Colossal Death (of a tree)- A Poem by Ramesh Prem – Nakul Vāc Translation

The fallen tree on the road
the village gathers and tows-
Who knows its age?

Written with a quill
fashioned from the sharpened shaft
Of a molted feather of
A bird, that sat and fluffed
on its branch in a day of time,
That poem-
Will it know the bird’s age?

To fall as seed, shake off mud
and wake as a bud with green eyelids
between which
fell and shattered
That first drop-
Would it have known the tree’s age?

Wonder of the seed burgeoning into a forest
That dense tree-
The town gathers and tows
on the tar road.

From its long line of descendants
who have nested there for ages,
Tomorrow
If it were to come and see the vacant space
and be disappointed,
That present day heir-
With what shall it find its bearings
and make sense of its history?

Wandering all over through the bird’s memory,
Pouring its inner being into space
through its wings,
Growing self sufficient unto itself-
This tree, now a self-decorated bier
the village gathers and tows.

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