Of the Housefly

A translation of Thangjam Ibopishak’s Manipuri poem, Hayingkhongyambi

             Creeping on the faeces-filled chamber pot
             The housefly, she figures out:

—Lord Gobinda is made of dry wood
All the artificial colours
All the man-made matters build him
How he is made out ‘is’ what he is.
Oh! Jesus!
In these days when the machine reigns
What can you do from the crucifix?
What do you want to show?

‘Truth’ is a flower made of paper
Yesterday, with the tidings of truth
It was found—all’s too bare to benefit; life and all

And the housefly, with shits still scattered all across, 
With shits sprinkled on her thorax
Charmed, for a moment she palls in a trance

The Earth’s journey has ceased
In the hellhole, they thrive
The one hundred and eight lotuses*.

        Again the wasted housefly,
        She continues:

—Yes it is
The answer to the ceaseless questions
Of this age, it is
That moment of high and intoxicated, life is. 


*This is related to a shitty Hindu belief, most closely related to the incestuous god, Krishna (/ˈkrɪʃnə/), who had as many names and wives; and subsequently, the ritual of offering the same number of flowers, not necessarily only the lotuses. In our hometown, there is also a more shitty tradition of offering and piggish indulgence of having one hundred and eight different dishes in specific rituals. My two cents: we will be a lot better off if we do away with this Krishna shit and the Ras Lila orgy.

Translated on 4 April 2015
From the anthology Apaiba Thawai
(The Wandering Soul) by Thangjam Ibopishak
Raj Publications; first ed. 1969, second ed. 1997



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