Nepali Times
Literature
The interior world of Avinash Shrestha

MANJUSHREE THAPA


Avinash Shrestha writes some of the most interior, emotionally charged poetry being written today by any male poet. Eschewing the righteous, sometimes bombastic social critiques of many of his peers, Shrestha writes intimately of the experience of fear, passion and desire. In the poems below he offers us the singular lyricism and physicality of his language.

LETTER TO A FRIEND FROM YOUTH

Neelpawan! Don't you remember?
On the path that dipped lower and lower
we too were lowering and
stopping and resting along with us
the sun and the day also lowered behind
the mugwort and raspberry scrubs
Neelpawan! Don't you remember?

Placing life on a dare like the trickster
swaying back and forth on a tightrope
the sun swayed back and forth above us
for many days for invisible ages
But time won't change us as it will that trickster
whose end will surely come diseased, unsheltered
on some dirty sidewalk

Neelpawan! Don't you remember?
We'd collected enough dreams
to last our days of youth Phantasms of old age
disease and hunger come by to haunt me now
We'd never thought of such things before
Don't tease me Neelpawan, saying I suffer
an attachment to Buddhahood Don't tease me
My illusions of Siddhartha are dear to me
My home, son Rahul and companion Yashodhara
are dear to me I will cast aside these fantasies
I will work to make a foundation on
the path between attachment and detachment

Neelpawan! Don't you remember?
That day we felt terrified, seeing the trickster
If you don't recall-do try to remember
You'll find the will to live like a human being

This is, it seems, our only enlightenment


INATTENTIVENESS

The ten chariots of direction have halted
The morning maidens have tucked off their covers of mist

The pebbles of their chuckles shower upon
the lake of my inattentiveness Ah!
The restless girls of spring-

Horses tied to the tree in the windy season
A foreign word in the midst of language
Unknown guests who have entered the house

A champagne bottle a hundred years older than I
Foreign friends playing polo on fields of aristocratic chatter
The face of the sad afternoon like a whore
The lazy wind tempted to whisper rumors in our ears

Today I'm well like the pine tree lost
in the ancient darkness outside It's enough
I'll shut the window that looks out onto memory
I'll draw closed the curtains of drowsiness
as I lie down to sleep

In addition to being a poet and playwright, Shrestha edits the Royal Nepal Academy's literary magazine, Samakalin Sahitya.


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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