Saturday, February 18, 2017

S.L.Peeran reviews SENSE AND SILENCE

R.K. Singh. Sense and Silence: Collected Poems. Jaipur: Yking Books, 2010, Pages 347, Price: Rs. 995/-, ISBN 978-81-910588-2-6

Reviewed by: S.L. Peeran

R.K. Singh is an academician, a poet of standing, who has been acclaimed as a major voice in post independent era. A well known critic and a person who cares for the voiceless and marginalized poets in the country.

Yking Books, Jaipur, India, has brought out the entire collection of poetry of R.K. Singh Sense and Silences:Collected Poems: 1974-2009 with an extremely aesthetic cover with a picture of a nude  women lying in grass surrounded by pipal leaves signifying love,  beauty and wisdom. The back side of the cover page has the latest photograph of the poet, in the background is a Muslim period monument with calligraphic writing of holy scriptures.

The blurb speaks about R.K. Singh’s achievement as an academician in as much as he has authored more than 150 research articles, 160 book reviews and authored 35 books which include 12 collections of poem, which have been translated in many local and European languages. R.K. Singh is an innovative Haiku and Tanka writer, having won acclaim and prizes in international contests. He is also well known ESTist and currently heading the Department of Humanities & Social Sciences, Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad.

The outstanding feature of the poetry of R.K. Singh is its sensuousness, explicit and graphic description of intimate relationship with his best half and bed mate in his initial work ‘My Silence’ and other subsequent works, As a young man, R.K. Singh was thrilled, excited and uninhibitedly details his sexual release, his passion and love. He is a great connoisseur of beauty, love and sex. But that is not all, the poet is sincere and honestly deals about social issues and hypocrisy. He calls a spade a spade. He is truthful in his exposition and never minces words.

R.K. Singh does not title his poems, but they are numerically numbered. In the words of I..K. Sharma the poetry of R K Singh displays the power of plain words, scaring the puritans and taunting the purists, speaking for love, sensuality and meaning of life. I K Sharma has done a thorough analysis of R.K. Singh’s work. In his foreward to his latest collection “Sexless Solitude and other poems”, I.K. Sharma states that the poet articulates his perceptions, his experiences in a very unconventional way. Not at all shy of using words associated with sex, he puts them to different uses in his poems. He further states the poetry of R.K Singh “makes purists of literature believe that the poet is a shameless hawker of sex in the street of literature. His poems, they think, have soiled the white house (not White House) of literature; such persons in fact suffer from agoraphobia.” I.K. Sharma further states that: “Dr Singh manages to tell his experiences, bitter or sweet, mostly bitter, in minimum possible words. He would eliminate all the non essential from his compositions. He would chiefly exploit, like Hemingway, the vigour of verb in his poems, and avoid the pomp and vanity of adjective altogether. This way of writing makes his poems far different from the poems we often come across in Indian English poetry magazines.” He further notes: “Dr Singh’s poems are sober, mature and disciplined. Though written in free verse they are yet compact. Neither the words nor emotions go astray. No clichés exists there. Only  the power of plain words on display.”

R.K. Singh’s poetry is not “run of the mill” one and following the traditional and much beaten path. His poetry is mostly sensual, imaginative, original and innovative.

Among all his work the ‘Sexless Solitude” section in the Collected Poems  is monumental, classical, and his masterpiece. The poet has poured forth his emotions in a most chiseled form, bare like “the tree/green and wide/abundantly dressed/over flowing/ spreading her sleeves/ blesses all/ in her cool shades/ solitude teems /with breeze songs/ I feel nearer God.” These are the poet’s opening lines in praise of his beloved, but the poem  sums up the poetry of the narrator.

The poet is not ritualistic nor an atheist but he has broken the cocoon of religiosity and considers himself neither a Hindu, nor a Muslim, nor a Christian. The poet is influenced by the Bahai’s faith, its message of universal love and brotherhood of man.

R.K. Singh’s  poetry is far from being didactic or philosophic, but the poet does show concern for the underdogs, sidelined persons, fallen women and those women who are rejected, put to hardship and difficulties. The poet speaks about the happenings around him, about himself, about his best half’s response with him in his bed, the attitude of his children, his colleagues, his critics about the world and the people in the society. The poet has gone further to write about too intimate relationship with his best half, which is generally neither spoken of nor written.

The poet has shown concern for the environment, about the dust and fumes of Dhanbad , the place where he has been living for more than three decades. He has observed the lives of the down trodden coal miners and the hardships faced by them, about the water shortage, about the pollution, garbage and pseudo personalities and hypocrites.

The poetry of R.K. Singh cannot be classed with any of the western poets or class poetry but his is innovative, creative, fresh and new, and can be classed as post modern, current and contemporary. The poet is sure to open up a school of his own, with his own appreciators and fans. The poet’s work has been acclaimed and a  number of PhD scholars have taken up his poetry for study and research work. Innumerable articles have appeared in poetry journals about the his  poetry. Contemporary scholars, professors and poets have brought out books on his poetry. R.K. Singh is hugely adulated, appreciated, criticized and some have condemned his earlier collection for being too sensuous and comparing his poetry to that of D.H. Lawrence.

His  poetry is bereft of rhetoric, and far from being prosaic or thematic; it is untitled,  unrhymed and unmetered. It is also  ironic and  satiric, especially  against religious taboos and irrational customary practices. There is a tinge of pathos as well,  and his personal suffering and suffering of people of all classes are brought out well. Many  poems are reflective and meditative, and sometimes they tend to speak about his personal philosophy,  views, perceptions and sensitivity about  the world and people around him. The poet is at once simple and complex but he hardly taxes  the readers’ mind with verbosity and high bombastic language.

R.K. Singh has experimented with language  in his own way, leading to a new path in the annals of Indian English Literature, or for that matter, in  English Literature. His  expression is bold, truthful and straight away, catching the eye, startling, and sometimes shocking and amazing. The poet has never theorized but has put to paper all that he has felt, experienced and experimented. He is a very clear thinker and level headed. He has spoken about his personal life of sex, insomnia, hope, fear, quietness, wakefulness, dream state, semi-dream state, sublime state, despair, frustration, dejection, pessimism, personal likes, dislikes and even personal secrets.

The poetry of R.K. Singh can be classed also as metaphysical in as much as he  does not reject God but keeps  away from all forms of religiosity. He is mystical in that  one can live a full and rich life, enjoy the company of ones mate, satisfy oneself fully and be above board, above the rigmarole of life, reach higher stage of consciousness and attain the supreme bliss, ‘moksha’ or ‘Nirvana’. For the poet living a fuller sensual life is not an impediment but the poet never  sounds amoral, promiscuous or a cheat to his genuine love. He does not want to betray his love nor be half hearted but would like to be fully devoted and live in full measure and satisfy his beloved fully. The poet desires to live a pure, simple, straightforward and truthful life and detests hypocrisy of all kinds. He is against make ups, fashions, showiness and pretences of people. He is against the politicians who promise and cheat the electorates; make tons of money, loot the common man and stove off the money in foreign countries. He  laments  the exploitation of poor and down trodden in the name of religion, customs and politics or for any other purposes. He speaks  about the Bhopal gas tragedy, about the suffering of common man due to floods, earthquakes, droughts, famine, civil wars, chaos, confusion, looting, and havocs created by Nature. About the exploitation of poor nations by civilized ones and about failure of democracy and various systems in the society.

The poet decries  the unnecessary idolatry about the exploitation of devotees by priests and religious taboos, about the pollution of the holy rivers in the name of God by His so called ‘god men’. The poet speaks  about the petty mindedness of people “living (in) their smallness in a small world (and ) they cease(d) to grow and be human”. The poet bemoans  the loss of meaning in  life and says that he can’t be comfortable with their bragging ego as they are “corrupt to the core /they eat into our fabric: /I must search my own way/ through empty cups and alleys/ in body rain love/ or plant new phonies.” Thus the poet being dejected with the systems, religiosity, hypocrisy and meaningless of life around has undertaken a lone unbeaten path in search of truth and light. He ends up in finding love being the only source of solace, tranquility and to reach the sublime and higher realms of consciousness.

For him,  “poetry is prayer/in life’s vicissitudes:/ a saving grace against manipulated or /unmanifested odds/ overwhelming without/ warrant or patterning.” The poet in his opening lines in the section  ” Above the Earth’s Green” says that ” I do not write the sun, storm or sea/ but recreate myself and others/ in verses turn time and pluck stars/ to find my way through masked trenches/ witness to my sinking into mud/ that curves the memories into bias/ disgrace dust, sky wind, and all relations/ windows of emotions I must chain/ to breathe a pure breath without passion/ and discover essence of beauty/ spring a move towards self harmony/ perfection and peace, prelude to nude/ enlightenment to carve life in full.”

I find  R.K. Singh’s Sense and Silence extremely readable and elevating the mind and consciousness.

Bangalore                                                                       S.L.Peeran
Poet & Editor, SUFI WORLD

Saturday, February 11, 2017



NE PAS me condamner
Il est toujours lié mais je ne comprends pas
ou ne veulent pas comprendre parce
Je suis trop bien avec moi et d'inquiétude
À propos de sa libido et mon train de mourir
propres au milieu de la diminution du sexe salsa chill
Bihu fièvre, Vishu rituels
jour sonner le vide et la nuit secouer
l'âge gainé de la jeunesse pour jouer un seul bord
en flamme en forme de fourche carve image du ciel
pour contester le Dieu jaloux défaire
péchés de races qui coule dans mon sang:
Je l'aime à travers les corps Il a fait
mais ils ne comprennent pas la rédemption
et la séparation dans le barattage de la mer
ils ne se réjouit pas les flammes de henné
sur ses paumes, ni laisser la fleur de lys
dans les vallées utiliser les fentes et les falaises
de défigurer la beauté et la voix de Spike
ne condamnez pas à moi si je ne suis pas blanc
l'eau coule encore dans ma rivière



Ma fenêtre s'ouvre

à l'arrière d'un garage

où des gardes de rendre l'eau
à la fois montrer leur bite

à la femme de chambre dans ma cuisine:

ils prennent soin de none
Comment puis-je me plaindre

si les garçons et les filles font l'amour

dans la brousse entre
le parc pour enfants et

Mon arrière-cour? Ils sont éloignés

par une clôture en fil de fer barbelé



Tourne mal

le circuit électrique

dans les cellules du cerveau
dans mon sommeil, drogués

Je jurons prononcer

les victimes:

Je ne peux pas aider mon sensorielle


4. HAZY dim.

Transpiration désir

inhale sketches nouveaux

avec une plume esprit
sur l'oreiller

image par image

nuit se passe
ne sachant pas

comment un ciel voilé

sortait de la mer.


Supprimé le lien entre les arbres

il ne sait pas que sa famille

stands des questions à l'écart,
ancêtres ne changent pas

l'humeur de la météo:

La Feuille lit son nom

6. Mission de paix

Il est étonné de voir

tant de corruption

dans le système

de la paix mondiale:
ses collègues envieux

de son escapade étrangers

avec l'ONU

et le bénéfice
en dollars, en hausse si tôt

dans la carrière et

avoir le meilleur des

Life and Style
alors que je m'inquiète

liberté au Congo

l'homme sauvage

coffre-fort de séjour


La journée est plus courte

la nuit plus longue

et pourtant sans sommeil
souffrent le noir

dans l'air dans le lit

Je l'écoute à rugir
ou murmure de
aptères soucis

pas de poésie de haute
Mais les cauchemars de parage

le soleil et le ciel

qui ne pourrait jamais être


Les heures d'éveil puante

son tour sur les violations des solides

dans l'abîme de la tête

après minuit, les drogués

trous de l'esprit arracher

les voiles Je n'ai jamais porté
ils sont naturellement perturbés:

tour d'insomnie à découvrir

les sophismes stupide

d'un poète-professeur

pas en mesure de réparation

ses balances intérieure

 9. Again And Again

Encore et encore

Je me trouve sur le lit

Mon espace sacré

mais ne peuvent pas se détendre

méditer ou rêver
maintenant manquer d'avoir

ce que j'ai toujours eu

sa compagnie nu

rire avec fourmillements

pâteuse avec passion
ne peuvent pas célébrer Yoni

profondément dans le silence

Paru le renouvellement du scrutin

sans finalité

encore et encore


Militants des droits humains

discuter de l'éradication

collecte manuelle des rejets

et la construction de

humides des latrines dans les villages

dans la salle de conférence

bouffées de chaleur se plaignent de la mauvaise

dans la toilette NHRC

et la censure systématique

le personnel subalterne

avant de chercher dispositions

pour la réhabilitation

libéré charognards


Je ne comprends pas

leur ciel mystique ou frissons

logé dans la sensibilisation
subtilités du Temps

ou de sources de brume en plastique

grâce à des profondeurs mythiques
les ailes de ma pensée

sont trop courts pour gravir la hauteur de Dieu

ou les profondeurs bleues de la paix
Je me tiens sur le bord

de la physicalité de la Terre

attendent sur le bord
avec des lignes d'ombre

et les courbes à mars image de <> br>
Eyeless Jagannath
Si personne ne voit

l'effondrement de la procession

et de la zone sombre
ne blâme pas les poètes:

il ya trop de vide

et la tristesse à ignorer


Chaque mort est un passage

de surprendre les morts

La sensibilisation du
aucun réconfort la queue de la vache

, au milieu de la rivière

le ciel, loin, trop loin


De hautes maisons semblent

de croître comme des arbres de l'avion

légèrement à la hausse élevée
les gens se tournent tiny

les voitures avec des oiseaux d'eau et les bêtes

dans la flamme d'été
nerveusement inquiets

Regarder la masse en mouvement des nuages

partir de la fenêtre
éternelle modèles

merveille de la nature sur le bord

une bande d'Orange
milliers de lumières

Twinkle dans des couleurs comme des étoiles --

ceinture de sécurité attachée

14. Pour son anniversaire

Je veux que le meilleur de la vie pour vous

mais trop vous comprendre

ce que je ne peux pas faire
Vous devez être patient et ne

ce que vous pouvez -

Je ne peux pas créer les fruits
Je mai créer de l'espace

pour vous reposer, mais je ne peux pas

deviennent les jambes
vous devez exécuter la course

toi-même et être

ce dont tu rêves
la rougeur de Mars

et la blancheur de la lune

fusion en vous
vous avez des mondes à conquérir

et des miles à parcourir, ma chère
vous devez l'arrière de l'oie

et ont de l'or chaque jour


Tracing the corridors

dans mon esprit pour les graines

des rêves égarés se tourna

cauchemars médicaments ne peuvent pas contrôler

pas d'utilisation moqueur méditation

Yoga Dieux ou psychique

Mumbo-Jumbo pour échapper à

les bêtes dans nurturned depuis des années

maintenant je crains chaque déménagement

une offre publique de suicide, mais de mourir

est plus difficile lorsque

les morts sont trop agité

16. IGNITE esprits avec scintille

Je les lis, mais mes prières

n'a pas pu être des nouvelles de demain
non plus que les images signifient

surf canaux avec du café
à la fin de la journée ne peut pas refléter

quelque chose de positif à prendre
fierté de me justifier

l'âge ou les heures de prolonger simplement
l'existence des animaux

révéler pire que des animaux avec
petitesse du milieu et des préoccupations

oubliés comme les nouvelles éclatent dans
médias sans vision

glorifier les chaînes de la
Bluff obscurité de Dieu et les humains

encore enflammer les esprits avec scintille

17. RÉTRÉCISSEMENT en elle-même

Comment mettre en balance le souffle

la flamme de l'âme ou la cendre

recèle la carrosserie:

Je ne peux pas tourner mon Inside Out

ni de connaître le poids de la vie quand inanimé
entre ciel et terre

elle disparaît une avec

calme éléments

il n'y a aucun moyen de savoir le fil

ou son mécanisme qui lie
sécurise la vie maintenant ou

au-delà de ce que si je ne sens pas

le poids de la couleur

sur les feuilles sur l'arbre peut-être

rétrécit sur lui-même

18. On m'a promis un nouveau soleil

Marcher dans un long couloir

un faisceau de lumière fait signe

à partir d'une fenêtre lointaine
Up Ahead un chiffre

motions m'a gentiment de se déplacer

plus loin sur le passage
une porte de chêne semble

gravés dans la pierre sur le mur

près de la porte bizarre
symboles de l'alphabet inconnu

J'essaie de pousser le loquet d'or

sur le manche mais ce n'est pas
ouvrir une clé d'or

dans la main brille

dans la démarche que je sombre dans
de l'intérieur de la fenêtre s'ouvre

à la mer une énorme yacht

déplace lentement vers
A Kings manoir occupés

avec la richesse rare et le pouvoir:

Je suis promis un nouveau soleil

19. Je veux dormir

Vivre parmi les malades

et l'écoeurant quoi d'autre

dois-je procéder à l'exception

les germes et les allergènes qui gardent

me tournait et se retournait

peut-être du premier jour

Je n'ai jamais bien dormi et maintenant

Je veux dormir sans comprimés

zines de limonade »ou le sexe

irréfléchie sans prière dans la paix


Neige tout autour

pour les sept derniers jours

aucune provision ni d'avions

la piste toute blanche
survivant grâce à leur petit magasin

pour l'hiver dans des cabanes en fibres

elle s'ennuie, elle boit plus souvent

et attendre que le bulletin a rencontré


Trois fois par jour permanent

à la cuisine, elle évier


pour sauver des larmes et des souvenirs

des souhaits brisés odorat

de l'oreiller sur le craquage

linoléum dans cagibi


Sentiment de sécurité avec des ombres

Vive le scintillement des images
Les chaînes vendent trompeuse:

la télécommande dans la main
tunes changement pour les chansons de ma mère

fredonné et ils chorégraphier
avec des filles et des mecs qui jouent le sexe

sans goût dans zipouch Cheeky

23. C'est tout?

Avec un cocktail de prière

l'existence des animaux vivants

et se vanter, est-ce tout?
l'auto-même cocon

champignon d'illusions grandir

champignons de damned tractus



sans aucun sens de l'orientation

aucun contrôle sur

destin ou de la destination

Je ne peux pas être fiers de scintille
ou clignote sur leurs visages

dans le train, ils vont et viennent

avec la même indifférence

ombres des maisons éloignées

collines et les arbres Keep Passing


Où trouverai-je mon repos?

aux portes du séjour des morts?

dans la poussière? ou à la lumière

de la vie? toujours debout
parmi les impies?

pour rompre les liens et jeté

leurs cordes que la foi fracture

avec la langue flatteuse
transformer une bonne partie de la mer

ou de prêcher l'hypocrisie

épargnée par le feu ou l'air:

O Dieu me sauver du péché
de les appeler les pécheurs

et bénir l'esprit dans

temps et de moi que je ressens

votre guérison par le toucher dans la pensée
et l'ours sans regret

les charges du monde

perte de l'amour, ni même espérer

de vivre comme une feuille de lotus


Je voudrais pouvoir nettoyer les toiles d'araignée de légendes

ce voile la vision, de moraliser l'avenir

avec gloires douteuses, nous poussent à aller en arrière:
échos des morts retentissent; pas d'utilisation

Réglage de l'alarme de partir 2010
planqué en quelques secondes des slogans vides de la vie

périodiquement exhumés est une parodie

de l'obsolescence du soleil jamais obscurci
Porte de l'Inde ou de cirque, de Delhi

souffrent luxure minuit avec les rites de consommation

comme la conclusion d'un poème tragique

27. Sexless SOLITUDE

Je ne cherche pas le bol en pierre

Bouddha utilisé pendant ici:

elle habite sur la lune de poutres
Je peux la voir sourire

avec le vent du sein ciselé

dans la solitude sans sexe
sa lumière n'est pas un prix

mais doué d'éclairer


28. Je pends NOBODY'S IMAGE

Il s'agit simplement de la couleur qu'ils remplacent

pas le contenu et faire de la distance

avec des slogans rachitiques engloutir les vagues

que les larmes piège avant la révolte des rêves
quoi se lamenter sur le naufrage dans le vide

ou bravant la morale reste

ou le tissu fragile de la journée dans un monde mort:

pas bon comme filtre pour les malades
ou linceul pour les mourants: leurs drapeaux tromper tous

au nom de l'indépendance

ils se moquent des millions avec un bruit sans consistance

tandis que les rêves des funérailles hantent mon sommeil
Je pends photos de personne dans ma chambre

mais voir leurs ombres se masturbent

dans les coins humides ou les séduire à la lumière de pavot

les escrocs et justes comme


La culture n'est pas la répression

mais la sublimation par l'expression
pourquoi ont-ils la police

l'art pour lesbianisme


nu sexe ou de blasphème?
la politique de vandalisme

manettes tradition

aggrave les plus vils instincts
Connaissent-ils leurs métaphores

défier le divin qui crée?

détruit l'âme, la vision?
l'avenir n'est pas leur grand vent

mais l'honnêteté des artistes à percer

dans l'enfer de potentiel et

revenir avec des portraits que nous craignons de voir


Je ne sais pas quels psaumes à chanter

ou quelle église d'aller à sentir

la flamme dans un instant
s'asseoir ou de s'allonger encore avec

Météo foi l'agitation

brassage souffle à souffle
Je ne connais pas le dieu

ou de la déesse ou le mantra

de chanter quand dépasse la peur

mon être et me fait souffrir
plateaux de cauchemars

paralysant l'esprit de vivre

et par l'accomplissement promis
Je ne vois pas venir sauveur

à mon secours lorsque embourbé

Je cherche la liberté de moi-même:
mes épreuves sont à moi seule

dans la vallée de l'auto

Je dois apprendre à effacer les nuages

la flambée des hautes ou basses

Copyright: rksingh
Indian School of Mines
Dhanbad 826004 Inde 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My Poems translated into Greek

Δευτέρα, 7 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Η σιωπή μου (1985)

Αυτή είναι το δέντρο
πράσινη και πλατιά
πλούσια ντυμένη
με τα μανίκια απλωμένα
τα πάντα ευλογεί
στη δροσερή σκιά της
η ερημιά γεμίζει
με αέρινα τραγούδια
πιο κοντά στο Θεό 

Εκείνο το δέντρο το φθινοπωρινό
από αυτό το παραθύρι
μοιάζει με νεαρή γυναίκα
διεγερτικά πουλιά
νά ‘ρθούν
να τη φιλήσουν και να παίξουν
σαν επιστρέψει η άνοιξη
θα παραείναι όμορφη
για να την αγγίξουν

Νιώθω τα υαλώδη της ρευστά
στα βαθιά ερωτικά μου άλματα
απ’ την ψυχή με αχνοφεγγίσματα
κυλά η πνοή της μάσα στις φλέβες μου:
αυτός της σάρκας ο υποτελής ερυθριά
καθώς πίνω το άπειρο μέσα της

Σφίγγω τα χέρια σου
και νιώθω το αίμα
να κυλά μανιασμένα
στις αρτηρίες σου
μες σε σιωπή τουλίπας 

Είναι το άρωμα
ή το κορμί σου
που ωθεί τη νύχτα
στη μέθη;
τα πλούσια χείλη σου
βγάζουν φωτιά
μες σε σιωπή υπέροχη
αναδίδεις ευωδιά
από λουλούδια και νερό
μπορώ ν’ αναζητήσω
τη φωνή μου
στα στήθια σου;

βλέπω την ομορφιά της
ακούω τη μελωδία της
μετέχω στη γνώση της
μοιράζομαι τα πλούτη της
μέσα μου
η μορφή της κυβερνά την καρδιά μου
κι όμως της σκόνης η μαυρίλα
καλύπτει το είναι μου
δεν κατανοώ
τα λόγια τα κρυμμένα
κι αν κάθομαι
κάτω απ’ της αγάπης της το δέντρο
είναι ακόμα μακριά μου
ένα βήμα μονάχα
αν μπορούσα να κάνω
κι εισέρχομαι
στο κιόσκι της αιωνιότητας 

Η καλύτερη ποίηση
είναι γυναίκα
σαφής, ιδιαίτερη, θελκτική
η πιο ωραία απ’ όλες

Τι είναι
τούτο το φως
το δίχως ακτίνες
που λάμπει
μέσα στα μάτια σου;

Έχει διαγνωστεί ως ψυχιατρική περίπτωση
τα πόδια της σφιχτοδεμένα με αλυσίδες
πάνω-κάτω μέσα στο δρόμο σέρνεται
γυμνή χωρίς τροφή
ξεπαγιάζει το Δεκέμβρη
κουλουριάζεται δίπλα στον οχετό
απαρατήρητη απ’ τους κατοίκους στο σοκάκι
φτιάχνει πυρά θριάμβου με κλαδιά, χαρτιά
παπούτσια πεταμένα και κουρέλια
κάτω απ’ τη γέφυρα ρουφώντας τσάι
ακούω το καμπανάκι να χτυπά στο Rajghat
προσκυνητές τρέχουνε να προλάβουν το τρένο

Μεταξύ δυο διψασμένων δέντρων στέκει σαν θάλασσα ομορφιάς
και κοιτά τους ψαράδες που περνούν τ’ απόγεμα
τα μάτια της είναι ψάρια μα κανείς δε νοιάζεται
τα θορυβώδη φύλλα πέφτουν κι αναπαύονται
προτού η φλόγα σιγάσει εκείνη βλέπει
στα λοφώδη ανεβοκατεβάσματα τα σπασμένα της βραχιόλια
και κρύβει ρόδο που κλαίει μέσα στο σάρι της.

Η αγελαδίτσα τρώγει σε
τόπο βίας ξαπλώνει
σε γρασίδι που είναι τάφος
άγρια θεριά και ταύροι περικυκλώνουν
ποιος θα ακούσει την αγωνία της σαν
οι θεοί γεννηθούν από τα σπέρματά τους;

Για να εκφραστεί σεξουαλικά
το πλήθος τον βολεύει μέσα στο λεωφορείο

κατά τη διάρκεια του Puja τρίβει με δύναμη
το πουλί του στων γυναικών τον πισινό
πριν αγριέψουν τα πράγματα κατεβαίνει
στο Sabuj Samaj να ψάξει
καινούριο μέρος στο Pandal
τα μάτια της Durga είναι παραθολωμένα για να δούν
τις σκοτεινές επιθυμίες της νιότης
να συνωστίζονται στο όνομα της θρησκείας
του Puja, του πολιτισμού, και της παράδοσης
---όλα εθνική ζημία---
ενόσω οι δειλοί φοβούνται
των αγοριών και κοριτσιών
το ελεύθερο πλησίασμα
η κυβέρνηση μαζεύει
κακοποιούς με ζήλο
πιέζοντας κι αναγκάζοντας
να τηρήσουν το νόμο και την τάξη, ποιος ενοχλείται
με το βιασμό και το κεράτωμά τους μες στο πλήθος;

Πληρώνει κέρματα
μόνο για να κοιτάξει
το ηλιοκαμένο πρόσωπο
πίσω από τις τοσοδούλες τρύπες
ίσως του μοναδικού της σάρι
η ορμή είναι να σκίσει
το περιτύλιγμα που κρύβει
το πραματάκι αλλά
είναι πολύ δειλός ώστε ν’ ανοίξει
την καρδιά του παγιδευμένος
στου σανδαλιού της την καμπύλη

Ενώ χάιδευα και πασπάτευα
ξαπλωμένος στο κορμί της πάνω
εκείνη υπολόγιζε εάν
μπορούσε καινούριο σάρι ν’ αγοράσει
μ’ αυτά που θα την πλήρωνα

Στης άνοιξης την ολόγιομη νιότη
αυτός ξεκουμπώνει
την πολύχρωμη φούστα
πάνω στο άλικο το μαξιλάρι
νιώθει το φθινόπωρο
να ρίχνει κάτω

τα φύλλα της χρονιάς
κάπου στα μέσα γέρνει
σαν κλαρί τσακισμένο
στο τέλος
ο αγέρας σβήνει
λίγα ακόμα χρώματα

Σκυμμένη μέσα στον ήλιο
άσπρα και κίτρινα σπέρματα
που σαπίζαν τη μήτρα της
κι όμως ένιωθε ευγνώμων
ήτανε ζωντανή

Γεμάτη μυστήριο αποκρύπτει
όλα τα πάθη της
κοιτώντας ευθεία κάνει
πως δεν μέ ‘χει δει

Μέσα στο δάσος του κορμιού της
και των βυζιών της τους γκρεμούς
είν’ ο ληστής
είδα να δραπετεύει
η σελήνη
πάνω απ’ το ρέμα ψες


Monday, January 23, 2017

Ken W. Simpson comments

Impressive is too light a word to describe my impressions of your, poetry, Ram. it is like caress, or the reality of a kindness - a momentous event. It is contemporary poetry at its very best. It relates so well to my own feelings and my poetry, and is the perfect example of the difference between poetry and prose. In that sense each of your poems represents a novel. Each poem says all there is to say in a few superbly crafted lines.

--Ken W. Simpson, Poet, blogger and critic, Melbourne, Australia

Friday, January 13, 2017


Some of my poems  may be read/heard on

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Reading R.K.Singh's Poetry Through Translation

Poetic Representations: Cultural Differences in Hindi and English
Reading R. K. Singh’s Poetry Through Translation
Varsha Singh
Research Scholar
Vinoba Bhave University,
Hazaribag, Jharkhand
I have had the privilege of translating R. K. Singh’s poetry.1 That effort was rewarding for me as it was done under the keen presence of the poet himself. I had the benefit of reading my own translations, or – to use the metaphor of Raji Narasimhan – using ‘translation as a touchstone’2 to understand the original. Indeed, translation – as they say – is the most intimate interpretation of the original text. This paper is an attempt to situate Singh’s poem in its cultural and critical tradition and reading them with the help of my own translations in Hindi.
The Poet
R. K. Singh’s poetry is apparently simple in its first reading but reveals itself when you show patience. Anything beautiful and meaningful will demand that from you. You can’t order a sunrise or a sunset. You must have the patience to see the sun come up or go down. Similarly, Singh’s poetry demands that you choose your spot and allow the spirits to conjure themselves up.
R. K. Singh is realistic and tries to present facts in his poems. The themes of spiritual search, an attempt to understand inner self and the outer world, social injustice and disintegration, human suffering, degradation of relationship, political corruption, fundamentalism, hollowness of urban life and its false values, prejudices, loneliness, sex, love, irony, intolerance are prominent in his writing.
Ezra pound once said that “Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree”, and it is the same with the poems of R.K. Singh. The compressed language Singh uses in his poetry gives the readers complete freedom for interpretation. His style contains certain key aspects such as – manipulation of language to a special effect, lack of punctuation marks, practice of giving no titles, use of erotic metaphors, and depiction of the painful realities of the Indian society. He explores and reinvigorates traditional forms and styles with eclectic understanding of creativity. His poems create an intrinsic effect on the reader’s mind that is long lasting. In the words of R. K. Singh:
“Poetry is an art, a verbal art, which when effective, generates some physical, emotional or psychosexual sensation, stimulates some sensuous, spiritual or exalted pleasure, or provokes some mood or aesthetic sentiments, feelings, thoughts or ideas. It is also subjective expression of a social vision, reality or protest and an extension of the poet’s self”3
In an interview with me, Singh pointed out the complexities of understanding of his own poems. He says,
Sometimes when I re-read my poems and find that I am not able to understand it myself as a reader, I try to rewrite it, or discard it. I do ensure that I don’t put out a poem which is not sensible to me. Sometimes certain images and metaphors may be challenging, but I do enjoy writing poems that may be “ambiguous” and/or allow more meanings than one. For example, since I hardly use titles or punctuation marks, the lines can be read differently to derive different meanings. Then, there is the use of enjambment (one line passing to the next with full period or question mark etc at the end) just as there are instances where first word of the next line plays a double role both at grammatical and semantic levels. The readers do need to be sensitive about these features of my poetry that make it simple and complex at the same time. This has been my normal style, posing difficulty to readers…. I am not writing prose as poetry!4
Flight of Phoenix
Published in 1990, R. K. Singh’s collection of poems, Flight of Phoenix, dominates itself with intense sensitivity of eroticism and expression of inner-self as well.
Translation: An Intimate Reading
R. K Singh’s Flight of Phoenix is an important work in his oeuvre. My experience of translating his poems in the collection gave me an opportunity to understand the poems in an intimate way. Let us take poem number 18 as example,
Each day I construct
myself in new desires and
end in emptiness

a hollow shadow
I move in dust and rest in
stony webs of haze

Roz banaataa hoon khud ko
Nayee tammannaon mein
Aur simat jaataa hoon
Khaalipan mein
Thothaa saya saa 
Firtaa hoon dhool mein
Aur tham jaataa hoon
Gubaar key pathreeley jaalon mein
In this poem the poet presents some majestic images such as “hollow shadow” and “stony webs”. As a translator it was my first job to read the poem through these images and try to find its equivalent in the target language that is Hindi. However, we must understand the context of these images and phrases used in the poem. If hollow shadow and stony webs can be translated as “thothaa sayaa” and “pathreeley jaal” one was very conscious of the fact that they must be able to carry the negative connotation of the phrases in the original. The process of translation did not only open up the possibilities of meanings in the poem but also alerted me to the possible equivalences in the target language. This is what I call translation as an intimate reading. With more examples from the book, I will try to drive home the point. With the help of the translations of poem number 4, I will illustrate the point. With the original, I provide two possible translations to understand the close reading the process of translation entails.
When sleepless poetry
fails to negotiate night
I wait for white dreams

Translation – 1
Jab beyneend kavita
Haar jaati raat sey samjhautey mein
Main berang sapnon ka kartaa intezaar

Translation – 2
Jab rahoon beyneend
Aur kavita haarey samjhautey mein
Tab raat karoon main intezaar
Berang sapnon kaa
In the first attempt of translating this poem it can be seen that it is the poem becoming      sleepless, which is not the implied meaning and thus incorrect: whereas, in the second translation it is the person who has become sleepless, and thus it is the correct translation. This is basically a transferred epithet, which requires keen observation of the translator for a better result.
The compressed language in Flight of Phoenix is its most dominating and impressive aspect providing rhythm and tone to the poems as well as leading towards the textural issues in translation. This aspect of the book can be seen as another big challenge for a translator. Poem no. 24 is a perfect example situating the issue of compressiveness in the poems of R.K. Singh.
Is it the heat wave
or stupor that I see
shadows in the dark and call it vision?

Kya hai yah
Taptee tarang yaa madhoshi
Jo dekhoon main anderey mein saya
Aur pukaaroon usey kalpana
The poet does not use any punctuation mark in this poem except a question mark at the end. This describes the compressive nature of the poem and thus becomes a challenge in translation. Similar problem is encountered in all the poems Flight of Phoenix.
As discussed earlier, that, compressed language provides a variant tone to the poems of this collection, poem no. 26 would be a suitable example describing this issue of tone in translating verses.
The colour of night is the same everywhere
what if my identity is not known
let’s fuck the moment and forget the place
The tone of this poem is negative, where the poet is talking about darkness and his unidentified identity. In this situation, any kind of carelessness or incapability of the translator may lead toward misinterpretation, as resulted below:
Translation 1
Raagini ki rangat har taraf ek si hai
Toh kya, agar main anjaan hoon
Chalo is sthaan sey virakt ho
Is pal ko hum shikast dein
Here, the poem has resulted as over translation and has become a romantic piece, which is not the original tone. A better version for this poem would be:
Translation 2
Raat har taraf ek si
Toh kya agar meri pehchaan chupi
Bin fikra key ab jagah ki
Jee lein hum yeh pal abhi
As it is known that translation is not only a linguistic procedure, it is a cultural process as well. A translator has to face numerous issue related to the culture, as one has to take care of the emotions, values and traditions of two cultures – i.e. the culture of the original text as well as the culture of the target language. Poem no. 16 from Flight of Phoenix is a better example providing the cultural issues in translation.
Winter is caught in
waves of narrow discussions
under the blanket
fingers move by nipples erect
without sensing consummation

chaadar taley
hui sard
tarangein tang baaton ki
ungaliyaan stan ko chooti
ab bin ehsaas koi
It was essential for me to take proper care of this piece as the poem carries certain element of eroticism in it and the erotic sensibility goes handy with each culture differently. The expressions and sentiments of two different cultures cannot be same, they vary from each other; therefore, careful understanding becomes an essential requirement otherwise the poem would die in the hands of the translator. Similar problem is noticed in poem no. 19 as well.
Bones of levity criss-cross
at the bottom of silence
there is no shape in the mind

Khaamoshi taley
Hoti aadi-tirchee
Shareer utaavaleypan ki
Zehan mein rahey nahin
Fir aakaar koi
Present translation makes it clear that a slight deviation by the translator may lead the text towards a negative cultural impression, and may hurt the sentiments of the target readers.
Some other examples of the erotic elements which create cultural problems while translating this collection are:
Poem no 59
I smell my boneless
semen under the pillow
weaving legends in   
half-dream along her
hips as I curl like rainbow
dying winds splash down blots

Poem no.56
Like a woman’s mind
resides between her thighs joy
and satisfaction

man’s love and hatred
concentrate on the crevice
though he watches face

she laughs when I say
love and beauty is nothing
but sabre and sheath

Poem no.52
The split in cypress
is vulva I know the roots

call it Yin and Yang
our basic sex, lingam and
yoni harmonise
Like lotus rising
from the depths of lake through mud
crossing existence
My focus has been on retaining the sense of the poems, rather than the mere verbal meaning, even as the basic problem was faced related to the cultural transformation of expression from English to Hindi.  Words substitute and sense substitute for erotic words and sense had to be found out in Hindi, which was a major cultural challenge, as it was important to find the equivalence in Hindi of images created so often and evocatively in English. For instance, words and images such as, ‘scratching between his legs’, ‘tending the blouse’, ‘boneless semen’, ‘unzips her skirt’, ‘lingam and yoni’, ‘Yin-Yang’ etc. were difficult to transfer in Hindi; yet an effort was made by  translating them  as: “khurachtey paavon key beech”, “choli sarkaatey”, “beyasthi veerya”, “utaarti vo kapdey”, “ling aur yoni”, “yin-yang” . Here, it may be relevant to quote R.K. Singh, from one of his essays:
“The problems of translating metaphors, alliteration, collocations, puns, word play, proper names, neologism, cultural words, eponyms (like Gandhism, thacherism), no equivalent words (like jaunty), acronyms, imagery, symbols, and even problems of a given text are genuine just as finding an exact ‘communicative equivalence’ across different languages is challenging.”5
One faces another kind of cultural implication while translating the title of the text – Flight of Phoenix.  Phoenix is basically a Greek mythical bird, the only one of its kind; hence, it becomes a challenge for the translator to find out a suitable equivalent for Phoenix in Indian culture too. After some research “Garud” comes as the Indian mythical bird, which is considered the only one of its kind and very much similar to the nature and features of Phoenix. As a result, the title Flight of Phoenix becomes Garud ki Udaan in Hindi.
At last, it becomes necessary to say, that, there are many more dominant ingredients that constitute the art of R.K. Singh’s poetry and if the translator misses them, then a major constituent of Singh’s poetry is lost. A literary translator, therefore, needs to use his/her art and craft “with responsibility to capture the spirit of the original” avoiding both under-translation and over-translation.
Translating the contemporary poets writing in English, especially, for an international audience poses a greater challenge than poets writing for the home audience. The difficulties multiply if the poetic sensibility entails both Indian and other cultural ethos. A complex of personal understanding and wider sensibility is called for in handling the textual and contextual problems, too, especially in the poetry of a collection like Flight of Phoenix. Possibly, more and more exercises in translating an Indian poet in an Indian language may help in negotiating the emotional and cultural contents more effectively.  

1.      Singh, Varsha. “Translation of Flight of Phoenix: Some Linguistic and Cultural Issues”. Dissertation, Indian School of Mines. 2011.
2.      Narasimhan, Raji. Translation as a Touchstone. New Delhi: Sage Publications. 2013.
3.      Singh, R.K. Flight of Phoenix: A Collection of Poems. Berhampur: Poetry Time Publications. 1990. p. 9.
4.      Singh, Varsha. “Interview with Dr. R.K. Singh”. Reviews, Vol I, Issue II.
5.      Singh, R.K. Teaching English for Specific Purpose: An Evolving Experience. Jaipur: Book Enclave. 2005. p. 280.