Nakulan’s Poetry

Nakulan’s Tamil poems translated by the blogger Chenthil :

“Betwen the writer and the reader
words stand as a
Whichever book
We read,we find
what is inside
us is in that book
nothing else
we come here to be
and leave without being.
he came to see me
and left saying
see me
there is noone
for me
not even me

I have chanced upon this translation by a blogger Chenthil and I must thank him for this find.

I love these simple lines:Between the writer and the reader words are the barricade!


The irony is delicious. Words are supposed to bridge distances between the writer and the reader but it is the words which effectively block communication between the two.The poet talks mostly to himself as the words are meant for him,not for the reader.Mesmerised by the beauty of his own words the poet hardly makes an effort to reach them to the reader who alone is supposed to be their recipient.

Obscurity in poetry makes for a better poet-reader connection when the reader is not concerned enough to cross the barricade .Nor does the poet try to remove the barricade because it suits him to maintain an “arm’s length relationship” with the supposed reader .His poetry remains permanently hidden in the annotated pages of anthologies and university textbooks waiting to be discovered by an interested reader.

I have just read the blog by Chenthil and it now occurs to me that we really do not know what Nakulan meant in original Tamil by the word “barricade” . He may have meant something else and I may be interpreting the meaning differently.I apologise for any loss of Nakulan’s meaning or the translator’s..But whatever the reader may draw from the word there could be several layers of meaning and we do not mean any offence if we put upon the poem our own personal interpretation as long as the beauty of the poem remains unaffected.