Vasant Abaji Dahake
Holding my six-year old daughter’s hand
I watch your screen-stirring presence, laughter, dance and song.
Watch you talk and act rebellious in the face of this life.
I don’t particularly like this life either.
And I’ve now sheathed that dislike.
This is what I keep sensing: through the screen she has smoothly
entered your world, the way you operate smoothly
in enemy territory, and of late I often find myself
in a seat at the theatre,
holding the rusty sheath in my hands.
At times you act for a moment, only for a moment in a way that could
trigger a tremulous remembrance of my generation’s watchwords.
Before me, tomorrow’s generation is mouthing your lines
even before you’ve moved your lips.
As if you were a reaper sure to gather
the first harvest of tomorrow’s generation on your threshing-floor.
When my daughter grieves
at turns in the plot that threaten your life,
my words of solace have the ring
of a reality beyond her grasp.
They are quite pointless, actually.
She pulls herself together in a while
— the way she’ll often have to do in the future;
and you’d have been left far behind by then.
from 'Shubhavartaman', a collection of poems, by Mangesh Kulkarni
Vasant Abaji Dahake is a well-known poet in Marathi. He teaches
at Elphinstone College, Bombay