Thursday, May 24, 2007

Nakulan - a few poems

Nakulan is one of those writers in Tamil who is spoken about a lot, but read only by a few. I am not one of those few. I have read only a few of his poems published in main stream magazines. He is considered one of the pioneers of post modern Tamil literature. I have tried to translate a few of his poems.

*************
Between the
writer and
the reader
words stand
as a
b
a
r
r
i
c
a
d
e


எழுத்தாளனுக்கும்
வாசகனுக்கு
நடுவில்
வார்த்தைகள்
நி
ற்
கி
ன்

ன!

*************

Whichever book
we read, we find
what is inside
us is in that book
Nothing else.

எந்தப் புத்தகத்தை
படித்தாலும்
நமக்குள் இருப்பதுதான்
புஸ்தகத்தில்
எழுதியிருக்கிறது
அதை மீறி ஒன்றுமில்லை!

*************

We come
here to be
and leave
without being.

இருப்பதற்கென்றுதான்
வருகிறோம்
இல்லாமல்
போகிறோம்!

*************

He came to see me
and left saying
see me.

என்னைப் பார்க்க வந்தவர்
தன்னைப் பார்
எனச் சொல்லிச் சென்றார்!

*************

There is no one
for me
not even me.

எனக்கு
யாருமில்லை
நான்
கூட!

*************

He passed away last week. A tribute to him by various Tamil bloggers is collected here.

Thanks to this blog, for the tamil versions of his poem.

10 comments:

Krish Ashok said...

Beautiful. Profundity with brevity. Nothing better than that. Looking forward to more of your translations.

Arry Potter said...

a centhillian treat... i guess. super machi!

Ananth said...

அருமை!

Baraka said...

"இலக்கியம் நிசப்தத்தின் அடிப்படையில் பிறந்து சப்தம் மூலம் உருவாகி மீண்டும் நிசப்தத்தில் லயிப்பது." - நகுலன்.

Vinesh said...

translations were apt and beautiful.

thank you!

vadakuthu said...

In the first poem, the word barricade might be too strong. The fundamental intent in a creative process is to communicate. If for a moment we assume the words to be milestones, in the sense, there is a distance here but it also indicates that destination is at hand. let me confess, I do not have a word to replace.
The 2nd poem has a lot of plato in it, 'Cognition is re-cognition.'

great effort. keep blogging. Intha nai katzhiyil, manidarkalum undu enra nambikai varukirathu.

Chenthil said...

Ashik, Arry Potter, Ananth, Vinesh - thanks.

Baraka - Nakulan is on my reading list next. I have heard a lot about his novels.

Vadakuthu - Agree, barricade isn't exactly correct in that context. I tried to use 'standing' - but that sounded too pedestrian. What Nakulam must have meant is - "The moment you try to translate some experience into words, the essence is lost. So the words, while trying to explain the writer's experience to the reader, stand as a barricade" That is how I understood it. If you interpreted the original differently, I would like to know it. In some of my earlier attempts in translation, the commenters have done a better job than me :-)

krishna shankar said...

your translation has added flavour, very well done.

Naga said...

here's a minor variation on your words.

Between the
writer and
the reader
words
s
t
a
n
d

Stand may be replaced with rise. would be sparer and maybe more appealing.

There is always a playfulness (child like) in Nakulan's words...

Premalatha said...

I have tagged you.
http://premalathakombai.blogspot.com/2007/06/tag-indian-writing.html