Poems By Elza Neelima Mathew

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The Cellar of Forgetfulness

It seems I don’t have the cellar of forgetfulness…
He who gauged it right for the sky,
for the earth,
and may be for the rest twelve worlds too,
would have been a great forgetter.
or else,
He wouldn’t have overlooked to put together
the cellar of forgetfulness within me.

It seems I don’t have the cellar of forgetfulness…
Or is it sleeping somewhere inside me
tired of weeping, waiting for the prince charming?
Countless are the splinters around;
that the slightest breath of life
can bleed a sudden gush.
Has its walls become so brutally selfish
that they won’t open their eyes
even at the silent sobs of my ribcage
bathing in blood?

It seems I don’t have the cellar of forgetfulness…
It is said,
He sculpted us in line with his own mirror image!
How could his hand fail then?
May be the mirror failed to capture
all the topology within me.
Oh! No! Why should I blame the mirror?
It too would have forgotten.

It seems I don’t have the cellar of forgetfulness…
If I had one,
may be,
Many nights, many faces,
from the unfathomable depths of my memory
would have woken me up
at the strangest of times.

It seems I don’t have the cellar of forgetfulness…
And at times,
that too seems nice.

(Note: The above is author’s self-translation of the Malayalam poem ‘Maraviyara’ )



Afterlife

In the next life,
if there is one,
I want to bloom as a cosmos,
dancing as a small shade in a graveyard
heated up by marble stones;
smiling yellow;
spreading the salinity of the great oceans
vanished deep down into the Earth;
knowing the truth of the diffused stories
from all those who passed away celebrating life
and those whose lives were celebrated;
laughing out loud
hearing their stories untold;
draining from them
the untold scripts of their lost loves
like a confession mystery,
and then,
I want to pass it secretly to the wind to disseminate.
I want to break myself off then,
when the pressure goes up beyond control,
even after shedding the petals would have broken my heart;
and fly with the wind
to convey all these stories to
the would-have-been better half
sleeping a few graves away;
to dissolve and disappear there itself.
Eventually,
to pass on all these stories to my grandkids,
and to take care of them,
I want a human life once again.
In the next life,
if there is one,
I want to bloom as a cosmos;
which is red hot just by name.

(Cosmos is a flowering plant known as ‘allichenthamara‘ (അല്ലിച്ചെന്താമര) in Malayalam)
(Note: The above is author’s self-translation of the Malayalam poem ‘Janmantharam‘ )


 

About the Author

 

Elza Neelima Mathew is from Kerala, India. Currently, she works as a Post Doctoral Associate in the UMass Chan Medical School, Massachusetts, USA.