Three Poems of Pash


Translated from Punjabi

by Rajesh Kumar Sharma






I have never desired

the wind to sway to beats on Vividh Bharati

and play

- away from my view - 

hide and seek with silk-soft curtains


I have never desired

tinted lights to filter through the glass pane and kiss

my songs on their lips


Whenever I have dreamed

I have seen myself console a weeping city


I have seen cities multiplying against villages


And I have watched

folded worker hands

closing into fists


I have never longed for cushions on a car seat


My dreams have never wandered

beyond the borders of a rickshaw puller’s

sleeping on a board outside some shop

and craving a bidi’s draught


How can I desire the wind to sway

to beats on Vividh Bharati?


I watch fodder crops burnt by scorching winds


How can I think of sweet luscious eyes

when I see lightless eyes raised towards heaven

and begging for rain?



Trans. on 26 September 2009






From Cards


(Cardan Ton)



I am acquainted with the sand-built wall

of venerable customs


Scolded by parents

I will not cry


When I surrender myself to your embrace

your memory so fills the mists of sensation

I cannot read any news

against me


I know the old coppers with holes in them

are current no longer

and yet, like relics of the dead,

they have gone, leaving their conspiracies behind


And man remains as small as he looks

through the old copper’s hole.


Trans. on 26 September 2009





Out of One’s Insecurity

(Apni Asurakhya Chon)


If the country’s security means

that one must murder conscience

as a precondition to live

that every word other than ‘yes’ looking out of your eye

must seem indecent

that the mind must bow in humiliating submission

to a depraved time --

we then stand in danger of the country’s security



We had thought the country to be something sacred

like one’s home,

free from any sultriness,

a place

where man moves like the sound of falling rain in streets,

where he sways like stalks of wheat in fields

and grants meaning

to the magnanimous vastness of the skies


We had thought the country to be some experience

like an embrace


We had thought the country to be some intoxication

like work


But if the country is a factory

for exploitation of the soul

if it is a laboratory

to produce morons --

we then stand in danger of this country


If the peace of the country only means

that we should break and crumble

like stones rolling down mountains

that the unashamed laughter of prices should for ever spit

on the face of earnings

that bathing in one’s own blood should be

the only holy virtue earned --

we then stand in danger of the peace


If the country’s security means

that strikes must be crushed to dye the peace in deeper hues

that the only martyrdom should be the one attained on borders

that the only art should be which blossoms on the ruler’s windowpane

that the only wisdom should be which waters the land from the authority’s well

that the only labour should be which sweeps the floors of royal palaces --

we stand then in danger of the country’s peace.


Trans. on 26 September 2009


 Translated by

Rajesh Kumar Sharma

Department of English

Punjabi University, Patiala – 147002