Oh yes, friend! I'm crazy-
that's just the way I am.

I see sounds,
I hear sights,
I taste smells,
I touch not heaven but things from the underworld,
things people do not believe exist,
whose shapes the world does not suspect.
Stones I see as flowers
lying water-smoothed by the water's edge,
rocks of tender forms
in the moonlight
when the heavenly sorceress smiles at me,
putting out leaves, softening, glistening,
throbbing, they rise up like mute maniacs,
like flowers, a kind of moon-bird's flowers.
I talk to them the way they talk to me,
a language, friend,
that can't be written or printed or spoken,
can't be understood, can't be heard.
Their language comes in ripples to the moonlit Ganges banks,
ripple by ripple-
oh yes, friend! I'm crazy-
that's just the way I am.

You're clever, quick with words,
your exact equations are right forever and ever.
But in my arithmetic, take one from one-
and there's still one left.
You get along with five senses,
I with a sixth.
You have a brain, friend,
I have a heart.
A rose is just a rose to you-
to me it's Helen and Padmini.
You are forceful prose
I liquid verse.
When you freeze I melt,
When you're clear I get muddled
and then it works the other way around.
Your world is solid,
mine vapor,
yours coarse, mine subtle.
You think a stone reality;
harsh cruelty is real for you.
I try to catch a dream,
the way you grasp the rounded truth of cold, sweet coin.
I have the sharpness of the thorn,
you of gold and diamonds.
You think the hills are mute-
I call them eloquent.
Oh yes, friend!
I'm free in my inebriation-
that's just the way I am.

In the cold of the month of Magh
I sat
warming to the first white heat of the star.
the world called me drifty.
When they saw me staring blankly for seven days
after I came back from the burning ghats
they said I was a spook.
When I saw the first marks of the snows of time
in a beautiful woman's hair
I wept for three days.
When the Buddha touched my soul
they said I was raving.
They called me a lunatic because I danced
when I heard the first spring cuckoo.
One dead-quite moon night
breathless I leapt to my feet,
filled with the pain of destruction.
On that occasion the fools
put me in the stocks,
One day I sang with the storm-
the wise men
sent me off to Ranchi.
Realizing that same day I myself would die
I stretched out on my bed.
A friend came along and pinched me hard
and said, Hey, madman,
your flesh isn't dead yet!
For years these things went on.
I'm crazy, friend-
that's just the way I am.

I called the Navab's wine blood,
the painted whore a corpse,
and the king a pauper.
I attacked Alexander with insults,
and denounced the so-called great souls.
The lowly I have raised on the bridge of praise
to the seventh heaven.
Your learned pandit is my great fool,
your heaven my hell,
your gold my iron,
friend! Your piety my sin.
Where you see yourself as brilliant
I find you a dolt.
Your rise, friend-my decline.
That's the way our values are mixed up,
Your whole world is a hair to me.
Oh yes, friend, I'm moonstruck through and through-
That's just the way I am.

I see the blind man as the people's guide,
the ascetic in his cave a deserter;
those who act in the theater of lies
I see as dark buffoons.
Those who fail I find successful,
and progress only backsliding.
am I squint-eyed,
Or just crazy?
Friend, I'm crazy.
Look at the withered tongues of shameless leaders,
The dance of the whores
At breaking the backbone on the people's rights.
When the sparrow-headed newsprint spreads its black lies
In a web of falsehood
To challenge Reason-the hero in myself-
My cheeks turn red, friend,
red as molten coal.
When simple people drink dark poison with their ears
Thinking it nectar-
and right before my eyes, friend! -
then every hair on my body stands up stiff
as the Gorgon's serpent hair-
every hair on me maddened!
When I see the tiger daring to eat the deer, friend,
or the big fish the little,
then into my rotten bones there comes
the terrible strength of the soul of Dadhichi
and tries to speak, friend,
like the stormy day crashing down from heaven with the lightning.
When man regards a man
as not a man, friend,
then my teeth grind together, all thirty-two,
top and bottom jaws,
like the teeth if Bhimasena.
And then
red with rage my eyeballs rool
round and round, with one sweep
like a lashing flame
taking in this inhuman human world.
My organs leap out of theirs frames-
uproar! Uproar!
my breathing becomes a storm,
my face distorted, my brain on fire, friend!
with a fire like those that burn beneath the sea,
like the fire that devours the forests,
frenzied, friend!
as one who would swallow the wide world raw.
Oh yes, my friend,
the beautiful chakora am I,
destroyer of the ugly,
both tender and cruel,
the bird that steals the heaven's fire,
child of the tempest,
spew of the insane volcano,
terror incarnate.
Oh yes, friend,
my brain is whirling, whirling-
that's just the way I am.

(Translated from original Nepali version)

by Laxmi Prasad Devkota

Comments (8)

This poem can be understood only if we read with our heart. A great creation of the Great poet. Ample use linguistic deviation for generating sense of satire and self-reflection. A successful poem in pointing out the insanity of the earthly people who considered him insane.
Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong POEM AND HARD FOR MY FEBRILE BRAIN
This is not the original version. It is the translated version of Nepali by someone else. LP Devkota himself had written this poem in English. Here it goes. The Lunatic Surely, my friend, insane am I Such is my plight. I visualize sound. I hear the visible. And fragrance I taste. And the ethereal is palpable to me. Those things I touch- Whose existence the world denies, Of whose shape the world is unaware. I see a flower in the stone- when wavelet-softened pebbles on the water's edge, In the moonlight, While the enchantress of heaven is smiling unto me. They exfoliating, mollifying, Glistening and palpitating, Rise before my eyes like tongueless things insane, Like flowers, A variety of moonbirds, I commune with them as they do with me, In such a language, friend, As is never written, nor ever printed, nor ever spoken, Unintelligible, ineffable all. Their language laps the moonlit Ganges shore, Ripple by ripple, Surely, my friend, am I insane, Such is my plight. Clever and eloquent you are! Your formulas are ever running correct. But in my calculations one minus one is always one. You work with your senses five, With the sixth I operate. Brains you have, my friend, But the heart is mine. To you a rose is but a rose, It embodies Helen and Padmini for me. You are strong prose, But I am liquid poetry. You freeze, I melt, You decant when I go muddy. When I am muddled, you are clear. And just the other way about. You have a world of solids, Mine is one of vapour Yours is thick and mine is thin. You take a stone for hard reality, I seek to catch a dream, Just as you try to grab that cold sweet, minted coin's round reality. Mine is a badge of thorns, But yours is one of gold and adamant. You call the mountains mute, But orators do I call them. Surely, my friend, a vein is loose in my brain. I am insane, Such is my plight. In the frigid winter month, I basked in the first white heat of the astral light. They called me crazy. Back from the burning-ghat, Blank-eyed I sat for seven days, They cast their eyes on me and called me one possessed. Shocked by the first streak of frost on a fair lady’s tresses, For a length of three days my sockets filled and rolled. For the Buddha, the enlightened one, touched me in the depths, And they called me one distraught. When I danced to the bursting notes of the harbinger of the spring, They called me one gone crazy. One moonless night, all dead and still, Annihilation choked my soul, And up I jumped upon my feet. And the fools of the world put me in the stocks. I sang with the tempest one day, And the wise-acres of the world dispatched me down to Ranchi. And once when at full stretch I lay upon my bed, As one but dead, A friend of mine pinched me so sharp. And said, Oh mad man, Is thy flesh now dead? Year by year such things did occur, And still, my friend, I am insane, Such is my plight. I have called the Nawab’s wine all blood. And the courtesans all corpses. And the king a pauper. I have denounced Alexander the Great. And I have deprecated the so-called high-souled ones. And the insignificant individual I have raised, Up an ascending arch of praises, Into the seventh heaven. Your highly learned men are my big fools. Your heaven is my hell. Your gold, my iron. Friend, your piety, my sin. Where you feel yourself clever, There, there, I find you a stupid innocent. Your progression is regression to me. Such is the upsetting of values, friend, Your universe to me is but a hair. Surely, my friend, I am absolutely moon-struck, Moon-struck indeed, Such is my plight. I find the blind the people’s pioneers. The cave-penancer do I find a runaway, the deserter of humanity. And those who climb the platform of lies do I declare to be but dancers dark. And I declare the defeated ones the splendid laurelled victors. Advancement is retreat. May be I am a squint Or that I am a crack, friend, Just but a crack. Look at the strumpet-tongues adancing of shameless leadership! At the breaking of the backbones of the people’s rights! When the sparrow-headed bold prints of black lies on the papers, Challenge the hero in me called Reason, With conspiracy false, Then redden hot my cheeks, my friend, And their colour is up. when the unsophisticated folk quaff off black poison with their ears Taking it for ambrosia, And that before my eyes, my friend, Then every hair rises on end, Like the serpent-tresses of the Gorgons, Every one so irritated! When I see the tiger pouncing upon the innocent deer, Or the big fish after the smaller ones, Then even into my corroded bones, my friend, The terrible strength of the soul of Dadhichi- the sage, Enters and seeks utterance. Like a clouded day crashing down to earth in the thunderbolt, When man regards a man as no man, Then gnash my teeth and grind my jaws, set with the two and thirty teeth, Like Bhimsen's teeth, the terror-striking hero's, And then, Rolling round my fury-reddened eyeballs, With an inscrutable sweep, I look at this inhuman human world Like a tongue of fire. The machine parts of my frame jump out of their places, Disordered and disturbed! My breath swells into a storm, Distorted is my face, My brain is in a blaze, Like a wild conflagration. I am infuriated like a forest fire, Frenzied, my friend, As one who would devour the world immense, Surely, my friend, I am the moonbird of the beautiful, The iconoclast of ugliness! The tenderly cruel! The bird that steals the celestial fire! The child of the tempest! I am the wild eruption of a volcano insane! Terror personified! Surely, my friend, I am a whirl-brain, whirl-brain, And such is my plight!
The title is not appropriate, I surmise! Its better if you replace with 'lunatic'!
I found this poem outstanding, fabulous, which is written being faded by friends.
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