Sukirtharani Poems

Hit Title Date Added
1.
Untitled poem

As they skinned a dead cow
I stood guard,
chasing the crows away.

The leftover rice
gathered as alms
from sundry village homes
after long waits
turned piping hot in
my bragging.

Seeing my father
down the street
with a tell-tale drum
slung around the neck,
I passed quickly
face averted.
Unable to state
In the classroom
my father;s vocation
or his annual pay,
I fell victim
to the teacher's cane.
Sitting friendless
in the back row,
I broke down and cried,
my grief invisible to
the world's gaze.

But now,
Should anyone happen to ask,
I tell them readily:
Yes, I am a pariah girl.

Translation: N. Kalyan Raman
...

2.
Ohne Titel

beim häuten der rinder
verscheuchte ich die krähen.
ich aß gespendete reste,
aber prahlte mit einer warmen mahlzeit.
wenn mein vater mit der trommel um den hals
mir entgegen kam,
verbarg ich mein gesicht und eilte vorbei.
weil ich beruf und einkommen meines vaters
nicht nennen konnte
verprügelte mich mein lehrer.
ohne freunde hockte ich in der letzten reihe und weinte heimlich.
fragt jemand heute,
sage ich klipp und klar:

ich bin paraichi.

Ins Deutsche übertragen von Nicolai Kobus
...

3.
Die Fahne der Freiheit

Meines Dorfes Leib war von der finsteren
Macht der Kaste verhüllt,
in einer furchteinflößenden Nacht,
tückisch wie der Dolch eines Verräters.
Blau war der Himmel in jener Nacht.
Wie Biestmilch schimmerten die Sterne.
Sie legten mich nackt auf den Hof
meines Hauses, gefesselt, auch an den Füßen.
Licht entwich durch die Ritzen der Bambuskörbe.
Ihre schändliche Forderung,
ich solle meinen Bruder ficken,
hallte wie eine Beschwörung durch die Nacht.
Besoffen vom Schwarzwasser ihrer Herrschsucht
gruben sie einen Graben in meinen Schoß und rammten einen dicken Stock in meine Scheide.
Zu meinen Schreien führten sie die heillosen Tänze ihrer Kaste auf.
Als sie ermüdet waren vom Tanz ergossen die Männer
ihren Hass in den Kanal
und warfen meinen Körper hinein.
Im Land der Decken, die die Ohren versiegeln, des Schlafes, der die Augen versiegelt,
versank ich mit der Wut einer sich häutenden Schlange.
Einst wird am Stock der aus meiner Scheide ragt, die blutige Fahne unserer Freiheit wehen.

Ins Deutsche übertragen von Orsolya Kalasz
...

4.
Night Beast

Darkness had begun
to decend on the sky
like pallor spreads
on the skin of a girl
come of age.

Shutting the street door
I sat inside, alone
in the yellow light of candles.

It was then that the daily
-unwelcome- visit
came to pass.
Even I was watching
it stripped me away
and brought forth
another version of myself.

Before I could feel astonished,
I had finished reading
the book that bore
the imprint of intimacy.

Light rays from my eyes
settled on the loose folds
of the man's clothes
as he slept in the front room.
As one drunk on wine cup
brimming,
my body swam
and rose to the surface.

While I was absorbed
in pleasuring myself, muttering
obscenities in a low moan, hearing
the rustle of bird wings,
the night beast fled, returning
me to myself.

Translation: N. Kalyan Raman
...

5.
Das Tier Nacht

So wie die Traurigkeit sich auf ein junges Mädchen legt,
so senkte sich die Dunkelheit herab.

Ich saß allein,
bei verriegelter Tür,
im gelben Schein der Kerzen.

Genau um diese Zeit erschien, ohne
eingeladen zu sein, ihr täglicher Besuch.

Ich sah mir dabei zu,
wie ich mich häutete,
und ein anderes Ich herausbrach aus mir.

Während das alte Ich aus dem Staunen nicht herauskam,
hatte das neue Ich das geheime Buch der Intimitäten
bereits zu Ende gelesen.

Die Strahlen meiner Augen
richteten sich auf die kleinen, nackten Stellen
dessen, der im Vorzimmer schlief.

Das Weinglas lief über,
mein Körper begann, sich zu rühren.

Ganz leise murmelte ich
die allerobszönsten Wörter
und ging darin auf, mich zu befriedigen,

als draußen ein Vogel zu singen begann.
Das Tier Nacht lief davon
und ließ mich mit mir selbst allein.

Ins Deutsche übertragen von Ulf Stolterfoht
...

6.
Portrait of my village

How can I bear to see
my dry lands, surrounded by rocks and hills,
rent, as if by an earthquake's fissures?
The thick sour smell
of the fermented gruel
paid as wages for grass cut and bundled,
received with palms cupped and raised,
hands already ripped by ulundu plants -
still pervades the body, like a ductless gland.
When the single measure of paddy -
flung to us for carrying away and burying
their dead animals - turned to chaff,
the tormenting hunger that followed
still moves in the memory.
Our bare feet are drenched
by the pain of caste that drips from our lips
as we drink tea from palm-leaf cups,
standing at an untouchable distance,
while the portrait of our village
frames itself at a place of double existence,
always vigilant.

Translated by Lakshmi Holmström
...

7.
Nature's fountainhead

Say you bury me alive.
I will become a green grass-field
and lie outspread, a fertile land.
You may set me on fire;
I will become a flaming bird
and fly about in the wide, wide space.
You may wave a magic wand
and shut me up, a genie in a bottle;
I will vaporize as mercury
and stand upright towards the sky.
You may dissolve me into the wind
like water immersed into water;
from its every direction
I will emerge, like blown breath.
You may frame me, like a picture,
and hang me on your wall;
I will pour down, away past you,
like a river in sudden flood.
I myself will become
earth
fire
sky
wind
water.
The more you confine me, the more I will spill over,
Nature's fountainhead.

Translated by Lakshmi Holmström
...

8.
[Infant language]

I need a language
still afloat in the womb
which no one has spoken so far,
which is not conveyed through signs and gestures.
It will be open and honourable
not hiding in my torn underclothes.
It will contain a thousand words
which won't stab you in the back
as you pass by.
The late night dreams I memorized -
hoping to share them -will not be taken for complaints.
Its meanings will be as wide as the skies.
Its gentle words won't wound
the tender surface of the tongue.
The keys of that unique language
will put an end to sorrow,
make way for a special pride.
You will read there my alphabet, and feel afraid.
You will plead with me in words
that are bitter, sour and putrid
to go back to my shards of darkened glass.
And I shall write about that too, bluntly,
in an infant language, sticky with blood.

Translated by Lakshmi Holmström
...

9.
My body

Through a mountain where small shrubs abound
flows a river.
Along its banks, branches of trees
running with sap, lean over,
and touch the water's surface.
The fruit, tasting richly of ginger
break open their fine skins
and put forth their seeds.
Water spills from the hollows
in the rocks, and cascades from the edge of cliffs.
A tiger, replete from its kill,
wets its blood-smeared mouth
at the swift water-streams.
As it climbs down, scarlet ash scatters
from a volcano's gaping mouth.
A vortex, whirling clockwise,
agitates the earth. The day's heat
dissolves into the night's coolness.
In the end Nature becomes my body, lying still.

Translated by Lakshmi Holmström
...

10.
[My room needs no calendar]

There are no windows at all
in my room which sleeps just one.

Does the sun rise on the left?
Is the moon shining overhead?
I don't worry about any of it.

What connection can there be
between offering your body
and knowing what time it is?I never keep track
of the time, or my body,
or the tally of men who visit me.

When they take my clothes off,
I must pretend that
I am bashful and
groan in pleasure.

As they write on me
with their penises,
I will my body to stop
from slithering away.

In the bruised, red toothmarks
they freeze their frothing sperm.At all such moments,
I yearn for the caress
of a season when the days
and nights that gobble up
my proud youth are over.
What should I teach my children
asleep in the room downstairs?

It's easy to teach them to
consort with and train animals.
That's what I'm doing.

My children keep pestering
me to blow up the condoms
lying scattered on the floor
of my room that needs no calendar.

Translated by Lakshmi Holmström
...