Poetry by Malayali Women Poets, translated by Ra Sh

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Poetry by Malayali Women Poets, translated by Ra Sh

Translated from the Malayalam into English

While reading the night

By Aash Ashitha

So clandestinely does
the night sketch the night,
like the fingers of darkness
entwining those of the shadows
caressing so intimately that
one becomes the other.

some stealthy lines
drawn on the inner paths
forking in separation
touching or un-touching.
some specks of light
perceived or un-perceived.
some dark forebodings
of a fall or of death.

mining the secrets of the dark
should be a meditative act
like all robes unravelled
from the body which then
weaves itself on its nude self.

night should be made love to
so intensely as a couple raining
by themselves
kissing again and again
the drops of sweat
dripping from the bodies
seized by ecstasy.

night is a poem
written by a woman
with her head bowed
while black serpents slither
along her tresses
to be read only by those homes
that have turned insomniac.


The Hanging Bridge

By Ashalatha

Hands slipped from the sky.
the hand grabbing tight
slips and slips
finger by finger
and before one finishes saying
grab tight … grab tight,
one falls
down down down.

As if to wait for the
Last Judgment of

As one plummets
through a painting of the stars
revolving on the vast expanse of sky,
the feeling grows that someone is
standing in the yellow field below
hands stretched upward to catch.
(In soft focus)
Yet, one doesn’t reach below.

Boring through the centre of the earth
like a lightning rainbow
one is rushing to the other side
of the earth.

the fingertips of god painted there
would be remaining frozen.
the hand still stretched upward.

The blue sky,
the last revolving stars,
the field on which falls the yellow shadow,
all remaining so.

In a single frame frozen for a moment.

Would it have stopped raining over there
by any chance?


Clocks in Love

By Alar Mani

I have now discovered that your notion
that our clocks stop because they remain in severe solitude
is wrong.

I have hung all our ‘dead’ clocks
on the wall.

Since on the same wall
it is not Time that more than one clock is showing
hasn’t love got immense possibilities!
That’s how I came to that conclusion.

O Lover,
It’s just rotation.
Not a quest in void.
Not an attempt to prove that love knows no other motion.
Nor is it inferred from atoms.
(What’s more interesting in that theory
apart from the fact that apples are grounded?)
When I love you
my motion is
It’s because of repetitive rotation that
I kept singing
the same song.

I am now rotation
in the densest fluid.

Songs never end.
They only become unheard.
The lassitude of me and the clocks
is only how you feel it.
It is not that the clocks ever stopped.
Only that they are in love.


Aash Ashitha lives in Bengaluru and writes in Malayalam and English. Her first collection of short stories ‘Jennifarum Poochakkannukalum’ came out in 2009 (Winner of Kairali-Atlas award). Her poems and stories have been published in magazines like Samakalika Malayalam, Madhyamam, Kala Kaumudi, Mathrubhumi, etc. Her debut novel ‘ The Mushroom Cats’ is being translated into English.

Ashalatha is a poet and translator whose collections of poetry include Kadalppacha (2002) and Ella Uduppum Azhikkumbol (2013). Her translations include Chitragreevan (Gay Neck, Dhan Gopal Mukherjee), Agolavalkaranavum Asamthrupthikalum (Globalization and Discontents – Joseph Stiglitz, co-translated by K. Rajagopal), Sambhashanangal (Interviews of K Ayyappa Panikker, co-translated by K Ayyappa Panikker), Aadinte Virunn (Feast of the Goat, Mario Vargas Llosa). Her translation of Feast of the Goat won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award for translation in the year 2010. She also holds a Ph.D. from Calicut University.

Alar Mani belongs to the young crop of poets in Kerala. She has already found a place on the Malayalam Literature firmament with many avant garde poems published in literary magazines.

Ra Sh (Ravi Shanker N) has published three collections of poetry, Architecture of Flesh (Poetrywala), The Bullet Train and other loaded poems (Hawakal), and Kintsugi by Hadni (RLFPA). His poems have been translated into German and French. He has co-translated Sri Lankan Tamil poems in a collection Waking is Another Dream (Navayana), and a collection of Malayalam Dalit stories, Don’t Want Caste (Navayana). Ravi has also edited and translated a collection of 101 Malayalam poems, How to Translate an Earthworm (Dhauli Books, Bhuvaneswar.)

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