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Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

Poems by Sangram Jena

Nov 12, 2021 | Poetry | 1 comment

Translated from the Odia by Bibhu Padhi
The Evening Comes

The evening comes.
Your memory returns
like the day’s last tiredness.
So many wishes, such strong
wish not to wish at all,
so many givings, so many
feelings of not to receive;
all memories in a hazy
darkness, inside a fog.

It is shadowy everywhere,
From the threshold of worship
To the tree-sequestered
Platform, river-bank,
mangroves, the fields
under which the crops
are stored, mature.
The gardens, even
On the level-floor
In the house’s centre.

The dew-soaked leaves look
like your half-wet saree,
the hills on the farther side
of the fog are the loosening
lines of your body. It is
not quite difficult to know
the fog-enclosed hills,
the body, the wishes, the soul.
On returning home, again I find

those familiar faces, voices,
waitings, routine gods.
Though on my eyes there is
a deep brush of dusk—
of an unseen wish and hope,
waiting, and your unending
pretension of not having
anything at all.



The end of the night-sleep;
and then the morning.

It arrives with
the crow’s first call,
in light, the smoke
from the oven,
the foothills,
the noise, the mantric chants.

Is the story of the night
different? At night one hears
The many echoes of a warm desire.
Everywhere is the light
of attachments, the dark smoke
of loneliness, the sound of the feet,
and the body’s voices.

For this alone the nights
have been moving
throughout the night,
the waiting’s only morning.



Today the rains,
once again—
in the sky, the earth,
and the mind.

Everything seems wet—
the roads, the bed,
even on the carefully kept,
unreachable skin,
below the well-preserved clothes.

On the road,
the remnant water,
sweeping away the dirt.
Everything spills over
the canal, drains,
rivers and ponds.
Everything seems full,
in and out the loneliness,
the unending shadows
of memories.

Rain comes,
the pains increase, along with
the anguish of separation;
the lights decrease,
darkness envelopes everything.

Once again, when
the night darkens,
the desires of the dark avenues
come slowly, enclose
my naked body.

There is a soft drizzle
inside me.


Sangram Jena, a bi-lingual writer, has published five collections of poetry in Odia and three volumes of poems in English. His poems have been published in India and abroad in several prestigious journals, including Indian Literature, Kavya Bharati, New English Review, Bangladesh, Modern Poetry in Translation, Snowy Egret, The Text, Indefinite Space , California Quarterly etc. His poems have been included in several Indian and international anthologies.He was a senior fellow, Ministry of Culture, Government of India. He has received several prestigious awards including Sahitya Akademi(National Academy of Letters) Award for Translation and Bhanuji Rao Award for Poetry. He edits two literary journals, Nishant in Odia and margAsia in English.

Bibhu Padhi lives in Bhubaneswar, Orisa, India. A Pushcart nominee, published fourteen books of poetry. His poems have appeared in distinguished magazines throughout the English-speaking world, such as Contemporary Review, London Magazine, The Poetry Review, Poetry Wales, The Rialto, Stand, America Media, The American Scholar, Commonweal, The Manhattan Review, The New Criterion, Poet Lore, Poetry, Southwest Review, TriQuarterly, New Contrast, The Antigonish Review, Dalhousie Review, and Queen’s Quarterly.
They have been included in numerous anthologies and textbooks. Five of the most recent are The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets, Language for a New Century (Norton) Journeys (HarperCollins), 60 Indian Poets (Penguin) and The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry.

1 Comment

  1. Prasenjit Mukherjee

    Excellent poems – highly evocative, with wonderful use of images. Enjoyed reading them. The translations have also been done very well – they don’t have the turgidness that one normally experiences in translations. Congratulations to both the writer and the translator.


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