Roots in the Air


Why do you look with so much alarm into my eyes?
Why do you target my week body with arrows from the quiver of failures?
Where is leisure for me to turn tough by burning in the fires of your grief?
Where are edges for me to be sharpened on the disc of your sorrow?
Realizing that I have no wheels to my feet to race with my fellow migrants
nor boxing gloves on hands, oh my dear Rayala Seema,
I remember you in my hybrid tears and wriggle lying on the city roads
with an utter loss of social consciousness.

Are the mirages running like Sun- horses in our native hills still safe?
Demon like dark skies that never shower on time for crops,
Thirsty frogs parading under the ritualistic neem twig garlands,
Forts that narrate stories of swords clashing as kolatam batons,
the broad swords of Petty knights, now, in the clasp of the modern markets,
green snakes asleep in the thickets of flower bushes by the side of temples
— Are they all safe? Let me know my motherland,  your good and bad,
awaken the little clay-carts of the childhood hibernating in my head.

When one was walking, he cannot say
where he was really going,
while being chiseled, none can say
what was hitting and gnawing at him.
Having turned into distorted sculptures, packaged in our own skins,
even after standing with false pride in the body shops,
even after cutting and selling our roots for buying pretend wings
The core of the rock, beyond reach of the sculptor
we Boil and remain boiling as hot magma

Sounds of my native jowar bread preparation in some house
Stops me in the stride and the city tea cup agitates in my hand
in the news paper, bombs, boxed into a corner,
I turn my impotent rage on masters of matricide!
A vain song of Rayala Seema sorrows,
I become a frightening wicked laughter inside.
Now and then, I Keep searching among the statues at city square
for the dreams lost that I lost in the sands of my native Madduleru stream .
And again, I forget myself and you, counting chinks in the pay slip,.

Whatever I am or whatever am not,
Oh, my black cotton soil!
You are real, and your grief is real.
Just as this body of mine under readymade skins is real,
Real is your sorrow that looks as if the earth is burning …
But, is it true that you are fighting back?
Or are you still the same old winnowing fan
That retains stones and throws away grain!
Is it true that you can win the race, or
you are also an old song-in-exile like me!

(Translated by T.S.Chandra Mouli & B.B.Sarojini. Slightly edited  by me. Language mistakes could be only mine.)


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