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Poetry

Spring

By Nga Ba
Translated from Burmese by ko ko thett
In this witness poem from the anthology Picking Off New Shoots Will Not Stop the Spring, Burmese poet Nga Ba finds that repression always leads to resistance.
Two swallows in flight
Photo by Julian on Unsplash

This poem is part of a series produced via a partnership with the George Town Literary Festival, an annual literary festival taking place this year between November 24 and 27 in George Town, Penang, Malaysia.

 

Spring, seized,
turned into swallows.

Swallows, caged,
turned into clamors.

Clamors, silenced,
turned into scenery.

Scenery, covered up,
turned into eyes.

Eyes, forced shut,
turned into dreams.

Dreams, denied,
turned into maps.

Maps, destroyed,
turned into memories.

Memories, deleted,
turned into roads.

Roads, blockaded,
turned into ancillary legs.

Legs, smashed,
turned into wings.

Wings, clipped,
turned into breeze.

Breeze, detained,
turned into storm.

Storm, imprisoned,
spawned a million offspring.

Those offspring are our
inbreath & outbreath—

swallows in & out of
our nostrils—

our spring


From the anthology
Picking Off New Shoots Will Not Stop the Spring. © Nga Ba. Translation © 2022 ko ko thett. By arrangement with the editor. All rights reserved. 

English

This poem is part of a series produced via a partnership with the George Town Literary Festival, an annual literary festival taking place this year between November 24 and 27 in George Town, Penang, Malaysia.

 

Spring, seized,
turned into swallows.

Swallows, caged,
turned into clamors.

Clamors, silenced,
turned into scenery.

Scenery, covered up,
turned into eyes.

Eyes, forced shut,
turned into dreams.

Dreams, denied,
turned into maps.

Maps, destroyed,
turned into memories.

Memories, deleted,
turned into roads.

Roads, blockaded,
turned into ancillary legs.

Legs, smashed,
turned into wings.

Wings, clipped,
turned into breeze.

Breeze, detained,
turned into storm.

Storm, imprisoned,
spawned a million offspring.

Those offspring are our
inbreath & outbreath—

swallows in & out of
our nostrils—

our spring


From the anthology
Picking Off New Shoots Will Not Stop the Spring. © Nga Ba. Translation © 2022 ko ko thett. By arrangement with the editor. All rights reserved. 

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