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Poetry in support of Varavara Rao: file faoi ghlas, Gabriel Rosenstock

Irish poet Gabriel Rosenstock has shared the Irish and English translations of his poem in support of imprisoned Indian poet, Varavara Rao. A Greek translation by Sarah Thilykou is also included.

July 20, 2020

Irish poet Gabriel Rosenstock has shared the Irish and English translations of his poem ‘Letter to India’, in support of imprisoned Indian poet, Varavara Rao. A Greek translation by Sarah Thilykou is also included.

Read Scottish PEN’s article ‘Press freedom in India‘, which includes information on Varavara Rao’s case.

LITIR CHUN NA hINDIA (An file Teileagúise Varavara Rao i bpríosún)

A India!

An mbíonn meangadh ar bhéal an bhandé Saraswati

Nuair a chuireann tú do chuid filí i bpríosún

Speabhraídí orthu, buailte ag an gCóivid,

Ina suí i lochán fuail?

A India!

An sásta atá Saraswati?

       A Varavara Rao, seolaim chugat na briathra seo

       Is mé ag súil go lonróidís

        Ina ndeannach scaipthe

        A mbéarfaidh ga gréine orthu –

A India! An ligeann tú do sholas na camhaoire

Teacht isteach ina chillín gan cuardach a dhéanamh air

Nó solas na gealaí

Nó na réaltaí i gcéin?

A India!

Éagann meangadh beannaitheach Saraswati

Ar a béal

Letter to India (On the imprisonment of Telugu-language poet Varavara Rao)

India!

Does the goddess Saraswati smile

When you imprison your poets

When, Covid-stricken, they hallucinate

Sitting in a puddle of urine?

India!

Is Saraswati pleased?

      Varavara Rao, I send you these words

      That they might glow

      Like scattered motes of dust

      Caught in fleeting sunshine –

Oh, India! Do you allow

The light of dawn to enter his cell without being     searched

Or the light of the moon

Or distant stars?

India!

Saraswati’s beatific smile

Is fading on her lips.

Download a Greek translation by Sarah Thilykou here.

Sarah Thilykou is a poet, editor and translator from Thessaloniki, Greece.