April 4, 2010


[We have posted below an essay and two poems by  Mahakavi[1] Laxmi Prasad Devakota (November 12, 1909 – September 14, 1959). His Muna Madan, a poetic creation on rustic life, love and struggle against state of privation and lack of necessities, is the most popular publication in Nepal until today. While in the death bed the poet is said to have said,“ except for Muna Madan, you may burn down all my other creations” - giving an impression he himself liked it the most.]

[Translation  by: Manfred C. Teru ]
There is rejoicing in Nepal. The heart extends a loving welcome to the newly arrived guest. As soon as the enchanting countenance of today’s dawn at the edge of the horizon over the eastern ridges became visible, the red-rose colour of blissfulness ascended to the many coloured stretch of scattered clouds, for a second the colour of heaven slightly[making] the earth reddish brown. There was a particular charm in the rosy dawn of today. A distinctive merriment of the heart was lying in today’s sunrise.

The look of love adds wonderment to the beauty nature, the colour of emotion ennobles the world. Sweet waves are rolling in the heart of Nepal. Today there is that thankfulness and delight which occurs when heaven responds on hearing one’s call. By the command of God and through His mercy for His children the earth has acquired youthfulness. We go to plant rice in the hope of a golden harvest: in our hands are the green rice seedlings, in our minds are joyfulness and longing, in our hearts is a light rhythmic quivering, in our throats surge up the sweet songs of our hearts. Today we enter the soft, the swampy fields. Today is the planting of joy in Nepal, today is the fifteenth of Asadhja[2].

In this mainly agricultural country the day of rice planting is a nationwide festival. On this day the magic of life touches the cottages standing squeezed together in different corners [of the country side]. In the twilight of the morning the gladly messenger of Vanaspati[3] raises his voice in the courtyard of the farmhouse. The farmers’ children welcome the morning by clapping their small hands with joy. Blinking his eyes in the pleasant state of waking up to reality. After he noted the agreeable speech, the gentle laughter and the jumping of the young boys, [his] folksong makes them dance for a moment, fervently snapping the fingers of his open, honest hands. The moment, however, the mother of these boys’ lights up her sparkling eyes laughing in an open, innocent way, the preparations for the planting start. The villages and the farmers, who on the other days are engaged in manifold activities, all go dancing, jumping, and singing with mattocks in their hands to every field and plantable space. Taking a fistful of seedlings, the exuberant lasses laugh, singing little songs only, some in a loud, same in a restrained manner, whilst, in between, teasingly looking at each other .. [Read more]

[Translation by: David Ravin]

We are the children of Aurora,
Offspring of Asia's reawakened age,

Sons of the Hiamlayas we crave,

To climb the peaks wreathed with the golden rays.
We are the products of the Buddha's soil

The honey-sweet playmates of Janaki, the flower of our earth,

We are the effulgence of the fingers of Araniko,

And the ripe harvest of Prithvinarayana.

We are the golden dreams of Tribhuvana.

We are Mahendra's garden rich in flowering shrubs,

We are the rivals of the tiger,

And the sentinels of democracy.

We are the still small voice of humanity’s dove,

With the Danphe's prismatic plumes of fancy,

We are the scented breath of the Himalayan flowers that grow

out of the dust of the sages that lie in their long silence.

We are the songsters of the luxuriant wilds

That trill and warble love upon the leafy boughs of the world,

We are the mountain temples, of humanity,

We are the liberal liquefaction of the Himalaya's snow-breast

that nourishes the life of India in network of serpentine rills.

We are the prophetic angels of the east,

That dwell in the dominion of the first sun-beam.

We are the partners of this round home, this terrestrial sphere,

Partaking of a single plate.

We are the worshippers of self sacrifice,

We are the citizens of the world.

[Translation by: David Ravin]

Oh yes, friend ! I'm crazy-
that's just the way I am.
I see sounds, 
I hear sights,
I taste smells,
I touch not heaven but things from the underworld,
things people do not believe exist,
whose shapes the world does not suspect.
Stones I see as flowers,
lying water-smothered by the water's edge,
rocks of tender forms
in the moonlight
when the heavenly sorceress smiles at me,
putting out leaves, softening, glistening,
throbbing, they rise up like mute maniacs,
like flowers, a kind of moon-bird's flowers.
I talk to them the way they talk to me,
a language, friend,
that can't be written or printed or spoken,
can't be understood, can't be heard.
Their language comes in ripples to the moonlit Ganges banks,
ripple by ripple..
Oh yes, friend ! I am crazy-
that's just the way I am.
You're clever, quick with words,
your exact equations are right forever and forever.
But in my arithmetic take one from one...
and there's still one left.
You get along with five senses,
I with a sixth.
You have a brain, friend,
I have a heart.
A rose is just a rose to you...
to me it's Helen and Padmaini.
You are forceful prose,
I liquid verse.
When you freeze I melt,
when you're clear I get muddled
and then it works the other way round.
Your world is solid,
mine vapor,
yours coarse, mine subtle.
You think a stone reality;
harsh cruelty is real for you.
I try to catch a dream,
the way you grasp the rounded truth of cold, sweet coin.
I have the sharpness of the thorn,
You think the hills are mute...
I call them eloquent.
Oh yes, friend !
I'm free in my inebriation-
that's just the way I am. (Read more)

Also in Nepali Poems
A comprehensive collection of Nepali poems of all times @ Sanjaal Corps
[1] Great Poet:  A poet of great  popularity almost like a poet laureate.
[2] Name of the month with which rains of summer monsoon starts
[3] God of plants