भिंत खचली कलथून खांब गेला
जुनी पडकी उद्ध्वस्त धर्मशाला
तिच्या कौलारी बसुनि पारवा तो
खिन्न नीरस एकांतगीत गातो

सूर्य मध्यान्ही उभा राहे
घार मंडळ त्याभवती घालताहे
पक्षी पानांच्या शांत सावल्यांत
सुखे साखरझोपेत पेंगतात.

तुला नाही परि हौस उडायाची
गोड हिरव्या झुबक्यात दडायाची
उष्ण झळ्या बाहेर तापतात
गीतनिद्रा तव आंत अखंडित

चित्त किंवा तव कोवळ्या विखारे
दुखतेखुपते का सांग सांग बा रे
तुला काही जगतात नको मान
गोड गावे मग भान हे कुठून

झोप सौख्यानंदात मानवाची
पुरी क्षणही कोठून टिकायाची
दुःखनिद्रे निद्रिस्त बुध्दराज
करूणगीते घुमवीत जगी आज.

दुःखनिद्रा ती आज तुला लागे
तुझे जगही निद्रिस्त तुझ्या संगे
फिरे माझ्या जगतात उष्ण वारे
तुला त्याचे भानही नसे बा रे.

- बालकवी

I don't exactly remember when and in which class this poem was part of a syllabus for Marathi but surprisingly despite of its eclipsed mood, it brings out the most cherished memories of those years. During that age I am sure I wasn't capable to understand this dark, scorching piece of poetry, perhaps I never had time to understand it when our heads were buried in trying to 'impress' the newcomer girl in the class, experimenting with the wonders of our newly discovered physical features and talking about it the next day in school during lunchbreak, planning and playing cricket after the school, figuring out new methodologies on how to surreptitiously sneak out of those samosa, lassi and chinese stalls without having to pay. Now it seems, it wasn't that much about the money, indeed it was something about the high! that sweet high of successful sneak-out! The most amazing young kids you had around yourself during those times, they might not remain the same now in their grown up physical bodies just like that innocent little boy in yourself is lost somewhere in the process of growing up and sometimes unknowingly you might not feel that much of a connection with them now, alas. 

Anyway, coming back to the poem. It's a strange time of my life that I came across this poem once again after all the years[I love saying this phrase like an old man covered with white beard, sitting by the bay, talking about his younger days!]. Here is an unpolished and loose translation of this beautiful composition. How badly I want you to know what it means, how badly my friend.

the wall is damaged and the pillar, collapsed
the old ruined shattered monastery
on the roof of which that bird is sitting
and singing a mournful lonely song

the sun is shining fiercely in the noon
up in the air, a black kite is flying in circles around it
and in the calm shadows of leaves
other birds are enjoying a peaceful siesta

but you don't fancy flying high
neither these cozy green shrubs
a torrid wind is blowing outside
and deep inside, this ceaseless trance of aria

please, please, please, tell me, where the hurt is
you don't want any recognition in the world
so where does such a sweet song comes from?

blissful sleep of the human
how will it last even for a split second?
melancholic morose sleeping Buddha
echoing songs of dejection round and round

that dejection, that gloom, hits you today
your world, drowned in sorrows with you
an arid, scorching wind is storming my life
and how oblivious
my friend, you are about it.

- Balkavi (Tryambak Bapuji Thombre)

Well, the fourth stanza has only three lines translated. Couldn't translate the context in which the first is penned down. but anyway, I hope I didn't damage the sheer beauty of it while trying to translate. This is a precious feeling, rediscovering what went missing years ago.


  1. I started to read it thinking that I would possibly understand it. But gave up after reading some lines. Then I scrolled down (intuitions, maybe) and there it was (in English). :)

  2. The line "please, please, please, tell me, where the hurt is" reminded me of "please, please, please, let me".. :)