GREYBIRD “- a poem in Tamil “Greybird” – A poem in Tamil by Revathy translated by N.Kalyanraman

The tree’s shadow
Sat still beneath its canopy
Like a Greybird
As if she wished to snatch and carry away even
The protracted silence of the street,
A girl came down sweeping

It was here that
He’d asked me to wait,
Had asked my love too

The sweeper-girl
Went away long ago, taking
The silence with her, while she kept
Turning back to stare at me

Darkness has now begun to stream down
Like tears. Enchanted and fearful,
Like a body ready at last to arrive
At its own flowering, I wait

Here . . . he walks in from afar,
Like a laden cloud about to unburden
Itself of rain
At this unbearable joy,
Red stars have begun to spring in my body

The tree, though,
Is still; not perturbed in the least-
Like a Greybird

The tree’s shadow sat still beneathe its own canopy like a grey bird .It is as though the wind in the tree is playing with its shadows which are the autumn leaves of yesterday’s thoughts. The tree cannot even do this because the girl came in to sweep away the dry leaves No longer is silence of the streets.It was here he came like a laden cloud about to unburden its rain .Darkness came down in streams . The tree remained like the greybird.

The poet uses exquisite imagery reminiscent of the romantic poetry.Images like “the grey bird “, “red stars spring in the body” “like a laden cloud unburdening itself of rain” are skilfully crafted usages which would surely be even more pretty in the original Tamil version.

One comment on “GREYBIRD “- a poem in Tamil “Greybird” – A poem in Tamil by Revathy translated by N.Kalyanraman

  1. ashutosh says:

    Toto Funds Arts, Bangalore (TFA) had organized a reading of two Tamil Poets, Salama and Rewathy at Crossword. I have attended many poetry-reading programmes. But not like this which took me completely to different cosmopolitan space. Well, to listen English translations of Tamil poems was not very exciting experience because those on stage were not readiing them but performing them without creating any relation with those words. Anyway, for me more important was the discussion followed after the poetry reading in Tamil and English. Salama and Rewathy told that they are not accepted by mainstream Tamil literary world for writing ‘obscene’ poetry. In fact, it was not ‘obscene’ but intimate exploration of what a woman feels.
    They shared that if any part of body aches you can express it. But if breasts ache, one can hardly express it.
    The issue is of context and politics in language. Constraints in creative expression. What makes us to not to write this?
    Is such conditioned writing prevails everywhere in all languages including English?
    Audience there at Crossword pointed it out . Do they have same issue(s) with them?
    Interesting thing i realised : In Marathi, we cant use ‘stan’ (a word for breast) freely as audience there was using it in discussion in English. I was trying to get: are there such (simple)words in Marathi that address ‘inner parts’ very freely? No. We either address them in Sanskritised (‘cultured way’) or in ‘obscene’ manner. Is it limitation of our language that we dont have adequate vocabulary? Or culture/context that makes us write in ‘this’ way only?
    Do only women poets have this problem? Can men write with such expression and vocabulary freely?

    Ashutosh Potdar
    If you make any comment, pl forward it to my mail id.
    thanks in advance.

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