My bier-bearing poem  by Dr. Rajendra Bhandari

Fallen to bad company

my published poems

have become rowdy sons.

Deserting me midway

they become strangers

smiling wryly at me,

severed of all ties

not even a letter.

But the unwritten poem

inside me,

my very own unwritten poem,

attending on me for ages,

will come to shoulder my bier,

Could do nothing for it,

except, perhaps, injustice,

by not writing it,

Had I written it,

it too might have fared no better

than its elder brothers.

my unwritten poem,

forever entrapped within me

forbidden to sprout,

while I played the hero, a villain, a jester

on many platforms.

After each performance

when dialogues and costumes are cast off

my unwritten poems wait on me,

lies beside me

even as I sleep, as I slumber.

And yet I did nothing for it

not made even a simple paper-hut.

But it will moisten my parched lip

as I lie on my death bed.

This, ever fragrant lotus,

saturated in my blood,

my musk-pod, my bosom friend.

my unwritten poem

will bear my bier one day.

                                           -Translated from Nepali by Pankaj Thapa


Rajendra Bhandari is a Reader in the Nepali Department of the Sikkim Government College at Tadong in Gangtok.  He has published four collections of poems in Nepali, the first of which appeared in 1979. He has a doctorate in Nepali literature. Bhandari has won awards for his poetry, including the 1981 Diyalo Purashkar in Poetry from the Nepali Sahitya Sammelan in Darjeeling, the 1998 Shiva Kumar Rai Memorial Award from the South Sikkim Sahitya Sammelan and the 1999 Dr. Shova Kanti Thegim Memorial Award for poetry from the Shovakanti Memorial Trust in Gangtok.

Pankaj Thapa is the Head of the English Department in Sikkim Government College, Tadong. His work includes illustrations for the Folktales of the Lepchas written by Yishey. D published from Tranquebar, Bangalore. He is a cartoonist and a translator too.