Savita Singh – WE Eunice de Souza Poetry Award ’20 (Hindi)

She Set Out One Day

(Translation - Medha Singh)

How trees finish shedding, after a time
is how a snake shrugs off its scales
similarly, the spirit unclothes a previous being

easily, this sad soul, she rid herself
of the old touch, of the body itself

all had renewed, swiftly
no guilt no regret none sprang

She dried her long hair for a long while
in the sun, one day

one day, she set out, passing
through mustard fields, all 
the way up till the old lake

Upon returning, she sang her favourite song, for hours -
she continued on reading Mahadevi, one day;
on another, she went to meet her mother and to meet
several others she hadn’t the chance to, in a while

One night, returning late after an evening show 
having eaten a meal made of quotidian things
she made herself a cup of Darjeeling tea, and till dawn 
she heard the singing of Kundanlal Sehgal, of Malka Pukhraj

A body was content, after such a long time,
and with the premonition of total contentment.

Night, Sleep, Dreams, Woman

It's in sleep that sensation
hides, that sensation  womanhood
that the night feels about, cast
over the earth   this shadow that resides in it
is the shadow of that sensation    lemon blossoms
beneath it, blossom  Champa buds are born

In sleep somewhere is beauty
attached to it: a woman
Somewhere, she augments death
razes a violent machoness
to the ground, knocking over
some beastly thing, she's governing all
with gathered feeling

In the night, woman is sleep
and in the day: beauty
night awakens in sleep
as woman watches on 
in the night                     she's swaying

atop the deepest 
 intuition, borne 
of experience, of being
in concupiscent dreams.

For The Real / True Poem

(Translation - Medha singh)

She who carries the basket
of her own flesh on her crown

she who only opens toward darkness
singularly, after a good thrashing     opens
like a door

The way my nights are stolen
by her, falling as my own image does
all nights meander along their paths
to such limits                  losing themselves
in poetic alleyways I cannot fathom

or exiting into fields where the breeze just
flows, as if                           nowhere else, 

abandoning all stations of torture and love
quickly, quickly

one has to see
where I still  myself, today
where I’m planted like a banderole

History utters: woman never wrote
her own diegesis, suffering

She only lived out that super-sorrow.

Stars changing in slumber
     all the endurance of our civilities
              Sacrifice congealed as rock

I’ll keep my eye on those who carted
Their burdens as though another’s
beaten, beaten to unveil the secret
of this dark, who bit off from my nights
So poetry made possible how and when
they return                     to their bodies

for a sincere face-off, how they calm
their spirits, those who have trembled
thus       for holy approval

So except the lust for the real and true
poem, there remains nothing
to harry them.

I Am The House Of Stars

Translation : Lucy Rosenstein

Who knows how many stars 
Fall into my eyes; their dazzling light,
scorching heat
extinguished in my eyes,
Come to die, like people,
In the vast radiant house I’ve become

Each and every night
A star descends in me
Its bright light dies;
Its great heat disappears
Each and every night


Translation : Lucy Rosenstein

To call a path mine
A forgotten joy-happiness
To rest in someone’s sleep,
To wake up in the arms of a sweet dream—
This is my desire tonight

But as it draws to a close
Will this path remain kindled?
Joy’s hope melted in memory
Sleep’s charm spread in each pore
Two eyes like a pair of swan
Afloat in my dream?

Savita Singh is a political theorist and a feminist poet from Delhi. She writes in Hindi and English and has three collections to her name, Apne Jaisa Jeevan (2001, Rajkamal Prakashan), Neend Thi Aur Raat Thi (2005, Rajkamal Prakashan), Swapna Samay (2013, Rajkamal Prakashan). She has a collection of fifty poems, Nayi Sadi Ke liye Pachas Kavitayen (2012, Vani Prakashan), a collection of assorted poems in French, Je Suis La Maison Des Etoiles (Dastaan, 2008), and a collection of selected poems in Odia translation,  Jeur rasta mora nijara  (2013, Timepass Publication). She co-edited  an anthology in the world women genre, Jeur rasta mora, Leaves, One Autumn (2011, Rajkamal Prakashan). Her poetry has also been translated into German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and Catalonian, among others. She has a collection of poems translated into Odia, 

Savita Singh was  Academy Award (2017), Raza Foundation Award (2006), Mahadevi Varma Award (2016) and WEEunice De Souza Award for poetry (Languages) (2020). Her poetry is widely featured in national and international journals.