I am fragmented - fallen apart -
Like rhythm striving to throb in a poem without metre
Like a pattern trying to emerge upon a man's life canvas
Like bread crumbs in several homes, not yet placed in a beggar's bowl.
Who spoke? The cuckoo?
This babbling of the nightingales in groves,
Nature's cultural programme on the radio -
What have I to do with it?
I feel llike switching it off.
The first days of spring came, then went.
I never even knew.
Nature, what can you ever do?
My own nature is all askew
My wholeness - I took it for granted -
I have seen it crumbling to pieces.
Love-image; Hate-image; Fear-image -
The trinity that did much to pull me into shape.
My blood stirred and sang at the thought of you;
My heart was glad with joy to see you;
Missing you, I prayed for death
You were the sought-after of my yearning
You were the poison of passion,
The well of fire seething in the eye's cup,
Exhaling the smoke of a burnt-out heart.
At your touch, the eyelids set, ever-parted
Your corpse-embrace lathered up cold sweat;
The sap of life nearly dried up,
And consciousness drowned in a wail.
You were the naked guileless rhythm of my desire,
Each one of you stroke to bring me into focus,
Gave me the baptism of Love.
Love, whose fundamentals I have yet to learn
Even so, this life - a dilapidated cart -
Drags on, lumbering rumble tumble -
Look at that fine gentleman
He has yet to learn how to endear himself through love,
He can only love through hate.
Fine. Where's the time for fighting?
I'll love you on your own terms.
Here is someone, to me, my second heart,
He smears so many with his own pettiness,
Twists all with his own croockedness.
But if one could behave better
Would he ever act like this?
Here is someone who was of late my love
I owe my unique experience to him.
My mind repeated incessantly:
You cannot make me hate you.
Does one ever hate a person once loved?
You don't understand the world at all,
They tell me.
Others say: You're just human.
Yes, I am a learner at the feet of a world
That does not believe in worldliness
That does not care to remember the millionaires,
Nor all the many martyrs to success.
It covers the mighty ones
Beneath the ashes of oblivion.
If the world were truly worldly,
Would it at all remember
the poets, the mad lovers, the saints?
Why bother to ask?
Memory? Well, memory is - life.
Will the solid layers of this earth last for ages
and the warmth of the human heart fritter away in vain?
No - this warmth will surely help the sun to keep a little warm;
It shall last in each heart beyond eternity.
Just at this moment
Heartbeats die out one by one;
If only they were infinite.
Amidst the burning scorch of May,
A bus rushes on the bridge.
My eyes, behind dark glasses, were closed, as if in meditation.
And yet the slender Sabarmati -
An innocent deer chasing the mirage of eternity -
Sends up from below its cold sharp blade
Which, piercing the solid bridge,
Renews me for a second with coolness
Before the bus, reaching the bridge end
Falls a fresh prey to the flames of the summer heat.
If only this frail pulse, my heart,
Could do so much. Perhaps it can;
Maybe it cannot -
Day and night I am torn with pain;
Struggling to reach and hold the centre, I am worn out.
Wasting every breath, fragmented;
I am fragmented.
Chinnabhinna Chum (Fragmented)
(translation by the poet himself from the original Gujarati)