There are times – say, when I am lost in the assonance, elaborate conceits, imagery and music of his poetry – when I truly believe that Shri Bendre may be one of the greatest lyric poets to have lived. More than anything else, these translations are attempts to capture some of that magic in the language I know best.

Note: The translations are not wholly literal. To begin with, English being a non-phonetic language finds it hard to approach the (rhythmic) musicality of a phonetic language like Kannada. As though that was not enough, Bendre’s magical feeling for ನಾದ (euphony) made his poetry abound in both alliteration and rhyme, two essentially intangible untranslatables. Consequently, there are times when I have eschewed a literal translation (of a line or stanza even) for a transcreation that gets closer to the music of the original – without doing violence to the spirit of the original.

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