Wednesday, September 27, 2017

JOSEPH BEROLO translates my poems

Después del Acto 

They practice death
in school and blame India:
terrorist politics.
Ellos ejercen muerte
en la escuela y culpan a ka  India
de politicas terroristas*

No wake-up call
be it Nawaz or Modi
power luxury
in angel costume
each invokes divine

Sin llamada de alerta
bien sea de Nawaz o Modi,
la lujuria del poder
vestido de ángel,
cada cual invocala condenación divina 

After the act
ritual truth burial
and peace politics.
Después del acto
el entierro ritual de la verdad
y  las politicas de paz.


In the poems I write
you can read my mind
even know when I'm blue
before the mirror
when I stand in the dark
you can't scent me
nor will words comfort
in chilly December
when alone in candle light
empty coffee cups
deride the syllables
I spin to make haiku
my hairs in air
reveal the baldness:
wank without wad.  

No puedes con mi esencia

Puedes leer mi mente/
en los poemas que escribo/
aún cuando estoy lívido/
ante el espejo/.
Cuando permanezco en la sombra
/no puedes con mi esencia/ .
Las  palabras de consuelo/
en un diciembre helado/cuando solo a la luz de un candil/
con tasas de café vacías/,
se burlan de las sílabas/
yo doy vueltas componiendo haiku/
mi cabello crispado/
refleja la calvicie:una paja sin varita mágica. 


It's near butevery place has a distanceand people toothey flee to seeme in their vicinitysense a dangerI don't belong:they curse me for what I'm notself-made miserytraps them to hellI can't help their doom nor stoptheir wanton ragedown to smallnessthey hate only themselves andsculpt new sorrowsI must erasethe debris of dreams they leaveand be at peace.
Restos de sueños

Está cerca pero
cada lugar tiene una distancia
 y la gente también.
Huye para no verme  en la vecindad
sentir el peligro
al que no pertenezco.
Me maldicen por lo que no soy.
Su miseria consentida
en el infierno los atrapa..
Nada puedo hacer en su condena,
no puedo detener su rabia sin sentido
 reducida a nada...
Yo debo borrar los restos
de los sueños que ellas dejan
 y estar en Paz. 

Dreams of Clay 
They make my face
ugly in my own sight
what shall I see in the mirror?
there is no beauty
or holiness left
in the naked nation:
the streams flow dark
and the hinges of doors moan
politics of corruption
I weep for its names
and the faces they deface
with clay dreams

Sueños de arcilla
Ellos afean mi rostro
ante mi mismo.
¿Qué debo ver en el espejo?
Allí no hay belleza
ni queda santidad
en la nación desnuda:
los riachuelos corren negros
y las bisagras de las puertas gimen
politicas corruptas.
Lloro por ellos  
y los rostros que desfiguran 
con sus sueños de arcilla.
 Traductor Joseph Berolo 
He writes about me on his blog,  
and shares information about my new tanka-haiku collection, GOD TOO AWAITS LIGHT.

Teresita Morán Valcheff comments:  
Querido Joseph:

 Creo que es un gran honor tener a este genial escritor y pensador indio en UNILETRAS. Su poesía bella y profunda, invita no solo a gozar de la estética de su contenido y forma , sino a reflexionar adentrándonos en nuestra propia mente y el alma donde cada  concepto es un llamado a fijar la atención en una realidad que golpea a la humanidad en su conjunto y a cada ser en particular y que necesita ser transformada. 
La impecable traducción de Joseph Berolo desde el inglés, no ha menoscabado la esencia de la poesía del Profesor Singh, sino que en nuestro idioma ha llegado a nosotros con una armonía y justeza encomiables.

Un abrazo fraterno para los dos

Teresita Morán Valcheff 

Dear Joseph, Is a great honor to have in Uniletras  this genial writer and thinker of India. His beautiful and profound poetry, invites not only to admire the esthetic beauty of its content anf form,  but to inmerse our minds  and souls in its  reflections, where each concept is a call to  face  the crude reality that strikes the whole humanity in need of being transformed.  The impecable translation  of Joseph Berolo has not eroded  the essence of Professor´s  Singh poetry, which has come to us in our language with laudable armony and precision. Fraternal embrace tov you both. Teresita Morán Valcheff -  

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Here's the cover photo of my new collection of tanks and haiku being published by Cholla Needles, CA, USA. It is priced at US$4.  ISBN 9781975993849

Monday, September 18, 2017

FOREWORD to VVB Ramarao's 'Looking Within and Beyond'


Perhaps it’s time to think what it means to be a poet writing in English in a country that hardly cares about poetry.  Of course  poetry collections keep appearing, mostly with the poets’ own  money, in print and online, but reaching out to influential media and academia has been difficult.  The general support is missing.

Power and politics apart, practicing poets and editors such as D C Chambial, P C K Prem, T V Reddy, P K Joy, I K Sharma, R K Singh, Angelee Deodhar, Atma Ram, H S Bhatia, Pronab K Majumder, P Raja, Sudhir K Arora,  Abnish Singh Chauhan, C L Khatri, Shaleen Kumar Singh, K V Dominic, C L Khatri, and scores of others have been liberally supporting the potent voices that merit public and academic attention.  Even as they demonstrate understanding of the poets’ relationship to both the present and the past, to the rich literary tradition, and to the sociopolitical system that negates their presence, the problem of literary mediation persists. Their muse struggles for space in the world of Literature.

Unless academic research on emerging and marginalized poets and writers in English locally, regionally, and nationally is promoted as policy, the native literary culture won’t develop. It would not only be difficult but also partial, exclusive, elitist, and negative to discuss contemporary trends and consciousness in creative writing without talking about hundreds of new voices that appeared post-Ezekiel.

If a poet like V V B Ramarao is noted, --  he is an experienced academic, bilingual writer, and translator,-- it is not only because of his ability to carry the message of Indian culture and heritage with dignity but also because of  his ability to communicate.  He sounds collaborative with contemporary life and society and writes with a purpose, which is both personal and social.  Aware of the generational shift, he views the external world with a critical eye and tries to talk frankly.  In the process he turns within to become religious, moral, and interpretative.

His manas, sensitive and matured as it is, creatively explores the conflict-ridden world—“killing, ripping, raping, mauling” with “strange codes for strange outrages”—and transforms into a life of love, goodness, and compassion:  “Will vultures be transformed/into white doves, blue pigeons and black birds?” (‘The Seer’s Eye’), he suspects, but sounds reassuring, when he says, “Suffering needn’t necessarily degrade” (‘Vetting a Poet’).

As he exposes what he observes outside – “Threats of extinction wholesale are on the cards again,” with Laloosaurs, tyrannosaurs, psittacosaurus, Apatosaurus, saltosaurus, and so many other hydra-heads that challenge humanity everywhere (“Maybe the centre cannot hold, things are falling apart” –Pessimism), he demonstrates his strength inside: “But faith I’d never lose.”  He turns positive and calls for order, for looking within, through the microscope of oneself, for seeing what he visualizes as “whiteness of mind” and “infant’s face.”

Most of his poems are replete with images and metaphors that reveal wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and discerning insight: “What is without is within/Look for the infant’s face in the one you love:/Just look within” (‘Look Within’); “Ask not what the world has come to--/Realize what you have come to” (Mall Malady Moron); and “Blessed it is to be in solitude/A consummation devoutly to be wished/That’s all we need to know” (‘Bliss it is’).

The moralist and teacher in him is ever vigilant: “It is not enough to have a watch right on your wrist/You should know the value of time” (‘For Our Grandchildren’); “Spirituality needs wisdom and piety” (‘Seeing through I.C.U.’); “Days of deliverance recede far and farther/Hydra-heads cannot be decapitated at all” (‘Breasts of Prey’); “Between ism and feminism falls the shadow/For Hers is the kingdom/Time doesn’t heal: it only blunts./All is not vanity:/Pain is real” (‘Blunted’); and “Karmic suffering alone purges off dross” (‘Soul in transit’).

Ramarao’s didactic tone in many a poem may or may not appeal the new generation readership but the radiance of his thought may be felt by everyone.  He tastes and shares liberally what he calls “delicatessen” in poesy via saintly wisdom:  “Some tales in our scripture like epics are guidelines for all.”

Like a seer-poet, he movingly uses his metaphors to convey what may appear unpleasant but is true.  He critically meditates on various social issues of the time and communicates his own personal vision, revealing the experienced scholar he has been and searching his own salvation.  His poetry defines the way he perceives the world around him and demonstrates what lies inside him.  There is a touch of faith in what he says. To that extent, his poetry is criticism, with clarity of thought and diction, and added humour, irony, satire, and moral tone that draws him to the ways of the self with the same zeal as he commits himself to bhakti or devotion to the divine.

In fact he flirts with the muse to experience the human and divine as a seeker (cf. ‘Winter Rain’ and ‘Foul Play’).  In his ‘Winter Blossoms’ and other poems loaded with sex, he seeks to stress how “amorous sex” is  a means of fulfillment.  If one desires more and more of it, it is because, to quite J. Krishnamurti, “there is the cessation of self-consciousness, of the ‘me’… complete self-forgetfulness.”  It’s a condition to free the self, a self-free spiritual state, “seeking to be free of conflict because with the cessation of conflict, there is joy. If there can be freedom from conflict, there is happiness at all different levels of existence.”

When Ramarao’s narrator talks about give and take, yearning for ebullient warmth, in absolute oneness of physical union, he seeks a greater continuity of pleasure, and an escape from the deadly sense of emptiness, isolation, loneliness.  “Loneliness is hell,” says he.  The poet seeks solace in the advait philosophy of unity, but cautions: “Libido is not all—it can ignite another flaming hell” (‘Vetting a Poet’).  He continues:

         “Hidden arsenals haunt a devil mind
           Eager to add lusty continents to
           The globe bursting at the seams.
           No point chanting mantras for navigation benign.”

But love is its own eternity just as discovering the ways of the self through poetry is Ramarao’s meditation.  The volume is a discovery of truth which everyone may relish. I am happy to be a part of it as a reader.

April 4, 2017

Published in V.V.B. Rama Rao, Looking Within and Beyond. New Delhi: Authors Press, 2017, pp. 5-8. ISBN 9789386722300                         

Saturday, September 02, 2017


shaped like a bird
a drop of water lands
on her breast:
my breath jumps to kiss it
before her pelvic flick

Published in Endless Love Poems  in the Category Great Poems of Love