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Poetry

Night

By Sulochana Manandhar
Translated from Nepali by Muna Gurung
My inheritance, / my birthright.

Elusive Night

Knowledge was born from night’s womb,
And from the same womb was light born

This elusive night
Stretching into a protracted darkness

What, still,
Will it bring to life?

Possession

Night—
My inheritance, my birthright

Should I cover myself in it or lie on it?
Should I turn it into a mirror or a meadow?
Should I safeguard it in my heart or scatter it?
Should I lose myself in its embrace
Or play with it till I’m sated?

Night is my liberated land!
I have no fear that anyone will claim it

Lacking a deed
It can never belong to another

Night is the realm of my freedom
My one true possession is night

Night’s Footprints

To hear its footprints
Sink into night
Don’t make a sound
Lest it startle!

Divided Night

Broken into segments
Night is a lifetime

Even a single night
Reveals itself in distinct divisions

Sometimes in deep sleep
Sometimes in a dream
Sometimes
In an insomniac vision

Here, night shimmers like a Golden Age
And there, like an Age of Destruction

Night’s Protest

Night rolls like a wave
Leaves the shore and moves further and further
I draw it back to keep it within reach
But it surges away, breaking through the shore
Protesting!
Could morning be its purpose?

© Sulochana Manandhar. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2014 by Muna Gurung. All rights reserved.

English

Elusive Night

Knowledge was born from night’s womb,
And from the same womb was light born

This elusive night
Stretching into a protracted darkness

What, still,
Will it bring to life?

Possession

Night—
My inheritance, my birthright

Should I cover myself in it or lie on it?
Should I turn it into a mirror or a meadow?
Should I safeguard it in my heart or scatter it?
Should I lose myself in its embrace
Or play with it till I’m sated?

Night is my liberated land!
I have no fear that anyone will claim it

Lacking a deed
It can never belong to another

Night is the realm of my freedom
My one true possession is night

Night’s Footprints

To hear its footprints
Sink into night
Don’t make a sound
Lest it startle!

Divided Night

Broken into segments
Night is a lifetime

Even a single night
Reveals itself in distinct divisions

Sometimes in deep sleep
Sometimes in a dream
Sometimes
In an insomniac vision

Here, night shimmers like a Golden Age
And there, like an Age of Destruction

Night’s Protest

Night rolls like a wave
Leaves the shore and moves further and further
I draw it back to keep it within reach
But it surges away, breaking through the shore
Protesting!
Could morning be its purpose?

© Sulochana Manandhar. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2014 by Muna Gurung. All rights reserved.

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