Panyala Jagannath Das

Four poems in English translation

It's Like That
Won't You Excuse Me

Biographical note   


It's Like That

Some sentences are like that
Like losing the aim
when aiming weapons.

Some dreams are like that
Like crossing the tracks
of the train leaving the station.


Poets are like that
Having faith in dreams
creating oceans and storms
on paper.
Throwing one or two slogans
into the wind


The State is like that
It may pass a bill
banning the movement of the wind



It's not the dark and dangerous night.
It's not the burning summer noon.
It's an indecisive evening, pendulum-like.

It's not the word that creates sensation.
It's not the empty paper that lies in silence.
It's a memory, the touch of a tear absorbed,
an island.


It may be poetry,
it may be dreams on the march,
a journey reaching its point of departure.
The first words of a love letter
remembered at its conclusion
by signature.


It's not the frozen stillness of ice.
It's not the melting of mountains.
It's the torture of a torch suspended
before conclusion.


It's not the world roamed on the Web.
It's not the movement of fingers on a keyboard
come to a stop.
It's a situation like the blackening screen
after turning the computer off.



Clouds gather in the sky
like prohibited memories.
Like the sword of darkness
cutting the moon
every cry of a soldier fallen
in the rain of bullets
roars: war.


Lies stuffed in gun barrels
become banners in the news,
convenient murders legalized.


The double tongue of law
we're not to question.
But blind government
has a nightmare
a million voices chanting
the song of resistance.


Won't You Excuse Me

Time won't expire time after time.
The monitor cannot display
the contents of a virus-infected disk.


Moon, oh Moon.
Won't you excuse me
for ignoring your light
as I was passing through the streets.


Letting days go by
before recognizing
dawn and dusk,
spring shedding leaves
like autumn.


Moon, oh Moon.
Won't you excuse me
for ignoring
the glittering stars around you
as I was busy
gathering words
in a sleepless night.


English translation by Panyala Jagannath Das, with some minor revision by Johannes Beilharz


Panyala Jagannath Das, born in 1975, is a poet and reporter who lives in the state of Orissa, India, and writes in Telugu. He holds an honors degree in Commerce and a postgraduate degree in Telugu Literature from Berhampur University. He currently works for the EENADU Daily Newspaper. His poems have appeared in several magazines and have been broadcast by All India Radio, Hyderabad.



2003 by Panyala Jagannath Das. Published by kind permission of Panyala Jagannath Das.

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