Mamta Sagar









translated from Kannada into English by Chitra Panikkar and the poet





We sleep not on our beds,

but on dreams.

Shedding the dreams,

wakeup from sleep

dreams shed here and

there, squat on these beds

and wait.

Yesterday’s dream, dream of

the day before, the ten-dayold


Tomorrow’s or that of

the day after, or the dream

of some day;

Theirs, ours, somebody’s dreams –

age after age, like this,

dreams lie waiting on beds.

The exhausted body falls

on the bed to spread itself,

and then . . .

the bed melts, bubbles

a froth of waves,

and spill over –

Inch by inch, slowly,

sinking, rising, as I

slide down to the bottom,

dreams – they rush into ears,

eyes; from the inside of every dream,

what you see is all different,

what you hear is different;

inside the dream, different

is the body, as also the mind.

I wake up, remove

the dreams glued to the sleep,

splash water on the face,

when beads of water role down

to bounce back, sparkling in the light . . .

for a moment, I feel even

this perhaps is somebody else’s dream







translated from Kannada into English by Chitra Panikkar and the poet





One there, one here, dreams

mixed-up, dreams enjoined;

Dreams, two of the same kind, like

two-in-one, the dreams.


Just like that… hand

in hand, lip to lip, body

to body, mind on mind…


Caress me, look into me, says her dream.

As a smiling response is his dream.

He dreams to drink her in; she desires

to encircle him as a dream-desire.


His dream is she, and her dream, he;

over and above they move, the two,

beyond the self, to become one dream.

And thus, they dream…


The dreams vainly long for the real; his

dream keeps on looking, caressing,

takes her in, and dreams of sinking into

her. Her dream encircles,

whirrs around, takes him on,

peeks at him, and dances enraptured.


Her body is soft and light. She can

spread that infinite lightness of desire

and conquer expanses of the sky.

To swim, to fly – they start off

with dreams as carriers. He, the fish,

and she, the bird. In search of each

other, he dives the deep; she spans

the heights.


On waves, in the sparkling water,

unblinkingly, he glides from

crest to trough, searches for her

foot-prints, dives into the empire of

dreams. If she searches, one end to

the other end of the widening sky –

expanse, he’s not there. The soft touch

on the body, the mild fingering of

desire – in the vaccum of such expanse,

there is no place for dreams.


Down there, in the water, seeing

her there, far above, he bounces up;

She bends, sweeps down, and encircles

the waves. This is the real; it

cannot be held.


Once reality strikes, the dream

is gone; the dream is a memory.


Once turned into reality, dreams

dream of turning back into dream.

For, if realities should dream,

the sea should split, and sky and

earth should meet. It has to happen.













Mamta Sagar writes in Kannada and has three collections of poems, four plays, an anthology of column writing, a collection of essays and a booklet on Slovenian-Kannada Literature Interactions to her credit. She was invited as ‘Poet in Residence’ to Belgrade, Serbia by AUROPOLIS, an Association of Multimedia Artists. Mamta has presented poems at poetry festivals in Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Colombia, Cuba, South Africa, Nicaragua, Slovenia, Serbia and Struga, Macedonia.

Her poems are translated into Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Galician, Maltese, Chinese, Slovenian, Serbian, Sinhalese, Russian, English and many Indian languages and are published in those respective languages.

She has collaborated/performed poetry with artists N.Pushpamala (India), Jannet and Jennifer (Australia), Marjorie Evasco  (Philippines), Que Mai (Vietnam) and musicians Manja Ristic, IgorStangliczky and Marko Jevtić (Belgrade). Mamta has conducted theatre and poetry workshops culminating with readings and productions for women, children and people from marginalised communities. Her poems and interviews are showcased in the documentary ‘Cultures of Resistance’ by Lara Lee and in ‘Los Chicos de Mañana’, a film by Spanish director Javier Monero from Spain.Presently she teaches at the Centre for Kannada Studies, Bangalore University, Bangalore.

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