Tuesday, 9 June 2009

It is about those days - In the Labyrinth, Satyapal Sehgal

The friendly and agreeable Indian poet Satyapal Sehgal was recently in Vienna's Cafe´ Kafka (see below - 1st June) as part of a Scandinavia-Italy-Austria tour. The English translations of several of Sehgal's poems were read with aplomb by Labyrinth's Peter Waugh.
The following work, the translation here gently edited, appealed to Poet-in-Residence's sense of the bardic. It is a fine thing. In the original language it must be beautiful to read. It sounded so.

It is about those days

It is about those days
when each drop of the rising and setting sunshine
would drench with poetry.

It is about those days
when I would observe the man working in the kitchen
looking at the pigeons' eggs.

A glass of water
would sometimes amaze me.

It is about those days.

But these days it is about my desire
to become a town planner
and create a new town.

Or to go around in a rocket
or work on machines
or speak on the screen.

Those days I was songlike
like a tree in the evening
where a thousand birds were chirping.

Those days I was a child
and wanted to remain only that.

Satyapal Sehgal 2009


  1. Those days sound infinitely preferable to these days as far as I can see.

  2. Well the Weaver of Grass has read it rightly, at least to me..

    In a conversation at Cafe Kafka williams took-up an interesting point..first the original poem, than the translation, than the translation of the translated poem back in to the language of the original poem... Than compare the three,,,He opined interesting results can follow...

    Ah, he has really given some good thought-provoking exercise.

    And look here..He has edited a translated poem... the way an Editor edits a poem...he has edited a translation...For me, it is quite a different approach to translation.

    So this youth-ful Poet-in-Residence has ideas about translation....
    Here is a poem and here are thoughts about translation. One can pick-up the both and react to both. One can also react by picking-up both in relation to each other...

  3. Enjoyed reading this poem very much.
    Is it not a painful reflection on the demise of 'coffee houses' in these days?
    R K

  4. Thanks Singh.
    This is an interesting observation. The poem reminds Singh about
    decaying Coffee-House culture, in one of these Cafe's though, poetry was read, ironically. Well, in Vienna, relatively speaking, Coffe-Houses and Cafe's appear still a happening place..to what an extent, only locals can elaborate.
    In India, ofcourse they have lost their old shine, inspite of some new trendy up-market Cafes trying to use the space..

  5. Don't you find those days in these days as well? Maybe the clothes and forms have changed. The souls did not change, did they?

    Tell when you come back to Vienna some time, Satyapal!


  6. Yes Valie....! Souls do not change....!...May be they are lost....May be they wait for another chance....in the routine...bread and butter hustle- bustle of life....much more..

    Happy that you are on poet-in- residence blog....Gwilliam is nice fellow...and writes a blog to my liking...only i fail..to be there ....

    F.U.I i have lost my fb account for the moment.....and miss your pages...hope you are doing well....

    May be i write you...i suppose i have your address...and below is mine...


    And dear Gwilliam...in Hindi the greet like this...Gwilliam ji....! Namste !

  7. Satyapal!

    My email is: kaospilot@monochrom.at


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