Malayalam Poetry : Veerankutty’s Poems



Malayalam Poetry in Translation Series – 19

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)



Earthen Pot

a sapling sprouts inadvertently
in the earthen pot
that Umma rinsed with water.

In the clayiness of the soil
prior to turning a pot,
a seed must have been preserved.

That night,
it must have found
the desire to germinate,
to grow
from Umma’s touch.

I too would have
been preserved in Umma.

Which love of the earth
germinated me
in her?

(Translation of Kudukka, page 133, Veerankutyude Kavithakal, DC Books) 



Lightning wrote
what rain failed to say.

But thunder,
what a bore!
It loudly utters,
reveals a secret.

(Translation of Rahasyam, page 156, Veerankutyude Kavithakal, DC Books) 


By Love

How long
can a house built on gloom
remain so?

Till those
blinded by love arrive.

it is a house built on light.
Tiny suns
play in its courtyard.

(Translation of Pranayathaal, page 157, Veerankutyude Kavithakal, DC Books) 


Rain, Wind

Each rain
is a vertical ocean.
Who drives away
the ships from God
about to reach the earth?

Wind is
the ether-dipped cotton
that God threw down.

Will routes be spared
for the cotton
to soak pain from wounds
and return?

(Translation of Mazha, Kaattu page 148, Veerankutyude Kavithakal, DC Books) 



A silent lake
breaks its hip,
rots and oozes pus
in its lying.

A mountain
too old
to stoop down and examine
its swollen thumb.

A lightning
unable to keep watch,
unsure if the swing of its dagger
slashed someone.

A drizzle
that fails
to cleanse the
abscess of the soil.

I leave
at the end of visiting time.

sutures the eye
with the needle of darkness.

(Translation of Assupathri, page 86, Veerankutyude Kavithakal, DC Books)


About the Author

Veerankutty is a Malayalam Poet and works as an Associate Professor at the Dept. of Malayalam, Govt College, Madappally. He was born in Narayamkulam, Kerala, India. His poems have been translated into English, German, Tamil, Kannada, Marathi and Hindi. Veerankutty was awarded the K.S.K.Thalikkulam Award for his poetry collection ‘Jalabhoopadam‘ in 2001. He has also received various other awards including S.B.T Award, Tamil Nadu C.T.M.A Sahithya Puraskaram, Cherusseri Sahithya Puraskaram, Abudhabi Harithakshara Puraskaaram and V.T. Kumaran Kavya Puraskaram. He has also won Mahakavi P Kunjiraman Nair Kavitha Puraskaaram, Ayanam A Ayyappan Puraskaram in 2016 and Dubai Galleria Literary Award in 2017 for his anthology ‘Veerankuttiyute Kavithakal‘. His anthology, Mindaprani was selected for the 2017 Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry.

About the Translator

Aditya Shankar is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated poet, flash fiction author, and translator. He edited Tiny Judges Shall Arrive (AHRC, Hong Kong), a selection of  KG Sankara Pillai’s poems translated into English. His translations have appeared in the SAARC anthology of poetry, Muse & Murmur, Modern Poetry in Translation, Ethics in Action and elsewhere. His poems have been translated into Malayalam and Arabic and published from 20 or more nations. His poetry collections include After Seeing (2006), Party Poopers (2014), and XXL (Dhauli Books, 2018). His short films have participated in International Film Festivals.  He lives in Bangalore, India . (