Beyond The Beaten Track: Offbeat Poems From Gujarat (Heritage Collection)

On Destroying Old Letters (Jayant Pathak)

Had preserved old letters as priceless treasure:
each page unfolded such feelings and emotions!
Heart’s riches and of mind were poured into every letter.
Of sorrow and joy lay dormant so many moments.

What utterances there were of rapture and pain!
Entire hearts had become envelops of time and place!
Crossed distances and transported here secretly persons
the salt of warm tears and rhapsodic, joyous dance!

Had pressed often these to bosom and read impassioned;
thought ‘These bonds can never even after passing be shattered!’
Had mocked time with many such utterances –
realized today that time’s was the final victory!

The hand watches the torn scraps fluttering
the heart too trembles a whit in mourning
a whit …. only just a bit!

જૂના પત્રોનો નાશ કરતાં (જયંત પાઠક )

પત્રો જૂના અણમૂલ ખજાનો ગણી સાચવેલા,
પાને પાને ઊકલતી કશી લાગણીની ગડીઓ !
વર્ણે વર્ણે વિભવ ઉર ને ચિત્તના ઠાલવેલા,
નાનાંમોટાં સુખદુ:ખ તણી સુપ્ત જેમાં ઘડીઓ.

કેવાં કેવાં વચન પ્રણયાનંદનાં ને વ્યથાનાં :
આખાં હૈયાં પરબીડિયું થૈ કા ને સ્થાન કેરાં
વીંધીને અંતર અહીં સુધી લાવતાં લોક છાનાં
ઊનાં આંસુ તણું લવણ ને લાસ્ય આનંદપ્રેર્યાં !

હૈયે ચાંપી બહુ વખત જેનો કર્યો પાઠ પ્રીતે;
'રે સંબંધો મરણ પછીયે ના છૂટે કોઈ રીતે'
એવાં એવાં વચન વદતાં કાળની ઠેકડીઓ
કીધી; આજે ખબર પડી કે આખરે એ જ જીત્યો !

જૂના પત્રો અહીંતહીં ચીરા ઊડતા જોઈ રહેતો
થોડું કંપે કર, હૃદય થોડું દ્રવે
થોડું.....થોડું જ એ તો !

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This is both a sentimental poem and an unsentimental poem. Moments gone by and treasured; but also torn up and mourned only a little. The ambivalence makes the poem interesting.

About The Author

Jayant Pathak, M.A., Ph.D. (1920 – 2006) was born and brought up in the township of Rajghad in Panchmahal district of East Gujarat. This district is forested and many tribals live there. Its ambience strongly influenced Pathak’s poetry. As a youngster, Pathak was blessed with literary relatives, including particularly, cousin ‘Ushanas’, later another literary luminary. Teacher Pranshankar Bhatt was another influence. He began to write in Gujarati as well as English rhyme. Later, at M.T.B. College in the city of Surat, Professor Godivala took a fancy to him, and during vacations, provided him with dozens of books of English poetry. This made Pathak familiar with Eliot, Auden, Spender, MacNiece, the English Romantic poets and Shakespeare. He also got to know Sanskrit poetry, particularly of Kalidas. Pathak confided once that nature, primitivism, and human roots are the driving forces of his poetry. He liked to probe our roots to understand better who we are. One of his ambitions was to write narrative, dramaturgical poetry. He served as President of Gujarati Sahitya Parishad and of Narmad Sahitya Sabha. He published several volumes of poetry, translations, literary criticism, edited compilations, etc. Among his many awards were the Kumar, Narmad, Ranjitram, and Dhanji Kanji Gold Medals. He also received an award of the Delhi Sahitya Akademi.