KESHAB SIGDEL is a Kathmandu based poet, translator, and an academic. He works as an assistant professor at Central Department of English, Tribhuvan University. His published works include Samaya Bighatan (2007), a collection of poems in Nepali, and Six Strings (2011), a co-authored joint anthology of poems in English. He is also the vice-president of the Society of Nepali Writers in English, Founding Member of Asia Pacific Writers and Translators, Hong Kong, and an editor of a literary magazine Of Nepalese Clay. His poems and plays are also taught at University and school level courses in Nepal.
His poems are published in literary journals like Snow Jewel (USA), Sijo Saing'hwal (South Korea), Naya Gyanodaya (India), Sanskritc Khabar (Calcutta, India), The Art of Being Human (Canada), The Independent (Bangladesh), Of Nepalese Clay (Nepal), Nawa Kavita (Nepal), PEN-Point (Nepal), Kalashree (Nepal), and Purnima (Nepal) along with translations in Hindi, Kannada, Sambalpuri, Bengali, Japanese, and South Korean. He has participated in several academic and literary events including SAARC Literary Festival, Darianagar International Poetry Festival, South Asian Poetry Festival for Peace, Myanmar Poetry Concert, and ASEAN and Asia Literary Conference and other academic seminars at home and abroad. Mr. Sigdel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
My daughter is learning numbers.
She is learning the names of the months and days.
She wants to do things on her own—
Like her father, like her mother.
And we keep saying,
“Not now dear, you are too small for it.”
Now she has a wish— a wish to grow
And not to be a child anymore;
Because she wants to do things on her own,
Like her father, like her mother.
And, on her third birthday, she tells me:
‘Baba, when I will no more be a child?’
To her, this asking is important.
It’s about a sense of freedom,
A sense of the self.
Teenage would mark her first transition.
For me, it is just counting of a few more years.
I add ten more years to her present age.
My daughter will be excitedly counting these more years
For they mean ten more birthday cakes,
And ten more birthday gifts,
Before she finally arrives at it.
Oh, this transition is scary.
She will be thirteen.
She will be assertive.
She will try to live on her own—
No more like her father, no more like her mother,
Different from what she aspired for.
And now, we fear the number.
We fear the possible assertion
Of her breaking away from us.
And with this fear,
We declare the number an embargo—
Ominous and Tabooed!
The ground beneath the feet shakes
Windowpanes swing with dooming creaks
And where I live soon turns into a dancing house
Before I connect any of these episodes of a rallying terror!
Is it the life we love? Is it the death we fear?
Sorry, it’s not the time to contemplate;
But I see my dear ones run even when I am here
Lovers, friends, parents and everyone who can
They run and jump, and stroll and creep
To make a sense of their being
Through the last long breath they inhale.
I am stranded here in the crumbles of the razed house
I’m no more a lover or a friend, but a sufferer.
Sanity is a word of mockery—
Vanity is not yet thought of—
It doesn't matter if I want to go to them
Or if they want to come to me in a new incarnation
With a rescue plan, with cheer groups around,
And the flashes and the annoying selfie-shutters.
Thank God, I got to see the rubble again
Actually more clearer from this distance
Then when I was there on it;
What about these my near ones?
Oh wretched eyes,
They too become more visible from a distance,
I promise, I do not want to believe it!
I know they will ask me again
A silly question though——
‘A bad dream,’ I have already thought of the answer.
Colour of the Sun
She is busy colouring her thoughts
The fingers restlessly
Move across the drawings
On the card board paper.
“What is the colour of the sun?” she fumbles–
Yellow, orange, or crimson red–
Who knows it? The colour of the sun?
She takes a colouring pencil, and before she fills in
The colour, she tries to sharpen the tip of the pencil;
The tip breaks again and again...
And it only sharpens her nerves.
She raises her head, and slowly, turns it a little right,
And gives a puzzled look at me,
Perhaps, at my non-cooperation. Her eyes
Are enough to tell what she feels
About me; But I have never coloured
A sun, you know! I have never felt it closely
To know its colours. At times,
I have hated the irresistible heat, or
Its absence too. But colours?
Does the sun have a colour at all?
With my little daughter, the sun smiles, and how
Do I tell what colour is the smile?
It’s raining heavily outside, and inside
My conscience erodes to create a grim, bleak lake
That receives the reflection of the sun.
What colour is the sun in the lake?
The colour of my mind, probably.
Hurry up, paint your own sun, dear!