Tuesday, June 9, 2009


On Wet Grass

That footprint on the wet grass
needs not be death’s;
may be a folksong has gone by.

The butterfly quivering on your palm
has something to tell you.

How the falling mangoes and jasmines
look for your cupped hands
To stop them midway!

Don’t you hear the sea whisper
not to pay back your debts?

Even your dark little room
has a piece of sky.
Everything is blessed:
fish, crickets, sedges,
sunlight, lips, words.

At Times

At times it is good to laugh:
even before you take your life, for,
the sun survives you,
fishermen set their tiny boats once more
on the raging sea,
the drowned man’s clothes learn
to fly about the riverbank,
a man and a woman
blossom into heaven
from a bed of misery,
a boy riding the noon
dreams of caparisoned elephants,
a girl turns into a breeze
inhaling the scent of orange blossoms,
a home-bound bird deposits
four blue eggs and
a star in the twilight,
Sehgal trembles like the moon in a river 1
on the lips of a happy drunk,
a poem slips past a banyan tree
hiding its face behind an umbrella,
a raindrop turning into emerald
on a colocasia leaf remembers
the poet Kunhiraman Nair. 2

Those Who Go

Let them go who want to;
turn your eyes towards
those who remain.
Look into the mirror:
An angel looks at you
from within,whispering to you
in your own voice:
Don’t give up, live.

Listen to silence:
It is an uproar, a cascade
like your beloved
bursting into laughter
stroking her hair backward,
the dance of leaves,
the wind’s anklet,
the song of survivors
from beyond the river,
the new year arriving
with a round of applause,
flowers dangling from her ears.

There is no yesterday,
nor tomorrow; only the doors
of today opening to the sky.
And smells:of wet hay, boiling paddy,
rain-washed earth, elanji flowers,
arecanuts in bloom, cardamom,
serpent’s eggs, the mysterious
secretions of trees and men.

I will not sleep tonight,
nor will I let you.

(Translated from Malayalam by the poet )

1.A legendary Hindustani singer.
2.A Malayalam poet with an intense nostalgia for Kerala’s vanishing landscapes.

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