The Kannada poem’s Recitation:
Then – Now (ಅಂದು – ಇಂದು)
That day to place upon your feet
I brought a fragrant flower;
reserved for you, I did not smell –
my desire remained in cover.
Desire’s worm stuck to the flower,
it sucked the fragrance out;
no sooner did I place the flower –
it wilted in and out!
Today too I brought a flower
to place upon your feet;
once again I felt the need
to smell the fragrance sweet!
No sooner did I feel this way
I smelt it then and there;
then in joy I placed the flower –
whose heady fragrance is now everywhere!
Recitation of the English translation:
(Translated by Madhav Ajjampur)
Poem Details: From the collection “ಉಯ್ಯಾಲೆ”, first published in 1938.
I don’t know that there’s too much to say about this poem. As far as I can tell, it’s a poem from Bendre’s “early period”. It seems to me that the poem’s delicate ಭಾವ (bhāva: ~ spirit; feeling) is its most notable quality.
However — I think it may be interesting to read this poem and compare it with a poem by one of English literature’s (and England’s) few visionaries, the exceptional poet-painter William Blake (1757–1827). I am not going to attempt the comparative analysis, but I invite any of you reading this to do so if you’d like to. On my part, it seems as if a “kinship” – whether strange, paradoxical, opposing, or something else – exists between the two poems. This idea of “kinship” struck me just a few days ago, as I was readying to publish the translation above (many months after I’d actually finished with it). In any case, here is Blake’s poem in its entirety.
(If any of you actually does a comparative analysis or has anything to say about either poem or disagrees with my opinion about the two poems’ kinship, please feel to comment upon this post or write directly to me at email@example.com. I’d be very happy to hear from you.)
The Poison Tree (William Blake)
I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe;
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I water’d it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright;
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,
And into my garden stole
When the night had veil’d the pole.
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch’d beneath the tree.
If you have enjoyed this translation and the recitations, I hope you will consider buying my recently-released book (!) of English translations of selected Bendre poems. The book is titled The Pollen Waits On Tiptoe. If you are living in India, you can buy the book by going to this page.
THREE IMPORTANT MATTERS:
1. If you are living abroad, you will, unfortunately, not be allowed to buy the book on Amazon India. Therefore, if you would like one or more copies of the book, please write directly to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your details.
2. Buying 10 or more books will entitle you an overall discount of 30%. To avail yourself of this discount, contact MUP directly at email@example.com.
3. The book is also available as an ebook. The app hosting the ebook is called VIVIDLIPI and the book can be purchased at this link. (Since the publisher does not have an agreement with Amazon, I am afraid the book is not available on Kindle.)