Keshab Silwal


This is the rose
that a dictator pins on your chest
and numerous dead bodies line up…

People with guts
target people with shining chests.
This is a medal earned
in the name of serving the nation.

Pin as many medals
you can on this chest…

Diplomacy explodes.
Bullies fire shots in the air in vain
and in the kitchen explode
grenades and spikes…

Having signed a nuclear treaty,
targeting heart of each and everyone,
they would launch a missile..

But sometimes a crumpled corpse rises
with vengeance, its bloodshot eyes
scaring the missile itself…

No matter how strong an armed human being,
a disarmed one can also scare a gun.
This isn’t a bullet.
It’s a flower:  a rose
that a dictator pins on your chest…

Translated from the Nepali by Yuyutsu Sharma


The nights dogs stop barking nonstop,
I can't sleep.
The day the cold morning’s winds
stop lashing my body,
I can't wake up
and set the needles of time in place
in the mouth of this mourning city...

I'm never been surprised
to see a government servant asleep on duty.
For hours, I will wait by his side
patient, till he opens
his greed-glued eyes to face me.
I've grown used to visiting
offices and returning home every time
without the chores complete.

Only when you get used to
the addiction, the doom sets in.
Greeting it at the door
I am stumbling into
the abyss of a deep sleep.

In settlements neck-deep in flood waters
climbing atop a fragile tin-roof
I've grown used to looking at the sky
endlessly furling helplessness
of my bare arm in the air
for relief bags to drop...

Neck-deep in blood
one gets accustomed to plucking
strings on a human throat
and sheepishly watch
the dance of rebellion...

Once you taste blood
it's difficult to wipe off its languor.
Time and again, the thirst wells up...

The ones who suffer from
its fangs start loving it,
that's the addiction.
I often carry it along
arm in arm, smiling…
Keeping embers of
an extinguished hearth
in my smoldering heart
expecting to bake
my body from its hissing heat...

Translated from the Nepali by Yuyutsu Sharma

Keshav Silwal

Keshav Silwal, a young poet with Leftist leanings has published two poetry collections, much discussed being, Dharela Manisaru. He regularly appears at poetry events in Kathmandu’s literary circles. He runs a private school in Lele, Godavari, Kathmandu.