Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Samples of modern Tamil Poetry

Found this issue of Museindia through Gilli. A treasure trove of modern Tamil Poetry, translated into English by poets.

Uma Maheswari translated by Pooranie Gopi
Diameter of dosas
Remain changeless for years and years.
Their circle never crossed the edge.
Even when poured on a heavy metal
They never lose their softness.
Empty swirls
sans turns and expansions.
Their selflessness can mingle with anything.
Without the awareness of loss
cook by boiling inside the lid.
Even when boiling inside
smile on top.
While folding and turning
they tell nothing except a tired murmur.
Modern schematizations haven’t
moved them toward true freedom.
Haven’t grown in years
remain unchanged in shape.
Live without living.

Grandmother’s mother’s
dosas are still the same -
for years and years Including mine.

Azhagiya Periyavan translated by Meena Kandasamy

The word for you and me

Like hunting an animal,
I wait
To catch that word
With my lasso.

As concrete as the wind
And as fraudulent as god
That word wanders
Without getting caught by me.

In front of everybody
I will place you on my lap
And like plucking your lungs
From your chest
I wish to pluck
That word.

That word
Which turns my bones
Runs as your poisonous blood.

Just one word!
It is your boon, it is our curse.
It is the mantra
That puts the sacred thread on your chest
It is the abuse
That makes me an outcast.

I might lose
But someday
My children
Will catch that word
By its horn
And cut its throat.


Sanket said...

The theme and the style of execution of the poem 'Dosa' remind me of Neruda's Odes. Can find some of them here. Indeed, Neruda's poems are an exemplar of celebrating the seemingly trivial things in life. He writes odes to salt, to lemon, a tuna fish, tomato, wine and so on.

But then, if you think about it, there are not many things as important as a good Masale Dose. What is a good life without them? And filter coffee. Are there any poems celebrating filter coffee?

Anonymous said...

I was going to ask what word, but it is *really* obvious now:


Baraka said...

thnx for sharing. 'Katha' had published a series of tamil poetry translations a couple of years back.. including Pramil,Kalapriya,Pichamurthy, Pasuviah. But I am unable to find them at any bookshops here in Chennai..

Anonymous said...

sanket -- Indeed, ode to dosas are worth writing.

Read this one: