Two Poems

translated by Kalpna Singh-Chitnis
A close up of tree seeds opening to the world
Photo: Momoko Morita/Pixabay

The Earth Shall Remain

I’m sure
the earth shall remain,
if not elsewhere,
it shall remain in my bones;
as a wood louse lives in the trunk of a tree,
as a weevil lives in a seed,
the earth shall remain in me
even after doomsday;
if not, elsewhere,
in my mortality.

And one day, I shall rise
with the entire earth,
water and the tortoise,
I shall rise and set out
to meet someone
I have promised to meet.



Able to find no path of liberation
I have sat down to write.

I want to write “Tree”
knowing that writing tree is becoming a tree.
I want to write “Water,”

“Human,” I want to write “Human,”
hand of a child,
the face of a woman,

With all my vigor,
I want to throw words toward humans,
knowing, they will do nothing to a human being.
On a busy street, I want to hear that explosion
which occurs, when the words and humans collide,

knowing nothing will happen from my efforts of writing,
I want to write.

Translations from the Hindi

Kedarnath Singh (1934–2018) was a poet, critic, and essayist of Hindi literature. He received the Jnanpith Award, India’s highest literary honor, in 2013. His anthologies include Abhi Bilkul Abhi, Yahan Se Dekho, Zameen Pak Rahi hai, Akaal Mein Saaras, and Bagh.

Kalpna Singh-Chitnis is the author of Bare Soul and three collections of poems in Hindi. Her work is widely published and translated into many languages.