The Body Change – TheScreamOnline
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The Body Change

With my first step onto the seventh-story floor
I removed the coolness like a shoe
that I’d brought from the courtyard
painted with cow dung.
I donned the new room like a sweater
with windows, shelves, and walls,
the surroundings climbing my body like bougainvillea.

Whenever moving between homes
I carry bits of the old ones on my body.

The walls of the next home are made of sunlight
that disappears with darkness.
To put on this home
is to enter dreamfulness
as a road to reality.

At the final home, a pillow waits
on my side of a shared bed
beside a window facing south.

The south is the house of death.
I make it my body
and lie down on my pillow.

I am ready.



सात मंजिल ऊपरी जमीन पर तलवे टिकाते ही
मैं उस ठंडक कर उतार कर रख देती हूँ
जो गोबर से लिपे आंगन से
मेरे साथ साथ चली आई है
और स्वेटर की तरह, खिड़कियों , अलमारियों
और दीवारों से घरे उस कमरे को पहन लेती हूँ
धीरे धीरे आसपास मेरी देह पर बेल की तरह चढ़ जाता है

एक घर से निकल कर दूसरे तक जाते हुए
पिछले घर के कुछ रेशे मेरी देह पर रह जाते हैं

मेरे दूसरे घर की दीवारे, धूप से बनी हैं
अंधेरे के साथ खो जाती हैं
इस घर को पहनना मेरे लिए
नीन्द सा सपनदार होता है
मैं सपने से हकीकत की और चलता शुरु करती हूँ

इस अन्तिम घर में मेरा इंतजार करता है
एक तकिया, बिस्तरे का एक हिस्सा
और दक्षिण की और खुलने वाली खिड़की

दक्षिण मृत्यु का घर है
मैं इसे अपनी देह बना कर अपने तकिए पर ले जाती हूं

अब दक्षिण दिशा को अपनाने के लिए
पूरी तरह से तैयार हूँ

Rati Saxena – Poet/ Translator/ Editor (kritya) / Director Poetry festivals-kritya and vedic scholar. She has 11 collections of poetry in Hindi and English, and books translated into Malayalam, Irish, Italian, and English by other poets.  Her poems have been translated in other international languages like, Chinees, Vietnam, Albanian , Spanish, Uzbek. Indonesian etc .She has a travelogue in Hindi (Cheenti ke par), a memoir in English (Everything is past tense), and a critical study of Malayalam poet Balamaniyamma.  Her research on the Atharvaveda has been published as The Seeds of the Mind,  a fresh approach to the study of Atharvaveda, under the fellowship of the Indira Gandhi National Center for Arts.  She has been invited to several international poetry festivals.  She secured the Kendriya Sahitya Akademi award for translation for the year 2000. She is one of the three representatives from Asia for the World Poetry Movement, which has 37 foundation members around the world.

Photo ©Joanne Warfield