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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

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Tamil poems in translation

A young man hailing from the western part of the Northern peninsula Mannar with a pen name Mannar Amuthan writes poems and short stories in Tamil. He has brought out two books in Tamil. An IT specialist has a keen interest in contemporary arts and literature. He writes short stories too.

His second book of poems is titled Akkuroni (a contingent in the battle field in ancient times with infantry, elephants, horses and chariots). His poems speak of society, politics, and personal sentiments and of course love. He could write in traditional way and also scribe in the contemporary poetic manner. His handling of the Tamil language for poetic use is amazing.

In this week’s column I have tried to translate only the poems I liked most to indicate the type of poems the young writers write during the 30 year crisis and post-war situation.

Naan Manam, Pesukiren (I the Mind, Speak)
I jump here and there like a monkey
Avoiding branches of trees
Entrenched in values of Humans
Looking and looking for human qualities
In the Minds.
For me it seems always that
Either that is bigger than this
And yet another bigger than that
I waste today thinking and thinking over those
As usual even today it dawns with its own glory
The ashes of the burnt out yesterday’s
And tomorrow’s yet to blossom Aambal (Flower)
I waste today thinking and thinking over those
To suppress me he tries and tries and fails.
The wounds he has are really the signs of
My own trespasses.
Even in my garden once in a blue moon
Flowers would bloom
When I begin to admire
He would bind me with
Meditation

My legs would tighten, breath would be short lived
On endless nights he would kill my flowers
In late nights for a while he would weep and sleep
‘cause of the wounds
My pains and joy would submerge within me
Perhaps one day his heart will burst in weight
And the blood vessels swell and burst
And even on that day he would die a good man
I with unrequited desires come out roaming

Ithu Thaan Kaathalo? (Is this called Love?)
The moments between you and me
Is always beautifully dawning
As poetry
Ehen in anger you would beat me
It hurts me not – but today
You keep silent, it pains me
For us to shine like gems
Without no other views than
Single aim of purpose-
Are we then comrades joined hand?
For a dogmatic policy?
In cooking in family, isn’t
The gravy a scramble
And false disputes the salt?
For me to follow yours
And you to tolerate me daily
Till contrary views elongate
Let’s under moonlit night
Talk without ending he debate
And go to sleep.
Is this the so-called Love?

Naan Illai Entraal… (If I’m not there…)
I would also die in any moment
Entangled in the ghastly teeth
Of the circle of time
The earth would circle as always
The bursting bud would blossom
After the dusk in pre- night
The moon would spring
Even on that day
Under water-less moonlight
Grandma would grind flour
To make vadai
And the Sun as usual will rise
In the East
Even if it rises in the West
We will sweat without fail
On the Third Day like the dried up river
Tears would have dried too.
Each one proceeds for action
With ideas stimulated
Relationship will fly away.
Once again on the Thirty First Day
Their dead tongues and the relationship
Rekindled with thoughts for me.
Those that would not give me
What I wanted once
Will voluntarily come forward to
Feast on my behalf thinking that
I would like it
Giving an opportunity to those who
Did not know how to live
I will lie in the centre of the ground
With closed mouth
My ears would remain open always
To listen to their lies
I like a tree that fell, dried and burnt
And disappears me too would perish
To fill the vacuum without me another
Stem would sprout
Circling globe would whirl even faster
Even then one would say
“If I am not there?”

There are many more long and short poems by Mannar Amuthan which lends for translation but hr could do better as a poet if he condenses some of his philosophical thoughts and social consciousness in concrete form using figurative language rather than relying on mere statements which many young poets practise in their so-called poems.

However he is a better poet that many because his lines reveal his sincere rendition of what he feel and thinks. I suggest that he reads more and more poems in both Tamil and English to be familiar with Modern and contemporary poetry.

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