Elegy for the Bundles of Hunger

Oh, maidens, you can’t walk your way in a dream
oh, young men, you can’t live only on hope; come, let’s 
go to collect the mahua flowers, let’s go to pluck the leaves
this is our bolted, darkened filthy fortune.

There you look, god took the sacred book and entitled 
a hundred acres of land to someone’s fortune but didn’t 
arrange a slate for us nor did he show us the way of light. 

Let’s go to the mountain cleavage to eat summer berries
to collect kendu, and to pluck tamarind; searching every 
patch of land set apart from the forest, bundling hunger 
in the sari drape, let’s save to bring it with us.

Come, let’s go fishing with a cane pole, we could collect 
hunger for some more days; let’s go to get down the palm beer
probably, we could fetch thirst for some more days.

Don’t worry, oh, young men and young women,
mothers and fathers, they could call us uncivilized 
after all, we’re wild from the genesis  
come, let’s sing the primitive songs, let’s worship the 
mountain, carrying our deities let’s dance without a pause. 

Translated from the Odia by Pitambar Naik

Jayadratha Suna, trans. by Pitambar Naik

Jayadratha Suna started writing in 1997. He has two collections of poetry in Odia—-Shosha and Niandhara (Pashchima). He has been conferred with the Kendra Sahitya Akadenmi Yuva Puraskar in 2018, Kalahandi Yuva Puraskar and many more. He has two master's degrees and a degree in teaching. He teaches in Pragati College, Bhawanipatna. He grew up in Kalahandi, Odisha in India.    

Pitambar Naik is an advertising professional. His work appears or is forthcoming in The McNeese Review, The Notre Dame Review, Packingtown Review, Rise Up Review, Ghost City Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Indian Quarterly, and elsewhere. The Anatomy of Solitude (Hawakal) is his debut book of poetry. He grew up in Odisha and lives in Bangalore, India.

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