was the editor of Bhavana he asked me to send my poems for publication. I dithered. And I said to him, when I am able to write half as good a poem as his Lipi (Script) I would confidently send him my poems.Well, leave me out, and just read this terrific poem.
Translation: Jayant Kodkani
When did the ant develop a taste for the news?
Or did it always nurse it within?
Crawling along the newspaper spread
on the floor, it devours each letter
of news, first the big headlines of national mourning
later the medium-sized bride-burning bit
and those who slit each other’s throats
for a dime, and then the small fonts
of suicide, missing persons etc . . .
Thus polishing off each item,
the ant has left.
The paper’s blank now
like the pale cheeks of a pregnant woman
who died for want of blood Roll it up now and see
the stars at the end of the tube
or place it to your ear and hear
somebody digging a trench somewhere faraway
Place it between your lips
and play the flute
or if you so wish, abandon it in the bamboo forest nearby
Now the only fear is,
where is the ant
and where is the trail of blood at its feet?