, , , , , , , , ,



The Personnel Manager’s Conscience


When I was traveling in my Lancer

lulled, in a traffic block

it’s not that I didn’t see

your faces at every bus halt.

Being covered all round

with black tinted glass

you could not see my face

in the car


But I could see yours

bent treble

in crowded buses

squeezing, pushing, sandwiched

all the way


I saw each one of you

the lip-stick coated, eye-lash painted


the simple plainly attired


silently standing at the bus-stops

the ‘red-line’ threatening

every face

arriving at office


In my celestial carriage

Arriving before any one of you

It’s I who have to draw

the red-line sadly

screaming at everyone

who arrives late


In the shelter of

the air conditioned glass cubicle

I threw my conscience

in the ash-tray

my conscience that would

never fit with

the bureaucrat’s plane

that is mine


Translated by A T Dharmapriya

Maldives 2008



Impressions of a Soldier


Terrifying moments

the command tore my frozen blood.


At dawn I opened fire

at the sleeping village

two doves fell bleeding, and

branches shed leaves

distant wails rent the air


In my mind’s screen

pleading faces

no bullet-proof jacket

no peace of mind either

Loosened, my mind fell down

to be trampled

by my own shoe


The commander’s voice goaded me

as if I was a bridled horse

the wind laden with wails wriggled

again the orders for leaping stallions


Our shots silenced the wails

knees knocking

hands gripping the slipping rifle

I inched forward

opening Time’s door


The village under siege had lost its people

the compounds strewn with flowers


longing for kids

the surge of wind rising from the palmyrah palms

kicked me


The wailing palms cried

not to erase the footprints,

rooted here for centuries


I stood frozen


Translated by S Pathmanathan






When I am old I’ll see you

running on the hillside just as

I see you now, but with a distant

melancholy that is born of having

loved and lost; you must always

stay young: for Time cannot place in conscious devastation

his withering hand on such a heavenly form

when he himself, in his round of

planting flowers, planted you

the most beautiful.


You will come to me and smile when I am resting

on my couch and I will put away

all other thoughts and gaze upon

that smile, because I dare not smile

as time will rob me of that little good

if any, that you see in me;

I will be wrinkled so with age, would rather

wish you saw me not – not now –

but even thought me dead than one

you knew, so ugly.


I will see you in all your nakedness

without the lines of age; I will gaze upon

the movements of your limbs and wish for

time to always bring me back to now

o’er all the days of suffering without you,

just to gaze on you again – let the eyes

at least see what the body can’t possess –

that a permanent and awakening picture of you

will always remain so young in me, so old –

growing older – without you.