Poems by Akbar

Pic by Nick Collins


Translated from the Malayalam by Ra Sh (Ravi Shanker)


When I love a woman

How do I love a woman?
Swaying her like the wind
on the sea shore
or like the breeze that
touches the leaves on the
river bank,
drizzling on her, then storming,
cloud bursting upon her
or spattering like the sun’s glare?

Is it like the buds sprouting on
the wild trees or like the flowers
that touch the thorns in the courtyards
and laugh in the flow of fragrance?

How does one love?
Hiding it like a poem one reads alone
and torn to shreds later?

Screaming like a swarming city or
walking lazily on the banks of the backwaters
at the end of an evening of songs?

Loving means
Vocalizing light, turning swaras
into colours and painting abstractly.

Like the seed sprouting without
the earth’s knowledge,
we can call it the harvest of silence or
the harmony of the thumping chest.

Not very simple is
love in this world.


A prayer for hell

I walk through silence
like a seed sprouting
like the silence of a tomb.
Now, one can pray for the sun and
claim no knowledge of the rain.

When sprawling without a possession,
don’t visit with flowers.
Only the kiss of the roots
deeper than the darkness suffices.

Under the earth
I want to dream about
the hell that poetry is.


The day of the kisses

One morning,
or earlier than the mornings,
the ummas* in Kuzhur Wilson’s poems
pressed my calling bell.

When the doors did not open,
lips began to knock at the doors.

When the doors were opened
the kisses rushed in and
roamed around all the rooms.

Not finding my Umma**, they
fell very sad.

One of the kitten watching
pawed the kisses.
Wrestling with kitten,
the kisses began to play.

The cat eyes shone.in the light.
In the light of the cat eyes
the leaves of the courtyard plants
turned a dark shade of green.

The vehicles speeding on the highway
began to slow down and flow with the breeze.

In the room that Umma used to lie down,
in the palm marks on the wells
when she balanced herself to walk,
everywhere the kisses rushed around
The entire Neryamangalam
was chockfull of kisses.

The river flowed with the fluttering fish.
The elephants and the rabbits in the jungle
became calm with the kisses.
The birds sang paeans of the kisses.
The silence that reigned till then
gave way to many kinds of songs.
The screams turned into
the joy of many pleasant moments.
Under the dancing steps,
flowers blossomed.

In any case, how can one write down
Love without kisses?

Kuzhur Wison is a famour Malayali poet
*Umma- kiss.
**Umma- mother.


About the Author

1977 born Akbar has three collections of poetry so far- Bamsuri, Akbarovsky and The Koel is not just a bird.’He is associated with many other poetry ventures in Malayalam. Works in the news division of a cable TV network.


About the Translator

Ra Sh ( Ravi Shanker.N) is a poet and translator based in Palakkad, Kerala. He has published four collections of poetry, Architecture of Flesh (Poetrywala), Bullet Train and Other Loaded Poems (Hawakal), Kintsugi by Hadni (RLFPA) , Buddha and Biryani (Hawakal) and a chapbook In the Mirror, Our Graves, written jointly with Ritamvara Bhattacharya.  He has also published a play Blind Men Write ( Rubric Publishing.) He is also a translator whose English translations include Mother Forest (Women Unlimited), Waking is Another Dream (Navayana), Don’t Want Caste (Navayana),  Kochiites (Greenex), How to Translate an Earthworm (Dhauli Books) and The Ichi Tree Monkey and new and selected stories of Bama (Speaking Tiger).