Prabhu Iyer Sep 29
A father who has conquered all
that is in space,
here and among the stars
and the higher worlds,
begot Her as his child,

She of an essence beyond time:
aeons of vaster joys,
sundered now from the world
so sorely imperfect,
must yet come down here
to lead us back to the wonder
beauty of the blank spirit
the basis of all;

We can bottle up fragrance
in choicest the vials of our whim:
but released, it must fill all space, no less.

So was She the freedom
shining in the stars
flowing in the rivers that raft through the hills
in the winds that beat down the vales;

Protected, She grew in his home
among others lustred lesser
shining forth as his darling
who would keep aflame
the glory of his name;
This is the first now of the Sati cycle....let's see how this grows!
Prabhu Iyer Sep 22
Taking wings of paper, gone flying
to where it must not,
naive,
whetted by fancy, that (neither)
sensing, seeing, nor knowing
the limits -

lost, how silly this heart!

Crosses castles
and scales heights, yet,
feels like theft, this love:

Ifs and buts, and again and again
tossing about like a ball,

Applying of dust, like
sandalwood on the forehead;

Whetted by fancy, neither
sensing, seeing, nor knowing
the limits,

Lost, how silly this heart!

Soars high, the soul-bird,
yearning, leaping out of this frame -
oh a big flame, this love!
.
Next in my series translating fantastic lyrics in Indian films, is this song 'Monta Re' penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya for 'Lootera', catch the original at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99NUJ1cLbBI
Prabhu Iyer Sep 17
Golden, this nimble hour
when shy the sky-maiden
changes attire,

a thousand shades
come playing, painting
the courtyard of the night in grilles,

laying a bridge across to the dark,
while birdsong keeps count,
flowering, healing trees
unfurling in the wind:

the firmament is my bo-tree
bringing tidings afresh:
until a day when justice will prevail,
is sure to dawn,

these questions,
my offerings into the embers
of the sacrifice of life.
My project continues, this time one of my favourites in the Tamil language, this gorgeous debut song from 1980 (yes, that old but so fresh still) brought to the world the genius of Vairamuthu, the lyricist who went on to storm the world of Tamil cinema and literature with his soulful poems, enjoy the original here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux0LERGc1cc
Prabhu Iyer Sep 15
O Lord of the hosts!

Shine in radiance, his eyes -
in whose heart is your name;
Who fathoms your ends?
The earth, sky and stars
pay homage to him
and fear fears him,
whom your shadow protects:

O Lord of the hosts!

Wealth finds him in whatever he does
who earns the blessing of your love,
and a shoreless boat is he who
has not found you whose
benevolent eyes keep watch over all
shattering the storms of sins,
whose glory never ebbs;
Becomes a master of destiny,
even forgetting the world, who has
found your grace,
come riding the mouse -

O Lord of the hosts!

Anointed of the dust of your foot
on his forehead, who lives mortal here,
immortal nectars cannot tempt him -
he can drink venom smiling;
Just by the shadow of your grace
the wheel of the chariot of time moves
and by a spark of your ire
abodes of demons burn;

The minions of enemies stand defeated,
miraculous, boon become into this world,
comes your name:

O Lord of the hosts!

Glory, glory to the dear one adorned of peacock-feathers!
Prabhu Iyer Aug 27
Does daybreak ever
bring darkness home?
The dried kohl is witness:
Aeons old, such a story
has been left behind,
unsaid, unsaid;


Does spring ever bring notice
of the coming fall?
Oh the rains sometimes
bring rumblings
of miffed skies -

Shoots that drop off stalks,
have not all
fallen for nothing,


Was the little window of dreams
illusory?
Laying my head down,
stealing my sleep?

Aeons old, is such a story
that has been left behind,
unsaid, unsaid;
Easily one of the best songs in a Hindi language film of the last decade, 'Ankahee' (Unsaid) is a masterpiece by lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DR0S-ocAmvo

Notes: Kohl is a dark powder used as eye makeup in the East. Masterful use to describe the kohl-lined eye of a female protagonist viewing the pathos-laden dawn.
Prabhu Iyer Aug 19
Healing like the moon, you,
and jilted like the night am I:
paired in the heavens,
my darkness to your dream;

A cloud-patch of the downpour, you,
and I, a moment of the wait:
our meeting was written for this year;

The only passway:
your name,
the beat I live by.

Dressed in a bandhni pair,
leaving my father's lane will I come,
for you bringing,
sixteen monsoons together:
hold soft, for the string is sharp
for now starts the journey of seven lives;


I, at this end of the string
and you the other:
many the agonies before they come together!

The only passway:
your name,
the beat I live by.
Continuing on from my old project translating the lyrics of some of the finest songs from Indian films, here's the translation of the gorgeous title song from the 2018 superhit Hindi language film 'Dhadak' -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWnzMwT6SKo

Original lyrics in Hindi by Amitabh Bhattacharya
Prabhu Iyer Jul 4
Last bird, how cross you the distant
boundary beyond light?
In a circle of smoke I go
uttering her name the last of the words:
last splash of the high lake,
lisp of the winter wind,
words tail words, like water
emptied in the river and lake
retreating into the well
beyond them rocks deep
then into the heart of the earth
such is her name, buried deep
the unmarked borderland where
I must end and She must begin
incense-form fragrant her lips
that smell of nameless a love seeping in
across the vast, dark night;
it is the shadow of hooded fear
of being loved
that I wake up to in my nightmares
now I walk in the twilight
retreating, that upon us
the end of the day
kissed of her tresses
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