Descend – Little Hesitant Steps

via Daily Prompt: Descend


தயங்கித் தயங்கி

அம்மாவின் கை பிடித்து
மெதுவாகப் படி இறங்குகிறது
சீராகப் போய்க் கொண்டிருந்த
சற்று தயங்கித் தயங்கி

-முகுந்த் நாகராஜன்

It seems next to impossible to translate a Tamil poem into English. The moment you try to translate one, everything good about it—structure, rhetoric, syntactic suspense, you name it—goes for a toss. And then it takes enormous, painful compromises on the translator’s part just to make the poem intelligible in English; forget doing justice to the original. And yet, I’m making this reckless attempt at translating the above poem with due apologies to Mukundh Nagarajan.  (This is the first draft.)

Little, hesitant steps

A little kid
holding her mother’s hand
descends the staircase slowly.
The Arrow of
lurches forward
in little, hesitant steps.


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