Sunday, 2 December 2012

Uncle Mohan Singh

`Uncle Mohan Singh` is a poem by Amarjit Chandan. At his workshop in Hebden Bridge, participants were invited to re-interpret the literal and poetic translations of this beautiful work about the first screening of a silent film in Nakodar. Below is my interpretation. Please find originals and other delightful works at

1930s Nakodar
Where innocent pupils await dilated fate
To re-focus, re-see
As the waxed woven canvas of night melts the world
It suffocates daylight
And brings forth a dreamtime
A magical square
A single cell that dances
A dance that resembles sleep or death
Are we dying, are we dreaming
to the charms of Uncle Mohan Singh?

The dance of his fingers...
The dance of his bones...
Is his rhythm an allure...
a tender trap for fools
Like the trickery of nymphs in the night?

Dare we be seduced by the mute square
That is still like a stuffed bird
Dead, yet beautiful with a square fire in its vacant eye
Flickering across the flowers of caged vitality
That erupt and blossom with tremendous control

We are all now paralysed in animation
A joyful collapse of surprise
An exquisite death of the present jasmine`s bloom
This blossom unfurls its scent with unscented falling petals
Petals that wilt not with each invisible phrase from Uncle Mohan Singh
The rose in their cheeks dilates in surrender.

As Birds of Paradise fly against the heady sands,
The misty flowers of time and music die.

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