The Last Poem
Selecting the words
one by one
aiming the argument
with that sardonic smile
in the corner of my mouth
in a moment, I fire the shot
bursting your heart into two
with your eyes wide
as soon as
the shot hits you
turned aside suddenly
to hide your tears;
fell on the bed
and began to sob
turning your heart’s blood
My heart leaps
like a hunter who
got his kill.
broken into fragments
with my sharp logic
doesn’t utter a word
lying on the bed
hiding your head in the pillow
you only make veiled sobs.
having vanquished you
breaking you into fragments
using the power of
when your eyes
why does that sight
reverberate in the heart?
Having murdered you
with my logic’s weapon
why is it that
a graveyard’s loneliness
pervades the heart?
Translated by A T Dharmapriya
KI. PI. ARAVINTHAN
Even my shadow cries out cringing, eyes lowered
in shame as eyes like those of a cat
strip me a shade lower than Black,
penetrating into the very marrow.
Oh, the blood isn’t black….?
Hell for Africa is in its South
they say, how can those blackened by hell’s heat
enter our circles, they ask…
The entry port to Hell was negotiated by Vasco de Gama
to discover Paradise for your cold worlds.
Who wants your Paradise?
I have not come to snatch it back.
But I cannot ever forget,
you are the ones who snatched our Paradise.
Before I could drink the waters,
spread my roots, become a tree
yielding shade and fruit,
sow seeds, become a grove,
I was felled, cut away from the soil of my roots
thrown as a tree without fruit into the frozen ice,
the soil around me was shaken off but
can the soil around roots be ever taken away?
The soul which survived the ancient flames of caste,
will it be singed now with the hot fires of race?
When and where was a foreigner ever loved?
But did we not tolerate you for three hundred years or more?
Now you should tolerate me just a little.
Even my shadow cringes and cries out
shame in my heart, I live
frozen in the snow
Translated by Kanchana Damodaran
Too Old for Tears
Such as the falling of leaves, so is the passing of men;
Such as the stirring of trees, so is the breathing of men;
Winds move the sighing of myriads, loose
In the rhythm of dying,
Ready to fall from the restless movement of being.
Each generation cries with the coming of seasons
And the old will remember the wind in the stillness of noon,
The infant will cry unheard in the tremulous silence
When treetops sway in the ominous peace of the sun.
Such as the movement of stars, so is the living of man
And as the living of man, so is the weeping of years;
We crush through the brown dead leaves uncaring
And thrill to the impotent blasts of winter
For we have grown too old for tears.
Such as the man, so is the juggling leaf in the wind;
Such as the foliage, so the ephemeral flock of immortals;
Only the winter is barren of fear of the wind
When the seasons have ended and men
Have forgotten the leaves.