Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Kamal Vora

No.25 An old man shuffles to the post office

No. 25
 
An old man  
shuffles to the post office 
at the same time every day.  
 
Pressed between his shaking palms 
is a letter written to Mariam 
with space for the address  
left blank. 
 
Tremulously 
he approaches the red letter-box, 
posts it tenderly, 
and shuffles home. 
 
At one time,  
the Postmaster had chided him, 
Old man Ali, without an address, 
how can a letter reach?  
 
The old man had replied with a smile, 
It’s for Mariam, it will reach. 
 
Suddenly one day 
the Postmaster calls him in, 
Brother Ali, here is 
a letter from Mariam. 
 
The old man takes the letter, turns it around 
and returns it, saying, 
 
How can her letter reach me? 
Mariam doesn’t have my address. 
 
The next day  
at his usual time, 
old man Ali 
stands before the letterbox 
with a letter written to Mariam. 
 


 
 

No.25 An old man shuffles to the post office

૨૫
 
એક વૃદ્ધ ડોસો
ડગમગ પગે ઢસડાતો
રોજ સમયસર પોસ્ટ-ઓફિસ આવે છે
ખિસ્સામાંથી
મરિયમને લખેલો
સરનામા વગરનો કાગળ કાઢી
બે હથળીઓ વચ્ચે દબાવી
કાંપતા શરીરે
લાલ રંગની પેટી સામે ઊભો રહી
હળવેકથી કાગળ એમાં નાખી
લથડતા પગે ઘરે પાછો જાય છે
શરૂઆતમાં તો પોસ્ટ-માસ્ટરે કહેલું,
અલિ ડોસા
સરનામા વગરનો કાગળ તે કેમનો પહોંચે
ડોસાએ હસીને જવાબ વાળેલો
મરિયમને પહોંચે
અચાનક એક દિવસ માસ્ટર બોલાવે છે
અલિભાઈ, મરિયમનો કાગળ આવ્યો છે
ડોસો કાગળ હાથમાં લઈ
આગળપાછળ ચારે બાજુએ જોઈ
પાછો આપતાં કહે છે
મરિયમ પાસે મારું સરનામું નથી
એનો કાગળ કેમનો પહોંચે
બીજા દિવસે
રોજના સમયે વૃદ્ધ અલિ ડોસો
ટપાલપેટી સામે ઊભો રહી
ખિસ્સામાંથી
મરિયમને લખેલો કાગળ કાઢે છે

Close

No.25 An old man shuffles to the post office

No. 25
 
An old man  
shuffles to the post office 
at the same time every day.  
 
Pressed between his shaking palms 
is a letter written to Mariam 
with space for the address  
left blank. 
 
Tremulously 
he approaches the red letter-box, 
posts it tenderly, 
and shuffles home. 
 
At one time,  
the Postmaster had chided him, 
Old man Ali, without an address, 
how can a letter reach?  
 
The old man had replied with a smile, 
It’s for Mariam, it will reach. 
 
Suddenly one day 
the Postmaster calls him in, 
Brother Ali, here is 
a letter from Mariam. 
 
The old man takes the letter, turns it around 
and returns it, saying, 
 
How can her letter reach me? 
Mariam doesn’t have my address. 
 
The next day  
at his usual time, 
old man Ali 
stands before the letterbox 
with a letter written to Mariam. 
 


 
 

No.25 An old man shuffles to the post office

No. 25
 
An old man  
shuffles to the post office 
at the same time every day.  
 
Pressed between his shaking palms 
is a letter written to Mariam 
with space for the address  
left blank. 
 
Tremulously 
he approaches the red letter-box, 
posts it tenderly, 
and shuffles home. 
 
At one time,  
the Postmaster had chided him, 
Old man Ali, without an address, 
how can a letter reach?  
 
The old man had replied with a smile, 
It’s for Mariam, it will reach. 
 
Suddenly one day 
the Postmaster calls him in, 
Brother Ali, here is 
a letter from Mariam. 
 
The old man takes the letter, turns it around 
and returns it, saying, 
 
How can her letter reach me? 
Mariam doesn’t have my address. 
 
The next day  
at his usual time, 
old man Ali 
stands before the letterbox 
with a letter written to Mariam. 
 


 
 
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
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