Ignatius Dias

Ignatius Dias is a poet who writes in his mother tongue, Marathi. In 2015, his first book of poems, Adhantarala Latakalelya Avatarnat, published by PoetryPrimero, won the Maharashtra Government Award for the best debut collection in Marathi. The following poems are translated from the Marathi by Mustansir Dalvi

An unreliable telling of the old crone’s tale

in the hope that the old crone would stay with her daughter for a bit
gorge on ghee and roti and grow roly-poly before she returned
this day or the next
the starving wolf, wasting away down to his rattling bones, waits

but you and I
ignore the shriveled gourd who, for years and years
ferried the old lady to and fro

one day the wolf could not see the gourd at all
that year, maybe there was no crop of gourds
or maybe there was no farmland left over
nor farmhands, perhaps

the old hag stopped
going to her daughter’s home from then on
having lost the talisman that kept her safe

the eyes of the wolf, inured
to waiting for a glimpse of the crone
now scours the horizon for the gourd

come on gourd, rattle on, as the old lady
flashes and flounces away, while this unreliable telling
dissolves before our very eyes

Wah! Taj

I have never heard
Zakir’s singing fingers
and yet in my mind Wah! Taj bubbles and brews

There in my head
in place of digits drumming on the tabla
cups brim
with sloshing tea
I search for the meaning of Zakir’s freshness
in the words- Wah! Taj
and I am depressed

These words are not the strokes on the tabla
and yet in my mind Zakir keeps repeating Wah! Taj
instead of dha dhin dhin dha…

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