Yes

K. Satchidanandan

( For Irom Sharmila)

© Divya Adusumilli 2013

© Divya Adusumilli 2013

My body is
my  flag at half-mast.
My water comes
from Tomorrow’s river,
my bread,
from the wind’s kitchen.
In my brain is a bullet,
green like the clairvoyante’s parrot.
My name is the last letter
of my ancient language,
the final answer to every riddle,
the moral of every proverb,
the god of every magic chant,
the ominous truth of every oracle.

My life leaves me everyday
and everyday it comes back
like the bird that survives the hunters
to return to its nest
with the odour of the forest-rain.

In the night emptied of
the morning’s greetings
and the evening’s prayers,
I lie alone under one desolate star
like the broken bench
in an abndoned village teashop
holding on still
to the warmth and odour
of yesterday’s visitors.

I have forgotten love
like the nameless flower
once seen in a flash
on a village hillock;
my childhood lies sunk in the sand
like the paper boat
pulped by the heavy rain.

My poems are the autumn’s
last yellow leaves.

My kids turned  into vapour
by the echoes of rifles’ reports
will come down heavily
as a rain of blood
over those soldiers of hell.

I won’t be there; but
my hope will be :
a word from the mountain
that doesn’t need to be tube-fed,
a poem from the woods
no boots can crush,
an alphabet  of steel
no bayonet can pierce,
a purple hibiscus:
my Manipur heart
ever in bloom.

(Translated from Malayalam by the poet )

K SatchidanandanK Satchidanandan is one of the best known poets of India. He has 21 collections of poetry in Malayalam, 16 collections of world poetry in translation and 23 collections of critical essays and interviews besides four collections of essays in English. He has edited several anthologies of poetry and prose in Malayalam, English and Hindi. He has won numerous awards such as Sahitya Akademi Award for Malayalam, Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad Samvatsar Award for Poetry, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Drama and Gangadhar Meher National Award for Poetry.
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6 Comments

Filed under Poetry

6 responses to “Yes

  1. Pingback: Blood-Nations | Northeast Review

  2. Pingback: A Nation Not Of Woman Born | Northeast Review

  3. I hope you will send a copy to Irom Sharmila Chanu, Human Rights Defender, Security Ward, Jawaharlal Nehru I M S, Porompat, Imphal East, Manipur 795005.

  4. Dear Desmond Coutinho, thank you very much, we will surely do that.

  5. rahconteur

    I hope the original (Malayam) poem rhymes. Otherwise the English translation is vertical prose.

  6. Pingback: Purple Flower Irom | Divya's Blog

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