Monday, January 24, 2011
In the End - Lucille Broderson
All that last day at the cabin,
the lawnmower held you up, you
who could barely stand.
You rammed and rammed the mower
into the raspberry thicket
until we had lawn
where we didn't need it,
didn't want it.

That night, holding your night pail,
your hand went limp. The warm yellow
flowed onto the pine floor, between the planks.
Your teeth clenched. You wailed, a high keening wail.

Once the sounds that came from your lips
were words. When you'd nick a finger
or bump a shin, you'd glare at me, say,
I'd better not get really sick,
you'd never be there.
Then the cancer grew in your brain
and each day you became less and less,
and I was there. Surprised, but I was there.

You were my little boy then, feet wide apart,
rolling around the house in a toddler's gait.
How I loved nuzzling your neck,
squeezing your shoulders. For days
I lay in your arms, sobbing.
You held me tight, your eyes wide,
no change at all on your face.

- Lucille Broderson from her collection, Beware (Spout Press)
posted by Kripa Nidhi at 7:31 PM | Permalink | 0 comments
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
A Recipe (Translation)
A Recipe
Translated from the original in Malayalam by Sugatha Kumari

Chop fine into
very thin pieces,
drip salty tears and stir,
add the spicy flavor
of an impotent rage,
sprinkle the shame of
bitter insults,
and cook in simmering heat.
Sputter a little ridicule,
garnish with a pinch
of the sweetness of love,
before serving the dish.
Today your lunch
should taste great, dearest.
Oh, you are a vegetarian?
It’s alright. This a just
a trivial silly heart -
broken and worthless -
that I bought in the market.
And this that tastes
delicious on your tongue –
a poem dripping my blood.

Oru Pachakakkurippu

- Sugatha Kumari
cheruthaay kkotthikkotthi
NiRayekkaNNeeruppu veezhtthi
yerivum veeRum chERkka
lajjayum chaali
ccuLchhodil thiLappiccu vaanguka
athin mumbo
ritthirparihaasam thaaLikka,
oru nuLLu
prEmatthin madhurima
mEmbodi thookikkOri
yOmane, viLambuka,
ninte yooNinnu nannaam.
sasyBOjiyenno nee?
saaramillithu there
nissaaramoru veRum hridhayam
chandhayalninnum, naavi
laliyunnathO? chOrayi
littu kavithayaam
posted by Kripa Nidhi at 12:36 PM | Permalink | 0 comments
Thursday, March 25, 2010
The End and the Beginning - Wislawa Szymborska
- Translated by Joanna Maria Trzeciak

After every war
someone must clean up.
No sort of orderliness
happens by itself.

Someone has to push the rubble
to the side of the roads
so that the wagons full of corpses
can get through.

Someone has to wade through
the slime and ashes,
the couch springs,
the glass splinters
and bloody rags.

Someone has to drag in a beam
to support a wall,
someone must glaze a window
and hang the door on hinges.

This is not photogenic
and takes years.
All the cameras have already driven off
to another war.

The bridges have to be built again
and the station, too.
Sleeves will be in tatters
from being rolled up. Someone with mop in hand
still remembers how it was.
Someone is listening,
nodding with a head not torn off.
But already people are
beginning to congregate,
who will be bored by all this.

From time to time someone must still
dig up a rusted argument
from underneath a bush
and haul it to the garbage dump.

Those who knew
what this was all about
must make way for those
who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as much as nothing.

In the grass, which has grown over
the causes and effects,
someone must lie
with an stalk of grass in his teeth
and gaze at the clouds.
posted by Kripa Nidhi at 8:29 PM | Permalink | 1 comments
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Waiting for my Paleontologist... - Kripa Nidhi
Beneath a twilight sky
We’re passing by
Barringer crater, Winslow.
At the wheel, chewing a gum,
His eyes straight ahead
Frank rocks his head to the music loud.
“Frank,” I ask, “what if this moment
a meteor strikes right here,
right before our eyes
making humans and every other
extinct for a long time over.
Then a million years later
homo re-sapiens re-evolve
into a species smarter;
and science now is more potent
and paleontologists can carbon-date
fossils to the exact moment
of the specimen’s demise,
Paleonuerologists poking through
brain fossils will detect
the last thoughts – precise -
that ran through the gray cells when they died.”
“Wouldn’t it be neat,” I persist,
“if a paleontologist PYT then passing by
finds my skull and traces this thought
in my head right now -
the moment before the earth is about to crash -
dreaming of her browsing through my mind
even though I’m an evolution cycle behind?”

Frank, his eyes still looking ahead
his foot holding steady on the gas pedal,
holds his face without a twitch
“Let me tell you, what’ll happen,” he says.
“That meteor will rip your brain
off your skull
and shoot it right
up and high.
And do you see ‘em over there?” he asks
pointing to the horses on the ranch nearby.
“There your brain will land,
plunging deep
into the asshole of that one over there;
and in its ass,
for an eternity your brain will stay
until your dead-bones chick- what’s her name?-
Miss. Jane Fossil finds her way,
to the horse’s remains a gazillion years later.
Peeking into her microscope she’ll proclaim –
that a horse was the smartest that walked the earth
with brains at either end,
and though the species survived on grass
it could generate whacky ideas
right out of its ass.”

posted by Kripa Nidhi at 11:26 PM | Permalink | 0 comments
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Hemophilia by Sugatha Kumari (Translation)
The original poem in Malayalam is by Sugatha Kumari

Even the tiniest wound
starts to bleed,
and blood flows relentlessly
unceasing, unclotting
draining away one’s life.
There exists such an illness
though it’s name I know not.
Nor its cure.
I only know that
even the smallest wound
should be avoided.
But how?
On these roads
strewn with thorns,
shards of glass and nails -
how will one afflicted
and barefooted
How’ll she walk these paths
full of deep potholes
dug with sharp tools -
and covered up
to trip the unsuspecting.
How can one walk
these poorly-lit roads
when those with
smiling daggers,
venomous teeth
and long nails
guard these paths?
How’ll I walk alone?
Can’t avoid walking;
can’t escape writhing
in the pain of these wounds.
Once it starts to bleed
there is no stopping
this dreadful illness -
a disease I understand,
for my heart is afflicted thus.
Even for the smallest wound,
a hundred
little and large
slowly gush
and then rush out.
It’s a bleeding that won’t cease
won’t coagulate.
Old, timeworn memories
that I had buried
deep in the earth
suddenly spring to life
and gush out.
Even as my heart writhes
and pleads ‘No no,’
and tries to hold them back,
they cannot be stopped.
Is there no cure for this illness-
no stopping this unceasing flow
of painful memories?
Is there no cure, I ask.
Someone answers,
‘There is one cure -
the warm ashes
from your cremation.’

Malayalam version
- Sugatha Kumari

cheRuthenkilum muRivonnu
pattukil chOra-
yozhukum, nilaykilla,
kaTTiyaakillaa thellum
ozhukiyozhkiyaa jeevan
vaarnodungum pOl
oru rogamundathre,
cheRuthaam muRivupOlum
pattuvaan paadillini
engane? muLLum kuppi-
chillummaaNiyum vaari
cchinumee vazhikaLil
cherippillatthOn, rOgi
engane nadakkEndu!
engane munathaazhtthi
nannaayi moodikkatthu
kidakkum vazhiyiloo
dengane nadakkEndu?
katthiyum vishappallum
van naKangaLum kothi
ppallumaayaaarO kaakkum
mangiya vazhiyiloo
dEkanaayi nadakkEndu!
nadakkaathirikkuvaan vayya
pidaykkathirikkuvaan vayya
vayyayma, maaRarOgam
ariyunnu nhaan, ente
manassinithE rOgam
cheRuthaayaalum nOvonn
Elkukil podunnane
cheRiya valiya nooRo
rmakaL thikkippanhu
varavaam olikkayaam
nilaykilla kaTTaykilla
pazhaya pazhaya nooRormakaL
peTTennu pongitthikki
vEnda vEndannennuLLu
pidanhu thadanhaalum
marunnillayO rOgamithinu?
yozhukum nOvEttumee
yormakaL thadayuvaan
marunnillayO chOddhikkunnu nhaan,
marunnonnu thaan, athu
posted by Kripa Nidhi at 10:22 PM | Permalink | 2 comments
Monday, September 21, 2009
Ball Poem by John Berryman
What is the boy now, who has lost his ball,
What, what is he to do? I saw it go
Merrily bouncing, down the street, and then
Merrily over—there it is in the water!
No use to say 'O there are other balls':
An ultimate shaking grief fixes the boy
As he stands rigid, trembling, staring down
All his young days into the harbour where
His ball went. I would not intrude on him,
A dime, another ball, is worthless. Now
He senses first responsibility
In a world of possessions. People will take balls,
Balls will be lost always, little boy,
And no one buys a ball back. Money is external.
He is learning, well behind his desperate eyes,
The epistemology of loss, how to stand up
Knowing what every man must one day know
And most know many days, how to stand up
And gradually light returns to the street
A whistle blows, the ball is out of sight,
Soon part of me will explore the deep and dark
Floor of the harbour . . I am everywhere,
I suffer and move, my mind and my heart move
With all that move me, under the water
Or whistling, I am not a little boy.
posted by Kripa Nidhi at 6:29 PM | Permalink | 0 comments
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Pony - - Kripa Nidhi

At a ‘Cars of the future’ seminar for seniors

standing at the lectern, I roll the slides out

while a laser pointer dances on the blueprint.

‘The best brains of the industry present,’ I shout,

‘the car of tomorrow, Ladies and gentlemen!’

‘This baby senses lane dividers,’ I tell them, ‘reads

traffic lights, sees obstacles in front, adjusts speed

steps on the brake and negotiates turns when it needs.

Of my audience, the lady with horn-rimmed glasses

twitching on her nose, in the front row of the seminar

seems the most mesmerized. ‘It won’t be long,’ I add,

‘before you can put your great-grandchild in your car,

and tell it to take your precious to her school. Hearing

your voice, this baby will safely complete the mission

driverless.’ “What’s more,” I conclude with a flourish,

“you won’t believe how low it is on carbon emission.”

After the talk, I watch the lady - glasses and all -

standing in line, waiting her turn to shake my hand;

and I braze to be embarrassed by fawning words.

“That was neat,” she says when she gets to me. “And

it reminded me of my childhood. In the mornings,

my dad would seat me on our pony, foot in the stirrup,

and tell her to take me to school, and she would. And only

the horse-poop – so good for our farm- to clean up.”

posted by Kripa Nidhi at 11:14 AM | Permalink | 1 comments