The rain speaks a million tongues…

Another book is born…Gratitude to Prof.Veerankutty for allowing me to translate some of his wonderful poems.

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http://www.deshabhimani.com/special/news-23-09-2018/752842

 

Translator’s Note

Another Book is getting ready:

The Heaviness of the Rain ( Anthology of selected poems- Translated from Malayalam)

Author: Prof. Veeran Kutty

IMG_2491Prof. Veeran Kutty’s poems have a wonderful simplicity and charm about them. They remind me of Haiku and Sufi literature equally. To capture majestic ideas into few lines- soaked with beauty-is a rare skill. The poems make us better human beings- by teaching us compassion, tolerance, kindness and love.
Translating these poems has been an enjoyable experience for me. I had started off by translating a few of his published poems on my wordpress blog. Prof. Veeran Kutty read those and encouraged me warmly. That helped me to compile this collection.

I hope and pray that the readers feel the enchanting loveliness of Kerala- the state to which both of us belong to – that have inspired many of these spiritual outpourings.

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Empathy and Other Poems: Prof Veeran Kutty ( Translation From Malayalam)

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1. Empathy

Reiterate

A thousand times

The lesson:

‘ You are a stone!’

Make it believe that

It is nothing but a stone.

Keep reminding it about

The agonies endured,

Enroute the way

Of becoming a stone.

Make its innards burn

With the pride of being a stone.

Or else,

If a thirsty young child

Calls out pitifully

‘Water please…’,

It just might forget

That it is  lying beneath a monstrous

Foundation,

And step out.

*

2. After Death

Even after death,

We still grow,

Say the nails.

Just try finishing us off,

Opine the hairs!

All the Teachers

I needed were with me

All the while.

Yet,

I never considered

Bowing before them,

Ever.

*

3. The House of  the Bereaved

The stranger came searching

For the House of the Bereaved.

He turned all the houses

Wherein he stepped,

Into one.

*

4. Being Big

‘ Do come over!’

A small mound of earth

Can welcome an ant,

Encourage it to climb.

An impossibility

For a mountain.

*

5. Butterfly

Hey, butterfly!

Did you find it

Inappropriate

To have rested

On a bedroom wall?

It is duly proper

That you endeavoured

To convert a graveyard

Into a picture gallery.

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Smell and Other Poems: Prof Veeran Kutty ( Translation from Malayalam)

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1. Fear

I am afraid of those

Who have woken from their sleep-

Might grab hold of a weapon

In the next second.

You can trust those

Who are asleep.

They will catch hold

Of a weapon

Only in their dreams.

The dead, of course,

Are the very best!

Because

They can no longer

Kill anyone.

*

2. Smell

The day my nose was clogged

I wandered everywhere:

In the sick ward,

Which did not smell of diseases

In the city,

Which did not smell of rot.

In the streets,

Which did not smell of gun powder.

In the crematorium,

Which did not smell of dead bodies.

As I sat reflecting

On the advantages

Of not having my nose function,

My lady friend stopped by,

And handed me a flower.

*

3.  Fly Away

You seem like a bird

Caught unawares

Inside this home!

Are you feeling helpless ?

Flutter your wings!

Make the air trapped inside

The room dance a bit,

And then fly away.

*

4. About the Thread

We speak tonnes about the needle,

Intentionally forgetful of the thread!

Even after the needle passes on

Leaving behind bleeding wounds.

Even when we know the thread stays on,

Holding it all together.

*

5. Shiver

The bow shivers,

After sending the arrow forth!

Perhaps it got  the news

Of the task

The arrow accomplished.

*

6. Embroidery

This beautiful embroidery

Of the bouquet

Holds within

All the pain

Endured by the thread

While crawling through the needle.

*

7. Witness

God!

You really mistrust me,

Don’t you?

Of course that is why

You send along

This shadow

To accompany me.

*

8. Remnant

The page dealt with compassion.

By the light of the page, charmed

By the brightness of the words,

The insect must have meditated.

The next person shall discover

The remnant of an insect

From a closed book.

He shall continue reading-

Charmed

By the light of the page,

By the brightness of the words.

*

9. Solution

Pointing at the bay,

As the parents argued:

‘Sea!’

‘River!’

‘Sea!’

‘River!’

The little child looked

Alternately at both of them

Giggling,

‘Water!’

How easily she mediated a compromise

In that war.

*

10. The Wait

Hey Time, thou great forest!

How many more leaves to drop

From my tree?

Knowing it not,

My mind shivers

In apprehension.

**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Path To You and Other Poems (Prof.Veeran Kutty, Translation from Malayalam)

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1. The Path To You

I was searching for your footsteps

By the sea shore.

Footsteps over footsteps-

A veritable ocean of footsteps!

Yet I discerned the way

To you-

By trailing the lotus buds

Blooming unseen therein.

**

2. Death

No words exist

In the universe

Except that one.

The rest  of the words

Are elaborations

Or opposites

Or synonyms.

Some astounded at it,

Some rueing.

Dictionaries grow thicker

Trying to describe it.

Poems fail at the task.

One day,

The word meaning

Resounding

From it

Shall have to be answered

By each of us.

Who can speak it out?

So we demonstrate it.

One day,

I too shall try it out-

Wonder if it will work!

**

3. Wings

Have you ever watched

Girls clapping their hands

Delightedly?

Using their hands to fan themselves?

Wringing their hands?

You can see those hands recollect

Having been Wings

Once upon a time!

When did those feathers

Start withering away?

The wing letting go, and

Cut off from flight,

Dropping on earth –

As a mere crawler?

I wish to see her

Making the festival flag

Fly high with the resounding

Applause

Emerging from her hands

Akin to bursting of crackers!

I want to see her

Turn into that ancient, magnificent

Flying creature,

Which converts every  stumble and fall

Into speed and movement.

**

4. A Plea

Did you know

When you were

Uprooting it

That  the Touch-me-not plant

Was pleading silently

With folded hands

‘ Please desist,’ and that

It was speaking

For the Earth herself?

**

5. Dance

As you thread the needle,

As you tie the laces,

When you plait your hair…

The way your fingers dance!

I swear

I have never seen anything

So beautiful till now.

**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poems of Sagacity : Prof Veerankutty,(Translation from Malayalam)

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1. For You

**

It is good,

That God  has kept

My mind

In an unseen place.

Even you ¬†won’t be able to discern,

The love I have,

( For you, dearest)

Which is hidden inside it.

**

2. On Aging

**

On aging,

My words shall not

Regret painfully-

That they have to

Recline forever

Inside

A dictionary.

After all,

The memory of having spent

Their youth

Indulging in poems

( About you, dearest)

Is constantly with them.

**

3. Till The World Ends

**

Language was drawing

Its very last life- breath.

Then

Someone whispered,

‘ I love you.’

And  the heart beat

Started again.

The heels pulsed with

Energy,

To leap

Till the world’s end.

**

4. Dying

**

Dying

Is like the parting of ways

After a ¬†lover’s tiff:

Shall never disclose

Where it is headed for.

**

5.  The Secret

**

What the Rain was shy to reveal,

Was written  down by the Lightning.

But Thunder turned out

To be a tactless confidante!

Blurted it all,

Noisily

To everyone.

**

6.  With God

No lightning flash,

Or any lit lamp,

Hereabouts.

Then from where

Has this light arisen?

Look-

When no one is around,

An infant in the cradle

Is gleefully playing

With God!

**

7. The Fence

**

Behold!

The thorny fence

Has sprouted flowers:

Much loftier

Than all the  hate-filled sounds

We made

Over that border!

**

8.  Love-Grape

How bitterly

You rued

The day when you

Got a pimple

On your face!

I longingly looked on,

As sweetness welled within,

At that

Love- grape

Ripened by God.

**

9. Visit

**

Like sunshine  falling on water

You entered my life.

Like the dew drop on a leaf

You left me behind too.

Yet I am grateful to you-

For those few moments of togetherness:

When you made our embrace,

Look like pure crystal.

**

10. Corrigendum

**

What I had perceived

While staring at the darkness

Turned to be all lies.

The light

Revealed the truth.

**

 

 

 

Poems of Passion: Prof Veerankutty (Translation from Malayalam)

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1. Who said so?

Who said that

Humans cannot fly ?

Let them produce

The evidence then,

Of your feet having touched

The ground,

Ever since you fell in love.

**

2. As if unseen

Whatever you are doing-

As if unseen by anyone,

I am cognisant of it all.

My only regret:

I cannot convey it

In a language

Unheard by anyone else.

**

3. Willingness

Anyone could have come,

Instead

You chose to come yourself.

You could have come any day,

But you came today itself.

You need not have come,

Yet you came;

I got to know of it.

The seat before you

By the side of the sea shore,

Shall be bereft of my presence.

Tonight

All alone,

In that silence

Where even a foot step’s echo

Cannot intrude,

I want to reminisce

About

Your willingness

To meet me.

**

4. Unable to hide

How lovely to see your

Land!

I caught sight of a tree

In full bloom

Amidst all that green!

It was unable to hide

The spreading blush-

Like you caught unaware,

In an unexpected kiss.

**

5. Lightning

Your smile struck

Me down,

Just once!

I have died many times

Thence.

**

6.  Futile

Alone,

I climbed a hill

And stared down at the valley.

A  wandering breeze

Sent

By God,

Came by,

And tried to

Skirt around me-

In a futile effort

To compensate

Your absence.

I could not help

Laughing.

**

7. Sticker

Two life- spirits

Unexpectedly

Unite

In any love affair.

They endure

The agonised helplessness

Of being wrenched apart

When they separate.

8. Unique

I am the Fire

You

The  fragrant oil.

In the light cast about

As we

Burn together

God

Completes

A love poem.

**

8. Promise

I shall come seeking you

Forever.

Irrespective

Of the number of times

I am turned back.

I read my own promise-

In the language of the waves.

**

9. Mine

There a few things

Totally belonging to me.

God

Mind

Life

Then you.

(Ah, you mock:

‘Where are these anyway?’)

I have not seen any of those!

We are always busy,

Aren’t we-

Involved deeply

With all that  which remain

Unseen?

10. Who are you?

Who are you?

The one who is willing

To run towards

Someone like me

Who is lazy

To  put a step

Forward?

**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thottu-Thottu Nadakumbol ( When they walk, Brushing against each other) : Prof Veeran Kutty (Translation from Malayalam)

 

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When two lovers walk

Brushing against each other,

God spreads all the paths

Before them-

Those that were rolled up

Till then.

They would hardly notice,

All that velvety-softness

Since they would be walking

Above the earth in those moments.

TWO

When two lovers walk

Brushing against each other,

God’s train that comes loaded

With words,

Misses its original track

Before them;

Though they would not be partaking

Any word from it at all.

They would have already mastered

The art of speaking

Without words by then.

THREE

When two lovers walk

Brushing against each other,

They would be gifted a time-book

Wherein the seasons vanish,

In the turn of a page.

They would hardly cast a glance at it,

Since their journey had started

Ages before.

FOUR

Finally,  becoming frustrated,

God might reduce the space

On earth,

For making just one of them stand.

That day, for the first time

They would be satisfied with

God’s generosity.

***

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chuvadukal: Dance Steps /Poem by Shri.Veerankutty (Translation from Malayalam)

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Chuvadukal (  The Dance Steps): Shri.Veerankutty

(Malayala Manorama Annual Issue, 2016)

^^^

One should ask the hurricane

About the patience needed to teach

Ancient trees,

Dance.

The effort is lesser comparatively,

To teach singing to

The bamboo groves.

Still,

It is interesting to watch

How the tree solves the problem of

Inability to move its feet,

Through gestures.

The tree stares

With desire,

As the rain dances

A Tillana*

Its feet on the edges of

The fragile glass vessel

Of the Lake.

And daily,

The Karakattam*

Of the glass blades

Balancing the dew drops

On their heads.

The wind  that got trapped

Even as it started to dance,

Within a ball-

Is not letting  it touch

The ground anymore.

Having lost the ball,

The child stands crying-

Unable to follow

Its dance steps.

^^^^

*

Tillana- In Kuchipidi form of  classical dance originating in Andhra Pradesh, the dancer places her feet on the edges of a brass plate.

Karakkattam- In this folk dance form of Tamil Nadu, pots are balanced on the heads of devotees who dance around in praise of the Goddess.

**