Away & To Dream To Speak: Translations from Ananda Devi

Away

Descendant of Atreus. Or stateless. Or Atlantis. They tell me that I was from here or from there that my ancestors left a place full of nothings to make an island of me

but I became a continent

That moment – Ocean knotted to the Ganges of my veins by an idyllic geography; and out of wise sophistry my thought unfurls

Then in my body a rhythm of sands wakes up or a Merina dance strewn with red laughs

I know, I am that and so much more and you who think I am centered in the frame like a retouched photograph: forget your assumptions

Descendant of Atreus for the cold hopelessness, stateless for my stone etched with lines from another place, Atlantis for my hidden shores, why always ask the question of identity?

I am.

 

To Dream To Speak

In the gray, threats spread like an oil. Echoes of steps on hopeless little alleys. Ringing of bells like a report: the island vanishes, dissolves, becomes frayed. Its transparent face –graceful folds of mist – fades. I’m no longer the same. I’ve left the present.

*

Here and there at the same time. Everything that’s unexplored in the unrestraint of our longings. Follow a path made of weaknesses and desperation, exhaust the soul like a hand that’s too tense, that’s turned to a pale ghost, the transparent flesh of a fantasy. The streaks of time on my face resemble nimble fingers of shade that outline the light. A game on the rainy surface, a crest of asphalt lifted up by heat or the sea’s frenzy – this Time which you measure, the countdown begun, you open it like a book to the first page, and there, you see it: there’s nothing written.

*

I open my mouth to the salt of the sea. It enters with gentle breaths of wind, gulps of heaviness, I swallow it. I am salt. It devours me. It leaves strange cuts in my flesh, like someone cutting notches in a tree. The burn is full. I love the smell and the sound and the taste of salt. Its bitter substance, its insolence. Inside it bleeds me out, then cauterizes the wound.