Treasure Island

Aniruddha Pathak

(25.05.1941 / Godhra - Gujarat)

O Singer of the epic war history


O Singer of the epic war history,
O Singer of life and liberation hoary,
Of brazen battlefields, long desolate,
O Singer of Gita’s ageless glory.

Outlived hast the song thine endless story,
The dead heroes surviving still in state,
Frustrated of ill fate but scarce sorry,
O Singer of the epic war history.

Yudhishthir’s dharma, Arjun’s archery,
Bheeshma’s oath, Bheemsen’s bravery,
Confined does scarce remain to Pearly Gate,
And sung are with Gita’s ageless glory.

And ye O bard, two roles in one carry:
Poet laureate, progenitor so great,
O thou born in a river ferry,
O Singer of the epic war history.

Ye sang thine epic in such swell flurry,
The god of wisdom1, not inadequate,
Lost in deep thought felt often weary,
O Singer of ancient ageless glory,

Not mine lone, any pen-pusher’s worry
It is to try even to translate2,
O Singer of the epic war history,
O Singer of ancient ageless glory.
_______________________________________ _____________________
1. The story goes that Vyasa, the creator of Mahabharata,
approached Lord Ganesha, the god of wisdom to help him. He was
the only one who could have taken down what Vyasa narrated with
great speed and spontaneity. He however warned the poet to sing
in a fast tempo or else he would walk away if made to wait. Vyasa,
reflecting upon this condition also put in a counter condition: Don’t
take anything down without understanding its meaning. Vyasa
included some most complicated verses that required deliberation,
and time to understand, giving him time to think of the next.

2. I have translated the epic (Mahabharata: Life and Liberation) in three
parts in a poetic interpretation, covering some 1500 verses, along
with elaborate contexts; and I know how difficult it is to encompass
hundred thousand verses in a sample.

This is a Villanelle— a bit way out. The tercet, that normally becomes a
quatrain only in the last stanza, becomes one in all. Also, the first and
the third lines of the first stanza are repeated with some modifications.
_____________________________________________ _________________________
- Villanelle | 02.10.11 |

Submitted: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Edited: Thursday, November 28, 2013

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