Translated by Bal Ram Adhikari

Deepak Sapkota

Every rainy evening

The sun would hurl itself off the top of the hill

And disappear somewhere

There would dance incessantly torrential rainfall

Shadows would lumber around

In evening city lights

Splashed on the black-topped road.


I would stand alone by the roadside of my city

Bearing witness for ages

To the coming and going of countless shadows-

Big and small

Black, red, blue and yellow.


Glittering in the evening light

Those shadows would appear sometimes in colorful dresses— green, red and yellow—

Each wearing Lord Ganeha’s heavy mask in their face

Like a man dancing the dance of Goddess Swetakali

Other times they would stand in queue

Like peaceful devotees waiting for prayer

In front of Chandeswari Temple

And at times they would move along in line

Like white ghosts in the folktale

That granny would tell her grandchildren

In the butcher’s tole— pitch dark,

Filled with the reek of raw carcass


I would assume all the city dwellers were quiet

Warming themselves at the fire in makals in their houses

Lost in dark and damp alleys

I would assume their very shadows

That would sit hanging their heads

In the freezing houses lost in the alleys

Were walking along the rain-washed black-topped road

And the assembly of these shadows

Was going on in the city.


This was

And still is

The routine of my city when it rains


Do the shadows lumber in your city too

Along the roads glistened in lights

In the rainy evening?

Do they lie quietly in the dark

Covered in dust

Like an unopened umbrella

When there is no rain?


Banepa, Kabhre , Nepal