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The Sun Tarry a While


Father is still at work…..

I, starting to pant early

am resting my head

on a clump of grass

in the chena

watching the distance far away.


Like small silver blades

the grass blades sprout.

A red ant wanders

along my shirt sleeve.

A song drops down

from open bird-beaks.

Pods of flowers leap up

splitting the earth’s skin.


Sacrificing its yellow yolk

the sun comes closer


Please stay awhile, sun

says my mind like a child

stay awhile, you, the sun!


The roads are only half done

only a little is written

in my letters

just one half the song is sung

the journey is not over yet.

It’s a long long way to go!

The flowers are yet to bloom fully

grant more time to put the house roof on

a lot more there is to learn.

You sun, please tarry awhile.


Translated by A T Dharmapriya






We trapped in our cameras

the miserable sight of your leaving empty handed


We projected the scene into the eyes of the Arabs

who without a plan throw money in all eight directions


With heavy heavings and tears in their eyes they gave generously

and to prove that we gave what we received

we shared out a part


Truly we saw in our heart of hearts

the pain in your wounded heart


Now in your name we run our own organizations

which help to uplift our own lifestyles

Certainly, we grant this unconditionally

you refugees are true martyrs


Translated by S Sivasegar





The Fisherman Mourned by His Wife


When you were not quite thirty and the sun

had not yet tanned you into old-boat brown,

when you were not quite thirty and had not begun

to be embittered like the rest, nor grown

obsessed with death, then would you come

hot with continence upon the sea

chaste as a gull flying pointed home,

in haste to be with me!


Now that, being dead, you are beyond detection,

and I need not be discreet, let us confess

it was not love that married us nor affection

but elders’ persuasion, not even loneliness.

Recall how first you were so impatient and afraid,

my eyes were open in the dark unlike in love,

trembling, lest in fear, you’d let me go a maid,

trembling on the other hand for my virginity


Three months the monsoon thrashed the sea, and you

remained at home; the sky cracked like a shell

in thunder, and the rain broke through.

At last when pouring ceased and storm winds fell,

when gulls returned new-plumed and wild

when in our wind-torn flamboyante

new buds broke, I was with child.


My face was wan while telling you and voice fell low,

and you seemed full of guilt and not to know

whether to repent or rejoice over the situation.

You nodded at the ground and went to sea.

But soon I was to you more than God or temptation,

and so were you to me.


Men come and go, some say they understand,

our children weep, the youngest thinks you’re fast asleep:

theirs is fear and wonderment.

You had grown so familiar as my hand

that I cannot with simple grief

assuage dismemberment.

Outside the wind despoils of leaf

trees that it used to nurse;

once more the flamboyante is torn,

the sky cracks like a shell again,

so someone practical has gone

to make them bring the hearse

before the rain