Recitation of Vijayalakshmy’s Poetry

 

 

 

 

I have always loved reading and reciting poetry in my mother  tongue. Below, you can find  six poems  ( recited by Yours Truly ) written by my beloved poetess Vijayalekshmy.

1.Paava aka The Doll

2. Kausalya

3. Swantham and Samarpanam

4. Alakku

5. Vilpathram

6. Dosa

Hoping that her thought provoking lines would make you introspect and smile….

 

Words , Pictures, Word- Pictures

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Mitra Kamalam has sketched Frida Kahlo on the cover page of Malayalam Weekly’s special issue of 100 remarkable young women of Kerala.( March 13 issue) I did not see any acknowledgement about the same though. Interestingly, in another story called ‘ Play school’, she continued with the same sketching pattern- complete with down of moustache and joint eyebrows, clear marks of Frida, in another edition( May 8). I am all for developing a characteristic style, but giving credit where it is due, would be nice. No person who has read about Frida,  seen her self portraits, or seen Salma Hayek enact her, can fail to catch the resemblance. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, yes. But we live in a world where the readers should never be taken for granted , yes?

I do love Vijayalakshmy. Hers is a gifted pen. She made me read more about Oliver Sacks, the great Neurologist and writer, through her perfect ode to him. Often I think, hers is a talent that is incomparable. The sweetness of the words, the rhyme, the depth and insight- I fervently wish that the poetess start gifting us more prose along with her poetry. I also admire her for her erudition and deep humility. I feel as if I am in the presence of something ineffably pure. I get a glimpse of the omnipresent whenever I read Vijayalakshmy.

Amal writes a  serial novel called ‘ Vyasana Samuchayam’ in Malayalam Weekly.It was just by chance that I browsed through one issue- but suddenly it hit me. Wow!  Such humour laced with irony. Deep perception about the new generation issues and crimes, effortless handling of different dialects of Malayalam and somewhere the writer’s laughter- quiet and bubbling. I found myself hungrily searching for other issues and trying to catch up with his story. Now that is a talent to watch out for.Kudos to the magazine for noticing that  gifted writer.

The Good Samaritan anecdote from the Bible is known to everyone. In his poem’ Transcendalism’ , K.R.Tony revisits the story in present day Kerala. A poor man is harassed in all possible ways by  four passers by ( one takes off his shirt and beats him badly, the second removes his dhoti, the third his inner wear, the fourth murders him). Then the poet sharpens his razor of a pen.

In the last stanza (I am trying to translate)

‘That fool, who landed in the hands of the Hated

Among those , who was the Good Samaritan?

Thoreau said- the one who showed him compassion!

Jesus exhorted- Go and do what he did.’

( Malayalam April 24)

Benyamin’s Goat Days remains a personal favourite. I ended up reading his interview in one magazine, and his travelogue series in another. One thought which sprang to my mind after reading his interview about his writing destiny was this:

Why is it that writing engenders so much intolerance and hatred among the society? Why do the power of words scare some  people so much? Why do critics tear apart what they do not like?

I am glad that he is clear about his own strength in his  sojourn. To write a book, which makes a human being better in his  or her life’s journey, that is a rare privilege given to him by his writing destiny. May he continue to delight readers with his writing. For every critic, there would be a new reader who smiles after closing his book.

This is also what I wished to tell K.R.Meera , when I read a  nasty feedback about her novel in a magazine. The famous writer M.Mukundan had written positively about her novel ‘ Arachaar’ . A letter to the editor denounced both Mukundan and the novel saying that Google maps had done most of  the work! I laughed on reading that observation. Let the Amazons of the world flow into such brains- you have nothing to lose but your jealousy! Perhaps, even those waters of the ‘RiverSea’ might not be able to wash clean the pettiness of small minds. Well, to each, his own. But for each critic…

Ente Kavita / My Poetry : Vijaya Lakshmy (Translation)

To my readers who have given life to me, who have kept me alive- with a look, a word, a reading, an  acknowledgement, during my poetic journey.

As I present this compilation of my poems before you, I would like to reveal to you, only you, what poetry means to me.

All the Purusharthas (Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha) are poetry to me. Life and dreams are poetry. Poetry is my friend and my love.

Following the Dharma of the Living, I entered into Grihastashram too. To make a living, I worked for a monthly pay.I have failed in Dharma, in my duties;  I have been vulnerable to all human failings. Poetry was  my refuge during all these travails. The outer aspects unravelled slowly, from all experiences. Like a faded flower, that still leaves behind a perfume, the poetry of those experiences remain.

In a very ordinary life, my days are my footsteps. In a desolate garden, in a secluded corner, like a spider weaves its web with fragile, delicate threads, enthused by an instinct- I have merely woven together the sky, water, wind and the sunlight that I have seen;  creating this work- albeit with limited word power.Perhaps a few dew drops must have shone bright , caught in these web threads.  A mid night star must have occasionally checked its reflection in the mirror of that dew drop.The rare sun ray that crept in, must have dazzled the web with a magical rain bow at times. Enough. That is good enough for me.

From dust emergeth, to dust returneth…In this unending flow, unable to distinguish either the speed or strength of an ineffable Creation, almost falling into the deep void, one moment! This life is but that moment- uncoveted by me. And poetry, like a life-breath, has given this momentary existence a radiance. Poetry and you, my readers- my exclusive fortune.

With gratitude,

Respectfully,

Vijaya Lakshmy.

(In the preface to her award winning poetry collection (1980-2010)….my most favourite vernacular poet writes thus)

Taj : Vijaya Lakshmy (Translation)

She died and the village grieved.

She was never a victim-she was the rescuer, always. She led people to greener pastures, helping to redeem the hunger, that was without origin or reason.As they gazed, she sparkled, shining bright. Reached a height that could not be gained by either the green grass or the great tree.

In the evenings when the children dribbled balls across the meadows, and the women lighted lamps in their homesteads and the men returned to homes loyally- she rose in the village skies.

At least for one soul.

The days went like this :  Food for a vagabond puppy, a support for a feeble old man and bread for the neighbour’s wife who came furtively seeking her help.

Wounds?  She let those heal in silence. Since she turned her impurity into good deeds, the village considered her a good omen.

She had nothing to hide. That day too, she sat on the porch, leaning against a pillar . She had forgiven herself-the Queen mother of pains. She had forgiven those great faces too, whose hungers she had appeased. She had let go of whatever had been hers.

The village never built her a memorial. She was the Taj Mahal.

(2010, Vijayalakshmy, Malayalam)

A Hymn For Love : Vijaya Lakshmy (Translation)

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Snehathinu Oru Prarthanageetham/ A Hymn for Love

Love hugged me close to its heart. My disbelieving fingertips searched for the Holy Wound in its palms.

In my dreams, I heard its song in the boughs of the Chempaka tree that the cuckoo had deserted.Sweet as nectar, harmonious glory. Like God’s own.

It was the night of the believers.In every earthly home, the light of heart’s purity was shining bright. In the eyes of Love, my reflection emerged. Like the dark shadows of the leaves, the reluctant silence laid a red carpet between Love and me. The Breath of Universe, walked across it  and caressed my forehead.

My impulsive heart forgot to beat for a second, and got entangled within an invisible lightning. The sound of Love  could be heard: This blaze will purify you, you will discover your own light, turning into light itself.

The echo absorbed the emptiness. An evergreen forest of love appeared therein. It blossomed, awaited for the spring eternal. Within the  silent, deep woods came the messages of the breeze. Light made love to light, sleep turned into ever lasting forgetfulness.

Love? It is unique. The key to happiness is in its hands.The Book of Solace is under its guard. The secret pathways full of scintillating laughter, is deep within its kingdom. The maps of dreams hang onto its walls. All sounds and echoes repeat forever a Hymn for Love. Love, keep me alive, alive, till eternity, carry me along with You.

In the blood dripping for hundreds of years from Your Holy Wound, I keep not my finger tip, but my pale lips and repeat : Love,  set me ablaze, ablaze, ablaze…..

( Vijaya Lakshmy, Samakalika Malayalam/Contemporary Malayalam, 2007)

Alakku (The Washing) : Vijaya Lakshmy (Translation from Malayalam)

Thus I speak to the clothes-

That the sun has reached its peak

That there is very little time left to dry up;

That the tender finger tip of the breeze

Is getting ready to leave,

That the shadows have started showing

On the earth…

Some clothes inside the basket, dirty

Some half soaked, having turned noisily

Inside the machine,

Half in the drier,

Few milk coloured ones,

Within my arms,

Those folded, to be kept inside

The box.

Far off in the valley of the sky,

I see the thousands

Of white lambs, resting.

The aged sun, trying to cover its

Bristling inner heat , purely.

The shapeless radiance

Present, disappearing, shining.

In the earth, through my finger tips

Vanish these:

The turmeric stain, mud stain,

The deep stain of love that resists,

Some memory stain of a dinner

A stain showcasing the distances

Travelled in a train journey;

An ink stain holding on

Rebelliously, from an ink pot

Tilted over;

The play stain that stuck along with

My son, as he left the play ground.

The face paint stain of the father

Who enacts different roles in the

Drama of life..

Disappearing stains, even as the sun shine

Slants low,

Quick!  There is so much beauty

To regain!

My beloved clothes-

Drinking in the sunlight, the wind

Water, my  own truth,

Rhythmically, to the tunes

Of my fingers,

During the endless chores,

Quick…

With love, tireless, towards

The life source, as soon

As possible.

********

Published in KalaKaumudi, 2009.

Photographer : Poem by Vijaya Lakshmy (Translation)

In this age, where capturing ephemeral moments means more than the moments themselves, a poem from Vijaya Lakshmy…(Mathrubhumy, 2008)

Photographer

What was asked:

Shall I make the moments eternal?

Shall I mix you in shadows, light

And colours?

Shall I hallmark you

Within the borders

Of a golden frame?

Shall your closest friends

Enter into the inner portals

Of your home,

Through my eye’s signature?

I shall showcase your privacy beautifully.

In any silence, any movement,

Shall these teeth and nails

Walk with cat’s paws

Following your passions surreptitiously?

What was answered:

Eternity, I do not desire that.

What I  want, is to disappear from light

Shadows and colours.

The hallmark of gold!

I like to throw away that yellow metal.

No survey stones such as those can

Contain, the great void beyond adornments.

My privacy-

May it float as white clouds and vanish

Into the blue sky, without anyone’s  intense gaze.

My secret desire is that it dies

In the streets,

Like Victor Linus, after writing

A mere twelve stories.

Pictures? Of close ones?

No, no.

They might recover from within me

Guillotines, ditches and old forts.

Every midnight, from those pictures

Pain will emerge as spirits

Which cannot be eased by either

Medicine or magic.

Neither within my home’s portals

Nor wherever I may live,

Do I want your eye’s signature.

Like an outdated medicine

I do not want to remain

Within the glass almirahs

Of photographs.

Here

No services of a photographer are required.

*********

Poems By Vijaya Lakshmy (Translations from Malayalam)

Poems by Vijayalakshmy

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1. Dedication/Samarpanam (2007)

To write about you?
I would need
The ink of the full moon light
And this Universe.
Lightning, thunder storms, rain, sunshine-
These are my emotions about you.
Is your throne the deep blue sky?
In the ocean, your name resounds.
Every step I take in this earth-
An embrace of your love’s alphabets.
In the sunset, your inner fire;
The mid night galaxy, your benign heart beat.
Your message in the air around.

In the water, life giving sweet melodies.
Dear one, having offered myself before thee-
I stand quietly apart.
Will you not accept the dedication?

2.Yours/Swantham (2007)

Mine?
A flag from which the moon has
Faded, a brooding dark fort where,
The wind is sentinel.
The freezing silence of icy earth,
And a dream
Where a reluctant sun rises slowly,
That’s mine.

Yours?
To share equally, the  burden
Of an ancient journey-
The memory of my sweet
Finger tips,
Yours.
My disappearance,
A tantalizing Pala tree
Flowering in the distance.
Beyond touch, serene, yours.