A (Malayalam) Poem by A. Harindranath
IXth Standard, Sree Krishna High School, Guruvayur, Kerala
(This poem won the first prize in poetry competition, school division, conducted by Mathrubhumi Weekly)
Published, Mathrubhumi Weekly, April 1971.


With its roots climbing up and spreading in the sky,
Its branches entangled in the fresh earth,
The Ashwattha, ever in meditation
Stands by the wayside, like the incarnation of silence.
Roaming travelers searching for new destinations
Seek refuge under the tree in the evening
And swallow it before the dawn.
The volcano which burned before
The ages began the unending journey fluttering their wings
Still spits smoke without getting extinguished.
The vultures flying above the new battlefield, encircling it
Make terrible sounds splitting my heart open.
As the new life taking birth everyday seeks the light
Which hit its eyes, enlightened it and then departed far away,
It stops stunned, trembling seeing a huge cyclone in front.
The new Sudarshana arrives at tremendous speed
Scattering the light of sun rays assuming infinite forms.


The cities and buildings crash
by the blows of the waves of Time
Which combine the dead colours in infinity.
The ships row and turn left, capsizing in the cyclone.
Black shadows in front of me
Barren emptiness behind me.
A new power vibrates in my hands
The dregs settled in my eyes scatter away.
My eye strikes the corner of darkness.
The dark shadows step forward firmly
Only to retreat.
From under the barren emptiness
A pitiable cry rises up, shaking:
UrdhvabAhur viraumyeSa
na ca kaz cic chRNoti me
dharmAd arthaz ca kAmaz ca
sa kimarthaM na sevyate
I recognize the supreme truth
Pronounced emphatically by the barren emptiness.
The truth of the mantra praised through the ages by men be lost
Only to be born again as a new mantra, with new sounds
And new rhymes only to vanish again.

{*} With uplifted arms I am crying aloud
But nobody hears me.
From Righteousness is Wealth as also Pleasure.
Why should not Righteousness, therefore, be courted?
(Mahabharata, Book 18, Svagarohanika Parva)
(Translation by Kisari Mohan Ganguli)

Translated by A.Purushothaman, Mumbai, 1st June 2005.