To your uneventful death, Pacha,
the stones hurled at your demented name,
and the doors closed on your life
it is fitting that none mourn
the face of your memory they slapped;
from booze artist Pacha, to lunatic Pacha.
There are no more tears to shed
in this withered country where they
kill pregnant women and children; its
nipples have long gone dry, and leering
death walks your homeland. And why should
anyone weep for your lonely alcoholic end?
Young boys and soldiers are butchering each
other by the dozen, in the hills, the angry
streets, day after day, and too many heroes
and villains are not worth remembering at all.
Death is callous, Pacha, in the land of your
Consummate madman, unknown comrade,
you were the best of them all;
whether you mapped the geography
of your stricken town, pen dipped
in your drunken blood, or portrayed
old men hard of hearing. Breaking heart
of roots, savage lover no woman would tame,
existential hero and fiercely proud pauper.
You laughed yourself insane in the teeth
of the gathering storm.
Hovel-dweller amidst concrete and iron,
anachronistic mendicant, and embracer of
manuscripts in pounding rain, angry star
which burned in our skies, what were
your dreams? Reveal them a little for me,
anonymous brother. Poetry in your
homeland must die a natural death
when one must “sew up his lips and
clog his ears with mud,” and to be a
man, first of all, you must sell yourself
to the highest bidder.
Immaculate madling with resplendent dreams,
you refused to sell them in your land
where villains strut as the pure in streets.
You only said: “One’s homeland is dear. I
have not seen all of this land. I have not
been able to tread the grass that grows there.”
For a long time the tramps and lunatics
beckoned you, and only they shall
honour your name.
Opmerking dichter: Pacha Meetei(1943-1990), one of the finest Manipuri writers, died at the age of forty-six. Hounded as a drunkard and a madman during his final days, he died in extreme poverty.