Translations of three Malayalam Poets

Three Poems translated by Ra Sh

By Ammu Deepa


A raven
who was keenly waiting for sundown
flapped open its black wings
and scooping up the earth in its claws
soared up towards the sky.


The clouds slide aside in its wing beats.
The stars grow cold,
The moon extinguishes.
The sun is left far behind.


In the clutches of the raven are
the multiplication tables of kids,
yawns of women and
kitchen pots rolling on the slab
fed up with waiting for the father.


As the raven flies along the galaxies
the kids slip into dreams.
The women stagger towards the bedroom
postponing for the next day
the washing of the utensils
heaped up near the cistern.


The silk cotton trees from which
the clouds scatter around
are beyond the Milky Way.
The raven settles on one of
their branches,
wets its wings and shakes off
the moisture.


Feeling the cold, the women
shut the windows.
The kids look for sheets to
cover themselves.


After its bath, the raven
shivering in the bitter cold
flies back towards the sun.

Ever slowly, the day breaks.


Ammu Deepa is from Pattambi, Palakkad. Has been publishing poems in various periodicals in Malayalam for a decade. She has published a collection of poems titled ‘Karimkutti’ which has received much critical acclaim. She is a painter too. She is a teacher by profession.


By Jaqueline Mary Mathew

The windows of nice girls

The windows of nice girls are

open to November.

They dream of the window magic

of the paramour that makes the snow

fall on their soles.

With salt crystals they catalyze

the possibilities of the wound

that can heal quickly.

They swim across rivers of wine and

sail out in ships on oceans of vodka.

Nice girls don’t write poems or

Cry over their beloveds.

They shake off love

from the wrinkles on their skirts.

They fold sorrow in many ways and

make origami flowers.

The four walls around nice girls

are their own construction where

they stick the souls of flowers

banished from the spring.

They loop life through a yellow thread

and their minds pained by the slavery

of their inner wear, get ready

to commit suicide.

They tattoo themselves.

They sing.

They chant prayers to the god of the nose stud.

Nice girls are never nice girls.

Planting mahogany in their minds frequently,

and installing the scent of the forest there

to be canonized by the poetry of

one and only one person.


Jacquiline Mary Mathew is from Alappuzha, Kerala and currently works in Toronto, Canada. She writes poems exclusively on the social media.


By Stalina S

The sea gaze

As the feet pirouette

around the songs that bore

into ears,

in the brine

coagulating on

the tongue,

in the scalding gaze

of the sea,

the storms that lay

concealed in the feet

get the urge to

tear asunder the sails

and become the moon

shattered anchorless

in dreamy whirlpools.


If the red mesh of the liver

of the invisible rivers

in the eddies of the eyes

desire to bloom again,

it has to meditate with shut eyes

inside the coral shells.


the roots that creep upon

the body gone dry

of the sea smell

become scales where the

greenness crawls.


as the steps develop cramps

slipping on the white roads

of the land,

rubbing off the mould

on memories,

abandoning the meltings of

the body on the rocks,

spreading like awakening songs

of the sun,

falling on the bosom of the sea

that sleeps not,

to kiss the inner eye

of the sky

fins are sprouting on the feet.

Stalina is from Muvattupuzha, Ernakulam. Her poems have been published in various magazines like The Economic and Political Weekly, Bhashaposhini, Samakalika Malayalam and Madhyamam etc. She is currently working on her first collection of poems. Stalina is a teacher by profession.


Note on Translator: Ra Sh has published three collections of poetry – Architecture of Flesh (Poetrywala), Bullet Train and other loaded poems (Hawakal) and Kintsugi by Hadni (RLFPA).  Forthcoming books are The Ichi Tree Monkey and other stories (translation of Tamil Dalit writer Bama’s short stories, Speaking Tiger) and Blind Men Write (a play) (Rubric).Rash’s English translations include Mother Forest (Women Unlimited, from Malayalam), Waking is another dream (Navayana, Srilankan Tamil poems translated with Meena Kandasmy), Don’t want caste (Navayana, collection of Malayalam short stories by Dalit writers) and Kochiites (Greenex, a book on different communities in Kochi.)