Malayalam Poetry : Nazimuddin’s Poems



Malayalam Poetry in Translation Series – 25

Translated by Aditya Shankar

More than any other genre in Malayalam literature, poetry has articulated the profound contradictions of the Malayalee psyche, its moral trepidations and its desire for liberation from the oppressive ideologies of discrimination like those of  class, caste and gender. Poetry has insistently refused to be a mere entertainer or a leisure-pastime, involving itself seriously in social struggles and sharing the agonies and aspirations of individuals of all social layers and persuasions. This is also the reason for its unique vibrancy and popularity that we seldom find in most other languages of India. 

(Extract from the article ‘Malayalam Poetry Today’ by K.Satchidanandan)


The Stone

While leaving the town,
I walked from store to store
in search of an elusive magazine.
Pocketed a stone instead.
Unfurled the stone,
began reading it
as soon as I reached home.
The footsteps
of innumerable strangers:
of a wise man,
of a gypsy.
The warmth of bygone footsteps
travelled through my fingers
into the body
upon the initial touch.
When the laws of the earth
were enforced in the beginning,
the stone fled
with its pulse of the depth.
The tiny stone
that was fed up of
consuming light and gloom,
led me elsewhere.
Roads that trick
without offering destinations
and travellers
who don’t ever arrive
filled my nights.
At a moment
when the Universe
stood around me
like a hallucinatory painting
that adds even an onlooker
into its background,
I cast off the stone
through my window.

(Translation of Kallu, Page 15, Daivavum Kalippanthum, DC Books) 


God and the Ball

After a complex analysis
on the future of the Universe,
God was struggling
to catch a wink.

Through the gates of heaven,
he saw a young boy on earth,
playing with his ball.

God imparted an atom of wisdom
and started rewriting
the fate lines on his head.

he abandoned the playground
and withdrew into solitude.

He experienced the unknown
in all that he knew.
In the unknown too,
he experienced the unknown.

He grew up shabby,
adjacent to the libraries.
God watched with interest.

Once he screamed recklessly,
this universe is empty at places.

The crowd that swiftly gathered
jeered him.

The poison he consumed
evaporated in his own sweat.

The knot he tied was unknotted
by his own hands.

He folded his hands,
looked up to the heavens and said:
O God,
something’s wrong with me these days.
If possible,
return the ball that I used to play with.

A golden ball
landed on his hand from heaven.

As he rolled the ball
and advanced through the streets
garnering kisses and attention
from a colorful crowd,
the sleepless God watched him
and returned to his complex analysis
on the future of the Universe.

(Translation of Daivavum Kalippanthum, Page 17, Daivavum Kalippanthum, DC Books)


Life Success

One day,
life success descended
from the hoarding of Hindustan Unilever
and started flirting with me.

I’m tired of
being in the bedroom
of multinational conglomerates
of postgraduate physicians
of television channels.

Dear poet,
I’m tired of this life
stifled in merchants association
and entrance coaching camps!

I want to mate with you, she said.
With a pen,
I poked her hard on the breasts.

With a severed
breast, torso,
head and limbs,
she went elsewhere.

she appeared as a bleeding face
in an accident, cried for help.

I ran for dear life
as soon as I saw her.

she resurfaced
as a dancing poetic beauty
adorned with studs of poetry awards
on hands and legs.

While undressing her,
unending digital sarees piled up.
She vanished from the heap.

She soared as a Mayavi
and spoke to me:
If you ignore me anymore,
your life on earth
will be half a second.

Without a choice,
I began
to chase her around.

(Translation of Jeevithavijayam, Page 22, Daivavum Kalippanthum, DC Books)


About the Author

Nazimuddin (born at Kodungalloor, Kerala) works as the editor of a children’s magazine, Malarvadi. His Poetry collection Daivavum Kalippanthum was published in 2008.