As gifts on the day of my birth,
my loving mother gave out (and all to me),
teeth to the toothless, claws to the weak,
bones to the maimed, limbs to the crippled,
fingers to duty and roads to my legs.
There I clenched my fists and made my choice,
there I clenched my fists and made my resolution,
I feel I was born just now.
My mother’s eyes lustrous and brightened by love,
her puckered lips, her kisses and smiles,
cheeks wrinkled by health and the warmth of her love;
l gambolled in rags like a small unwise lord
on the soil of the serpent’s coils.
My delicate bud of desire was drenched
by the sweet sherbet of an ocean of milk,
my breast by the sweat of unfathomed love.
When l cried out, striking and rocking
the earth which was my cradle,
my mother came rushing with wings,
like the sky swooping down with eagles,
and l feel I was born just now.
– Mohan Koirala. excerpt from I Remember
translated by Michael Hutt