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Hingkho Eekho 1: Ibopishak

A series of Manipuri poems from eminent poets based in the Imphal valley, translated to English. The first set is from the poems by Thangjam Ibopishak



I’m the Dead Man
Poem: Eini Siriba Nipa Ase; Book: Meegi Manam, 2000
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When I saw my neighbour
When he was building a big, tall house
I told my other neighbours
I’ll build a bigger, taller house
It could have ten storeys and that I can do
But it’s not—it’s only because I refuse it
The thieves have got everything
Are they not ashamed before their wives?
Stealing and building and making bloody lives.

When I saw one of my friends driving a car
I would tell another friend
I’ll buy a car, a bigger car
But it’s not—it’s only because I refuse it
Oh! How these rich prigs are picking people’s pockets
And ever they carry on stealing, robbing, no matter what
And no matter whom: No mothers, no sisters, no one
Whenever there is money, they never stop
They will fuck and be fucked; it’s all set
Shamelessness is their birth right.

Once an obituary arrived uninvited
This was for a noted Manipuri
He had written as many books
As much as the bucks he had
No wonder the people hold him high
But then once we came across his obituary
In a Manipuri newspaper in Manipur

Then I told the strangers from beyond my locality
They didn’t know me, still I told them:
See the dead man, and see it’s me
I’m the dead man;
And the bastards should have died long ago
And I had been buying rice
And I had been living on rice.




Letter Box
Poem: Letter Box; Book: Meegi Manam, 2000
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The big benevolent box
The mystery, the secrecy, it holds cautiously
It will give away everything
Getting, keeping nothing for itself


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Coming up

Laishram Samarendra Shribiren Yumlembam Ibomcha Khwairakpam Chaoba etc etc.

Translation series
Songs, poems and essays translated from my native language, Meiteilon.
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