Who Said Poem by Koyamparambath Satchidanandan

Who Said

Who said that waiting is
a railway station in North Malabar?
That a morning in uniform will
arrive there in a coffin?

Who said memory is
a fragrant window opening on
ripe corn fields? That
our bodies grow cold
as the sun grows dim there?

Who said trees have
ceased to follow
wind's language? That
we must conceal from lilies and rabbits
the news of the death of love?

Who said now moons
will be heavy like
a drunkard's head? That
evenings will have sick hearts
like a desperate lover's whispered songs?

Who said we are
running barefoot over red-hot iron
with a fistful of childhood rain? That
we will, at the end, hand over
our keys to the same rain?

Who said men, once dead,
grow younger entering another Time? That
all the birds that vanished at the sunrise
will return when the world ends?

Who said we would
understand everything without anyone
telling us anything? That still
we would not share anything with anyone?

On Wet Grass

That footprint on the wet grass
needs not be death's;
may be a folksong has gone by.

The butterfly quivering on your palm
has something to tell you.

How the falling mangoes and jasmines
look for your cupped hands
To stop them midway!

Don't you hear the sea whisper
not to pay back your debts?

Even your dark little room
has a piece of sky.
Everything is blessed:
fish, crickets, sedges,
sunlight, lips, words.

At Times

At times it is good to laugh:
even before you take your life, for,
the sun survives you,
fishermen set their tiny boats once more
on the raging sea,
the drowned man's clothes learn
to fly about the riverbank,
a man and a woman
blossom into heaven
from a bed of misery,
a boy riding the noon
dreams of caparisoned elephants,
a girl turns into a breeze
inhaling the scent of orange blossoms,
a home-bound bird deposits
four blue eggs and
a star in the twilight,
Sehgal trembles like the moon in a river 1
on the lips of a happy drunk,
a poem slips past a banyan tree
hiding its face behind an umbrella,
a raindropp turning into emerald
on a colocasia leaf remembers
the poet Kunhiraman Nair. 2

(Translated from Malayalam by the poet )

1. A legendary Hindustani singer.
2. A Malayalam poet with an intense nostalgia for Kerala's vanishing landscapes.

Unnikrishnan E S 29 November 2018

In this poem “Who Said”, the poet forces open our eyes to the dangerous times we live in: “trees have ceased to follow wind's language? That we must conceal from lilies and rabbits the news of the death of love? “

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Bijay Kant Dubey 25 October 2018

Who Said is a poem of waiting as the poems of Jayanta Mahapatra are, but the imagery keeps changing the track of and so the thoughts and ideas swapping places and situations. Here the language employed is one of the modernist idiom of expression, so imagistic too at the same moment of deliberation.

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Koyamparambath Satchidanandan

Koyamparambath Satchidanandan

Pulloot, Thrissur district, Kerala, India
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