Poems by Rajesh Chithira

Pic by Marina Leonova



Translated by Jaya Anitha Abraham


The girl called Isis*

The child on the shore
Writes about the sea
She is not afraid,
That the maiden wave might
Erase the first line.

Her letters
Are pictures,
Each letter bears
The scent of Absinthe
Now the sea stays unmoving,
From unknown minerals
The sea smells acerbic.

From the land,
The wind bears memories of wildfires.
Salts border
The pictures she drew.
In the seas she drew
Water plants flower.
She sews in flames
On every petal of the sea blooms.

The sea becomes a wheat field
She is Isis
The goddess of love
Rising from the fields,
Osiris bears the vats,
Carrying the spirits she brews.
When their figures merge
The sea catches fire.

Now, the sea
In front of her, is still.
She realizes that she is no longer the child
Who drew water pictures
Holding the fingers of rains

Kissing the fiery fingers
She brews the seas
She asks the sea,
What scents of spirits
Do you carry.

She puts a drop
Of the spirits she brew from the sea
To her lip.
Now, she is a fiery sketch
Glowing on it’s own
In the middle of the still seas.

The winds bearing the whiff
of the wildfires interred in her
Sneaks over from the sea
To the shores.

(* Isis- Egyptian goddess of healing)



One of those days,
Pining for lost love,
I decided to buy a bird
‘Don’t bring another sin on your head’
My wife tried to stop me.

At the pet shop,
A bird kept singing
I will call him Ravi
And his friend Sita
I told the seller
As I was buying them.

Don’t buy the female bird,
It will not sing,
Paired, they will peck and hurt each other
The male will stop singing.
I looked at my wife
She bought the male bird

Ravi was my grandfather
Sita, my grandmother.
After living long in the world of silence
One day Grandma lied down,
Close to earth.
Grandpa lived silently,
For nearly seven years
Till he merged with earth.
The male bird kept singing
The very same song every day.
I called him Ravi
Isn’t he bored?
Is this song about lost love
Or happiness
Arguments flourished between us.

At last we decided to ask the bird
We made the bird listen,
To it’s own song recorded.
His ears trained on the sound,
His wings close to the body,
Silently, he heard the song.
And he stopped singing thereafter.
His eyes went drooping
Within a week, he died.

I told this to my new lover,
‘So good that you do not know
How to sing or love.’
She started laughing.
The day I stopped hearing her laughter,
I bought a female bird,
I named it Sita,
Together we repeatedly heard
The songs that Ravi sang.


About the Author

Rajesh Chithira is a Malayalam writer and is currently based in Dubai. His poetry collections include Unmathathakalude Crash landingukal, Tequila (Bilingual compilation), Ulipechu, and Rajavinte varavum kalpamrigavum. Jigsaw Puzzle is his collection of short stories. His stories and poems have been translated into English, Spanish and many Indian languages. He has won many awards including Indian Ruminations Poetry Award, Bharat Murali Poetry Award, Galleria Gallant Award for expatriate writers, the first Ezhuthola award, and the Expatriate Book Trust Award.