Death and Me
A translation of Yumlembam Ibomcha’s Manipuri poem, Ei Amasoong Asiba
In the early morning
In the mid noon
In the middle of the night
It stands before me oftentimes
The Death wiggles
In the busy bazaar, i¬n the fish markets, in the shops
The Death stomps all over the places
The Death meets his friends
The Death talks and he laughs in all over the places.
The Death’s doings
I’d smile at him
And he smiles as well looking at me.
And I ask him who he is
And he asks who I am
And he smiles again at me.
It’s amusing to see the Death’s doings
What he does
How he eats
Where he goes.
The Death stands before me oftentimes
But I wouldn’t like him sometimes
I tell him:
You are dead
You live no more
You have no face
You have no soul
You have to go
You have to go away.
It’s a disaster
Death comes out from the death
Darkness comes out from the darkness.
Now the Death is walking in front of me
Like I walk, like you walk, ordinarily
I cannot help but smile looking at him
Then it stands before me
Now it stands before me—he dares stand boldly.
His look becomes clearer
His face, his eyes, his nose, his teeth, his hands, his legs
His whole body—his lineaments
The farce has reached its climax
The Death is me; me, myself
But I don’t move and I don’t walk
And I never move on.
Translated on 3 April 2015
From the anthology
Rajkumari Amasoong Uchek Machasing
(Rajkumari and the Little Birds) by Yumlembam Ibomcha
VI Publications, First ed. 1992