(a Hindi poem translated from the original Santhali language)

pahaaRkii god meN
pahaaR ke choTe-choTe TukRoN saa
kheltaa hai pahaaRii baccaa
laRkhaRaate kadamoN se pahaaR caRhte
roptaa hai pahaaRii dhartii par paaNv
pahaaRii maahaul meN
pahaaR kii tarah
puurii taakat se ugne ke lie
pahaaRii bacon ke bhiitar hotaa hai
puuraa kaa puuraa pahaaR
aur pahaaRon kii god meN hotaa hai
dauRtaa-bhaagtaa pahaaRii baccaa
pahaaRii baccaa dekhtaa hai
pahaaR ke uupar se guzarta jahaaz
aur puuchtaa hai pitaa se
us naye pakshii ke bare meN

Translation by the Poetry Workshop


(taken from the website of Poetrytranslation.org ,gratefully acknowledging the source)


Mountain Child (English translation)
by Nirmala Putul

In the lap of the mountain
Plays the mountain child
Like tiny little mountain fragments/pieces

Climbing the mountain with wobbling steps
He plants his feet on the mountain earth
To grow with full force
Like a mountain
Amidst the mountainous world

Inside mountain children is
The entire mountain
And in the lap of the mountains
Is the scurrying mountain child

The mountain child sees
A plane flying over the mountain
He asks his father
What is that bird?


I love this beautiful poem by Nirmala Putul, who is herself a child of the mountains. The delightful poem uses surprisingly simple imagery but manages to capture the atmosphere of the mountains effectively.
Chip of the old block

The child is a tiny piece of the mountain itself, like the straggling rocks of the mountains loosely lying about as if they are playing in the mountain’s lap.
Planting feet on the mountain earth

The child is setting his foot in the earth of the mountain as though he will grow to another mountain taller than the surrounding mountains. Beautiful.
Inside the mountain children is the entire mountain

The child is the mountain ,born of it. Inside him is the entire mountain like inside the child is an entire mother of whom he was once a part.

The scurrying child

The mountain child runs away from his mother like a lizard or a squirrel scurrying away.

The plane is a bird

The wonder of seeing a new bird which has not been identified and stratified in the collective conscious of a tribe, a name given,an ontology fixed in folklore.