Poems by Karthik K



Translated from Malayalam by Ra Sh


As time passes, men do become tender

When babies are fed
they insist on grabbing
the spoon used to
feed water.

When I used to be
stubborn like that
dad used to tell me
“the thief has stolen the spoon.”

When I was having my meals
by myself the other day
I heard the dad of a baby
hiding the spoon and saying
“it dissolved in the water.”

Before finishing my meal
I realized that
as time passes
men do become
so tender as to be soluble.


One dimwit and another

A dimwit
scrawled the figures of men
on a wall
with arms and legs
and went his way.
That dimwit
scrawled the same picture
on any wall he came across.

As luck would have it
the two walls on which
he scrawled the pictures
were in two bus stands.
The men who boarded here
and alighted there
were a bit dumbfounded by that.
Some, confused one bus stand
for the other.

Another dimwit
who was travelling by bus
assumed that
the men in the other picture
had hung inside his own bus
and travelled with him here.


A pencil stub

“This bazaar
gave me all riches.
The scoundrels here
strutted about like dandies
after cutting their hair here.”

When I was seated
in the barbershop
the guy who was cutting my hair
declared his indebtedness
to Chundampatta town.

tapping on my head
sang the old song
about how the bazaar
sharpened the scoundrels
like a pencil.

When I reached home
my hair cropped,
mom exclaimed,
“You look like a pencil stub, lad!”


About the Author

Born in 2002 in Palakkad district of Kerala, Karthik K is a graduate student at Government College, Pattambi. He has been writing poems in Malayalam periodicals and web portals for about 2 years. He is an emerging, bright young poet in Malayalam. 

About the Translator

Ravi Shanker (aka Ra Sh) 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) and In the Mirror, Our Graves, a chapbook with Ritamvara Bhattacharya.  Ravi Shanker 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).