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The grinding is half done.
Where are you,
eldest daughter-in-law?
Unmindful of chores
that lie piled up
until nightfall!

“Am I a bonded labourer?
Am I to be sold daily
only for this house?
Work, work and more work!
From morning till night!
Tell me,
is there nothing else
to life?”

Is the life of a woman
meant only for childbirth?
Only for drudgery and fuel?
There is no joy
in holding a pen,
and no pleasure
in its abandonment.

Writing is the greatest
elixir of all.
Whoever has savoured it,
can she escape its lure?
never mind the pitfalls
on the way.

Our life a constant turmoil.
The soul, consumed for ever
with disease and death.
How can there be in all this,
time for poetry?

Today, it’s the son’s health.
And tomorrow, it’s
The daughter’s stomach ailment!
Can there be
amidst all this,
the meeting of pen and ink?

Writing, I know
cannot fetch me
food or clothing.
Nothing in it
to interest the family.
It remains
despite this
my pleasure, my cynosure!

Let people say what they like.
I shall go on flowing.
Like the mighty,
I shall cross
whatever comes my way
with a smile
for ever on my lips.

Writing is the balm
for all my pain.
It’s the glory of my sorrow.
Writing is rain-soaked woods.
It’s the music of cloud bursts
during the month of Shravana!

I wish I could speak of
the joy that gathers in my heart.
Like a flame
in the mouth of storm,
my poetry
A luminous lamp!

(Translation: Sachidananda Mohanty (First published in Kavya Bharati, 1997 and scr :- http://www.odia-classics.org )

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