Edasseri Govindan Nair

(23 December 1906 - 16 October 1974 / Kuttippuram, Kerala, India)

When Philosophies Sleep - Poem by Edasseri Govindan Nair

'Everything is fate'
That was father's faith;
He had nothing to do but wait.

'History alone is real
Its developments, all'
The son had his credo;

The hope of the house, the daughter
Remained single, withering,
A plantain one ceased to water,

Daddy had her horoscope read
That's it!
She must wait to wed,
What has been ordained one cannot amend
Even by a dot, try till the days do end.

To substantiate his stand
He could quote Ramayana
From A to Z.

To this axiom of belief
The son put an axe
He can recite Marx
Like nursery rhymes.
The decadent bourgeois order,
Entitled joint-family
To hell, let it go!
A girl is no commodity
To be peddled in market place.
If domestic felicity
Be historic necessity
She can come to agreement
Regarding such arrangements.

She heard them all
But understood none.
When her clothes were torn
The daughter darned the lot.

She got up one day,
That is, before
The third quarter of night
And lit the little oil lamp.
She spread the mat, and placed a bowl of water
Her father needs them every morn for his prayer,
A cup of tea she kept
Near her brother's bed
He must have it to be himself.

To the hall she came
And touched the door
A flash of lightning reached her core
Through the doors that gently came apart
The wide world saluted her resolute heart;
Stretching its cool soft hand;
It placed a wreath of thrill
Upon her head.

Once, she turned to big a silent farewell
To her home, its presiding deity
To her brother and sire,
To the loose end of her dhoti
A coil she tied -
A token offering to the
Lord of Guruvayur.
With a fluttering heart, with steps faltering
She paced down to the yard,
She paused a while.
Years back, her mother, then a bride,
Walked in through the same
Sand-strewn yard

Facing an auspicious lamp.
In darkness the daughter
Crossed the very yard
Her eyes in floods, toes striking stones.

[Translated from the original Malayalam
'Thathwasastrangal Urangumbol'
by Madhavan Ayyappath.]


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, September 6, 2012

Poem Edited: Thursday, September 6, 2012


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