Poets

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Amarjit Chandan

Amarjit Chandan was born in 1946 in Nairobi, Kenya, and grew up in Punhab, India, where he attended Punjab University. As a young man, Chandan was imprisoned and spent two years in solitary confinement for his involvement in the Maoist Naxalite movement. He worked as a journalist for various literary and political magazines in India before immigrating to England in 1980.

He is the author of several books of poetry and essays in Punjabi and English, including The Parrot, the Horse and the Man (Arc Publications, 2017) and Sonata for Four Hands (Arc Publications, 2010).

Chandan is the recipient of lifetime achievement awards from the Punjab Languages Department, the Panjabis in Britain All-Party Parliamentary Group, and the Anᾱd Foundation. He lives in London, England.

By This Poet

1

“Chhanna,” the Metal Bowl

 

translated by Sarabjeet Garcha

Clocks books and keepsakes
never tell what the time now is
inside them the clock strikes 11 after 1 
before 1 there’s zero

the flat-bottom metal bowl
balanced on the mantelpiece roils
letting out sounds as if
slipping out of hand a filled cup
has just emptied itself
or as if at midnight a cat
is raking darkness in a kitchen corner
or as if quaffing her thirst Mother
has just set the bowl down

this bowl is older than i
it is filled with memories
like salt dissolved in yogurt milk
Father licks his greased mustache
Mother giggles at something she recalls
from times long past

the cracked bowl is her only heirloom
the chhayapatra hovering in a nook
always holds my mother in the folds
of remembrance