What shall I say to You, Sankari?

by Mahendranath Battacharya

English version by Rachel Fell McDermott
Original Language Bengali

What shall I say to You, Sankari?
I am speechless at Your behavior.
You play the part of the World-Mother,
but Your son has no clothes. Worse,
You dance on that corpse Siva
engrossed in Your own thoughts,
I have so many sad things to say:
my Mother is the Queen of the Universe,
but me She has made a coolie
bearing loads in the
meaningless marketplace of the world.
You may not be ashamed of this,
but I am dying of shame.

Premik says, This naked Mother of mine
ruins me through shame.
You have given me so much pain, Ma,
but still I forget it all,
still I call You: "Ma Ma!"
Where else shall I stand?
I'll stop all this sulking, just listen, Ma, Mountain's Daughter:
if I can die with "Kali!" on my lips,
I'll split the brahmarandhra
and be free.

-- from Singing to the Goddess: Poems to Kali and Uma from Bengal, Translated by Rachel Fell McDermott

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