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Of Leaves / Telegraph (Translations)

The following pieces are a translation of Hijam Irabot’s two poems — Oona and Teligraf, from Seidam Seireng — an anthology which was later bought by the Manipur State Durbar circa 1929.

Thangol ado mya thaangngu thouna....He! Lowuuba!

Of Leaves
(Oona)

Once its verdancy was on the eye easy
Such a beauty it was of a grand tree
Now it’s all over so suddenly
    Now amongst the dust it lies with no dignity

Once when you’re young, when you’re strong
When the whole world struggled with the sultry sun
Then you were the saviour; and now you are down on the ground
    Their gratitude is their feet on your face.


Telegraph  (Teligraf)

Telegraph
(Teligraf)

A little bird flew into my room uninvited
It did the best it can: sitting on the table
Even in the blinded room, I can see it was bloody bleeding
Perchance a poacher had hit it with a bullet
Or maybe it had just fled from a trap
And it was shedding tears, which again I saw, was incessant

A newly wed couple was having the time of their lives
Teasing each other, laughing, playing, over an ocean of love
Always young were their nights

In the field where the blood gushed through the canals
In the land where the people’s sweat muddied the earth
Battles had been fought many a time

Fighting, killing for the victor’s throne

Inside the garden of our guilds
Such matchless beauties
Of colourful flowers and ripened fruits
Of yesterdays, those had merged and vanished into the air
Of the spaces those had left for fresher flowers and fruits

What hath this little bird not seen?
Whom hath it not met?


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Read more translated Manipuri poems, lyrics and prose on this blog.

Note: Lamyanba Hijam Irabot (1896–1951) was one of the first revolutionaries in our modern history. He was a leader, writer, thinker, thespian and an activist*. (Activist: A term which has been hijacked and redefined by aspiring politicians and other assholes in our generation.)

Read the stories of the revolutionary:

Irabot, the lone champion of the mass
by Yenning, The Sangai Express 

Was Irabot in favour of complete independence?
by  Sanatomba Kangujam, E-pao.net

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