Poems By Elza Neelima Mathew




Black is a color, they say!
How can it be true?
Not absorbing
a single color that falls on itself,
Without even a casual embrace,
Letting them fly free,
Leaning on no one,
Standing tall all alone…
The veil of still nights
when even the moon and the stars cloak themselves;
The silence of muffled voices
embellishing that veil;
The chest-straining freezing cold
while death flies down
on the other side of the wall;
All the vibrancy left behind
if you close your eyes a second;
All these and much more,
and black is just a color, they say!
So used to, we are,
fitting anything and everything we see
in an age-old robe,
labeling and calling by the tags
we are pleased at!


Entirely fictional!

I want to draft a poetry today itself.
Length unlimiting,
I want to fill
a hundred, if not, a fifty more sheets at least.
There should be a protagonist,
with at least one antagonist,
fighting every second.
The Protag should have
a wife or kids or disciples,
for the Antag to abduct,
when the fight magnifies.
The fight goes on thereafter—
striking swords,
dropping heads in the arena,
knocking off shields,
bleeding the spectators,
leaving the Antag unarmed.
The Antag, on the ground,
no armor, not even a cane in hand,
the Protag sits down on his chest,
and thrusts in the sword point
right into the rival’s heart
without even a single glance
at his eyes seeking mercy.
The onlooking crowd cheer loudly
at the glimpse of the blood gush,
and everyone lives happily ever after.
Just in case the climax don’t weigh right,
the Protag should turn into a rogue.
Stones thrown on by large gatherings,
hung on the cross of morality,
the tale in the poetry comes to a close then and there.

I want to draft a poetry today itself.
At its very end,
I should put down that
everything aforementioned
is entirely fictional.
If I don’t,
and if these lines survive
even after me and those who know me,
and countless showers,
and countless winters,
and as much summers and droughts,
somebody will come out of the blue
cooking up an interpretation,
and those who think they got it
will come up with reinterpretations.
What the battle winner did in the story
will be defined as the Good.
What the loser did
will be defined as the Bad.
And then as time flies,
some will call it iconic,
and an epic afterwards,
and on and on
this simple poetry will turn into
a required school reading,
and history.
Both the Protag and the Antag
will be celebrated,
before them many will bow and kneel down;
those who don’t, will be kicked hard.
Fights will live on by these lines.

I want to draft a poetry today itself,
on every pages of which,
I should put down that
everything aforementioned
is entirely fictional
in a boundless language.
If the warning is just limited
to the last page,
what would happen
if someone crooked
finds the draft somehow,
and shreds just that one off!


About the Author

Elza Neelima Mathew is from from Kerala, India and is currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Kansas State University, USA. Her poems in Malayalam have been published in periodicals as well as online literary magazines. Her first anthology, ‘Malamukalile Maram Ottaykanu’ won the FOKANA Sugathakumari Award for Poetry in 2022.

The above two poems have been self translated by the author from the Malayalam.