You can listen to it here: http://aathavanitli-gani.com/Song/Ketakichya_Bani_Tithe
In the ketaki forest there danced, my friend, a peacock
Overcome, the cloud in the sky released, my friend, its hold
In the eyelid collected, in the heart colored
The love-song in my mind of minds hummed
On the lips drenched, my friend, the tear-soaked note
The feeling-flower in the inner being of night swayed
From the fog someone today a feeling-song spoke
In the eyes seen, amongst white water lilies danced
The dream-colors in the dream’s note and note stopped
On the tree I saw, my friend, the burdened partridge
[Alt. for tear-soaked is yearn-soaked]
This song poses three main difficulties for translating into English:
- The exact shade of emotion: it is a song about love, but with sadness. It is sung by someone who has the experience of love, but that love is not presently accessible. It is not quite about two persons in love who are separated; rather it is as though the other person, who is at best hinted at as an unknown “someone”, is not available – either departed or disconnected. At least, that is how I read the poem.
- The word “ga”: in Marathi this is used for a familiar, equal, close female person. The song is addressed to one such person. While it is not explicit, given the feelings expressed, the singer also is likely a female person, and this is a report shared between girl-friends.
- The general tropical imagery: the ketaki (screw pine) with its delicate scent, vana which is not quite a forest nor a garden nor a grove nor a thicket, mor (peacock) strutting in the forest with its plumage displayed in a mating ritual at the onset of the rains, kumud or a white water lily, chakor or the legendary partridge—famed for a diet of moonbeams.
Here’s a version with some basic changes to the literal translation.
In the grove of ketakis
the peacock danced, my friend,
The cloud above released its hold,
overcome, my friend.
Gathered in the eyes,
colored in the souls,
Echo of that love song
in the mind unrolls;
Drenched in tears its note
is wet on my lips, my friend.
The deep heart of night
with emotion awoke,
In the distance of the day that
a feeling voice spoke.
Its frolic in the lilies
my witness eyes have seen —
The dream song’s colors
in the dream intervene.
The nightingale is desolate
in the tree, my friend.
[Alt for lienes 3 and 4:
Colored in the heart,
gathered in the orbs,
The humming song of love
my mind of mind absorbs.]
Please read the comments below for an organic discussion of this translation, or read the “finished” version of these translations here: (pdf).