Minda Praani by Veeran Kutty (Poetry Translation from Malayalam)

 

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“Minda-Praani” , a poem by  Prof. Veeran Kutty

(  This poem won the Kerala Sahitya Academy Award recently)

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Translation from Malayalam:

Dumb Beast

It is very convenient-

The assurance,

That the Dead shall not rise again.

Treat them with utmost disregard,

They will not raise a whimper.

 

That guy in the mortuary,

Who cracks open the skull

With a hammer,

He gives a damn

That it was once a man.

The lad in the stone quarry,

Will display more care and compassion.

 

Inside the gaping stomach,

Brains, liver and the ilk are dumped

Before the sewing: a sight to watch!

School kids will stitch up a torn ball

Better than that.

Anyone, can commit any atrocity,

On those bereft of refuge, right?

 

The House of the Dead

Can be identified by the tent

In the front yard.

Someone will drag an old, greying tarpaulin,

Someone else will stretch it haphazardly:

The edges and corners all awry.

The  effrontery is because

The one to take umbrage has left.

The  play tents made by kids will have more finesse.

 

It was  his last chance to lie

Decked up

That was snuffed out with two white drapes.

How resplendent he was during his wedding!

 

Never would a guest feel unwelcome in his home,

A  more generous host was hard to find.

What of it, anyway?

Those who came to see him for the last time

Were offered neither a seat

Nor a drop of water.

 

While digging the grave, why was there

No space  left for him

To turn on his side at least?

Who knows how long he has to be in there?

 

However,

The relief that he has finally departed

Shall be celebrated by serving payasam*,

During the Feast for the Dead.

 

Everyone is busy competing

In his name,

To do all that he abhorred.

No wonder then,

That the Dead never return.

***

Payasam: a special sweet gruel made of milk, jaggery or semolina, cashew nuts, raisins et al.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

😀

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.

**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner and Other Poems( Prof Veeran Kutty, Poetry Translations from Malayalam)

1. Flame of the Forest

That lone tree-

In the midst of the green valley!

Perhaps it bloomed suddenly,

Recollecting

A childhood memory:

Of being terrified at the sight of fire!

2. Word

I do not remember the day

I was born.

But the day I died

Was not like that.

It was the day

When I could not keep

The word

I had given you.

3. Haiku

Did love rain within?

Look at the sky above you

Resplendent rainbow!

4. Dinner

Apology!

I made an error

In the invitation I sent

Requesting you to come home.

Happened in my haste-

I have no home.

5. Freedom

Why bewail the withering

And falling of a leaf?

Betwixt the seperation and drop

It lives the life of a bird

For a moment

At least.

**

 

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.

**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Without Genre: Poems (By Prof Veeran Kutty, Translated From Malayalam)

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1. Easy Cooking

One can observe

From your eyes:

Passionate love

Burning;

Intense yet controlled.

Yes, that is evident

Even in your wary smile.

Consequently one can conclude

That your life

Would be getting perfectly

Cooked.

Agree?

**

2.  Hope

The earth, which

We have damaged,

Is being steadily repaired:

The flowers  by their fragrance

The tender leaves by their colours,

The fruits by their sweetness.

The rain washes and

The wind wipes clean.

Have you ever seen the sunshine

Rest awhile?

Always in a hurry to

Dry and store

For the morrow.

**

3. Exchange

You extended your hand

Towards me,

While

Standing deep in the night.

I was entrenched in the day

Then.

It was reminiscent of the episode-

When you offered your kiss

Standing on a mountain top,

And I received it

By a sea- shore.

**

4. You and Me

I bloomed forth

Ecstatically,

On hearing your words

Which was spoken in my dream.

What of it, anyway?

I shrivelled up

With

One word

Which you left unpsoken

When we met.

Didn’t I ?

**

5. The Search

‘Where are you?’

Even as I asked,

The Tree

Pointed to all four directions

And cast me into utter puzzlement.

Perhaps

On knowing that

I was searching for you,

The guiding stars ahead,

Resignedly let go of

Their responsibility

And trailed behind me.

The wind twirled me into bewilderment.

And finally,

When I reached the edge

Of the ocean

With a rising scream on my lips,

It snarled back:

The thousand tongues,

Asking me all at once,

Where you had gone?

**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poems of Pain : Prof VeeranKutty ( Translation from Malayalam)

  1.  Your Life

The plant that has grown

Over your burial site,

Is resplendent with flowers!

I cannot believe

That you went back

With so many love- secrets.

**

2. Forgetfulness

The Secret which I kept

For your ears

Was lifted away by the breeze.

Wonder on which branch

It has kept it dangling!

In what fire has it got scorched?

Where is the earth,

Which has buried it deep?

What was the secret

That I had kept for

Your ears?

Well, now it seems

You will have to remind me

Of it

Yourself.

**

3. Confrontation

I cannot bear to look

At that emptiness

That was left behind,

When you went away.

How am I supposed

To confront

The void

Which is growing

To your proportions

Over there?

**

4. Unspoken

I might die

In the contraction and dilation

Caused

By the word

That you left unspoken-

Even when  life

Was  being snuffed out of you.

**

5. Loveless

Without love,

The body becomes

The most unyielding tree

Ever.

Though the lips may struggle to sculpt,

It simply does not oblige:

Refuses to transform into an idol.

**