Lost Angels


By Satish Chander 
It's not just milk
but crores of sins are white too
only, adulterated by a few tears
Glass-eyed swans
tell me about the color of tears, not the portion of water
you're the angels
who slipped off a tipsy heaven
reveling in the waters, you must have slurped the oceans
tell me about the taste of tears
in god's deep embrace
you must have perspired a little
tell me about the scent of tears
I, like the dark cloud
could rain down a flood
on how tears feel
It's not just jasmines
hand-gloves are white too
only, stained by a little blood
Having washed your hands, emperors
before you crown me with thorns
show me a thimbleful of dark blood
you are the serpent kings of the primeval jungle
you must have bitten the dust, where man got hurt
tell me about the taste of the blood that spilled
when you caressed the warrior's back as a whip
the sandalwood trees must have swooned
tell me about the scent of blood
Having ascended the cross
like a throne, I, on the other hand
when asked about the blood
will guide your fingers through the holes in my palms
Not just the seven colors
the four varnas mixed are white too
only, darkened by a little filthiness
Raised by the crumbs of angarajya to a finer varna, O arch sudras
tell me about the color of power
from God's feet to his shoulders
you've climbed, oppressors
manu's dharma in your money purses
hoarded, of course,
tell me about the taste of power
In the scum-laden lake
what springs forth doesn't reflect your face
tell me about the scent of power
I, who you have never considered human
if asked about the feel of power
shall unpeel its skin, to illustrate.

Naren Bedide's translation of Satish Chander's Telugu poem  'Lost Angels'. The poem first appeared on The Shared Mirror 
on August 19, 2011. The original post can be accessed here
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