Sitting up with a yawn,
Rolling up the tattered mat,
Tucking up the torn mundu,
Walking along the hedges.
Not for a lark.
The muddy fields grimace,
The cows wag their tails.
Where is that long night –
The one they sang their fervent hymns about,
The one they said spring thunder
Would light up with brilliant flashes
Before the great new dawn arrived?
Hate, anger –
On racing pulses.
They stood leaning against the good old walls,
The graying firebrands.
Out of the dry, cracked, poetry-less soil they had sprung.
Drained by the waters of compassion
They had grown dreams on their bodies.
They now watch
As texts are served on a platter.
By Raghavan Atholi, translated by K.M Sheriff who writes "He has forged a unique idiom and unique imagery, distilled from Dalit culture and experience. The fierce expressions and torrid images in Raghavan’s poetry appear destined to be lasting influences in Malayalam poetry. He has certainly been an influence on the rise of his younger contemporaries like S. Joseph and Renu Kumar in Malayalam poetry.”
The novel Chorapparisham by Raghavan Atholi won the prestigious Vaikkam Muhammed Basheer Memorial Award in 2006.
Tags: Raghavan Atholi