Jayant Kaikini’s poem Bobby


It is no secret that I am an unabashed fan of Jayant Kaikini who writes poetry and fiction in Kannada. He has such a fresh pair of eyes with which he sees so much that I can never see. Well, see his poem Bobby for example (in my translation). If my translation displeases you, do comment, I will work on it.


* Jayant Kaikini

Have you conversed with dogs?

Rubbing your cheeks against their

striped, spotted throbbing throats,

have you listened to their hot breathed exuberance?

Have you felt slighted as it eloped

with a bitch during mating season

ignoring the feed and

you too?

It is angrrrry at somebody in the deserted backyard –

standing with woof woof breathless ado

tongue in a tizzy, then, the moment

you touch its back like cooled off milk

it begins to soften, have you experienced it?

Have you felt proud

when it barked by mistake at you

and in utter remorse weaved itself around your feet?

Once, limping, mewling, thigh-wound bleeding,

bitten by someone, it comes to you,

lies near you in pain lifting all four,

tear line at eye’s edge,

snivelling every time medicine is applied,

whining at night, growling at each touch;

have you felt scared at this

strange deformity,

been melted by the wagging tail?

A visitor warns, it may be rabid, the tail is too rigid.

Frightened you make queries, hire a gun man and

get him to take aim concealed and


At the moment of the shot

have you noticed its frantic gaze facing the cocked gun?

In those eyes – distant wrecked ships – dying days –

rain soaked cemeteries – sounds… didn’t you hear?

In those eyes, oblivious of even your limbs,

didn’t you merge with the world?

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