Me

Me

By Amrita Pritam 1919–2005 Amrita Pritam

Translated from the Punjabi by D.H. Tracy & Mohan Tracy Read the translator's notes

Lots of contemporaries—
but “me” is not my contemporary.

My birth without “me”
was a blemished offering on the collection plate.
A moment of flesh, imprisoned in flesh.

And when to the tip of this tongue of flesh
some word comes, it kills itself.
If saved from killing itself,
it descends to the paper, where a murder happens.

Gunshot—
if it strikes me in Hanoi
it strikes again in Prague.

A little smoke floats up,
and my “me” dies like an eighth-month child.
Will my “me” one day be my contemporary?

Source: Poetry (June 2011).

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This poem originally appeared in the June 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2011

Biography

Amrita Pritam was a Punjabi poet and novelist who recorded the trauma of Partition in her best-know poem, “I Call upon Varis Shah Today.” Denis Matringe’s French translation of her novel, The Skeleton, was awarded the La Route des Indes Literary Prize (2005). Among her other honors were the Jnanpith award (1981) and the Padma Vibushan (2005).

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Poems by Amrita Pritam

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION Asia, South

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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