Tag Archives: Kannada Poems

Dalit Poetry in Kannada III – Moodnaakadu Chinnaswamy

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There are some excellent dalit poets writing in Kannada these days. I don’t have too good an access to the latest dalit poetry emerging in Kannada as my visits to Karnataka are not vary frequent. I try my best to get as much as my friends can send me. Continuing my earlier posts, here and here, I present a translation of another Kannada Dalit poet. This time another well known name: Moodnakadu Chinnaswamy. I am familiar only with a few of his poems and they are very good. Here is one ‘Footwear and me’ in my poor translation. I read it in a magazine and can’t find that copy around me. So I am a little unsure if this is the complete poem or if I managed to translate only a fragment. I am sorry, I haven’t done enough homework on this. But I promise I will soon rectify this deficiency. I also don’t have a picture of the poet M. C. If anybody has one, do share, please….

Footwear and me

* Moodnaakadu Chinnaswamy

When I go to the temple

The footwear is not left outside

It is I who is outside

Shoes on cobbler’s feet

Makes as much news as when

A man bites a dog

Taking off the shoes

Everyone’s feet

tread all over me

I am a plant:

and they just don’t realize

that under their feet are my roots

Like a crane craning her neck

to the dried up lake’s spring

I stand on my toes

and peep in to steal

as much of god’s form as I can see

Contemporary Kannada Poetry – Ashok Hegde

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Here is the translation of Ashok Hegde’s poem A Morning Picture.

A Morning Picture

* Ashok Hegde

A sleep-interrupted, tea-nauseated chilly morn,
patches of people all over the floor,

in the corner, like a crumpled shirt, a child,
an old woman scratching her dugs in residual drugged sleep,

a teen’s endless cough.
As folk, like the wick extinguished in midnight,

lose the world in their impatience,

you, woman, in lonely expectation waiting…

Come and be a live track,
from your mere touch let
my life rail run full speed, fill each of your
atom with me, untie knots,

drape me in a new dress,

your lips to my lips bring;
drink sins in cupfuls, loot

the cup of my life.

Give to my hands all

mysteries of your body,

place ear to ear so they record each ache,

inhale the sweat smell of my body,

let it spread in this world
in anticipation of a new birth.

Let the snow melt, the rain-moth float,

let the river swell into a sea,

you be fuel to my

fiery lust, burn beyond other births

let hell’s worm be born

Phoenix like in this trashy flesh.

(Translation: Kamalakar)