a poem by P.K.N. Panicker, India

I am the one
who laughed at the starved
who nibbled the foot-ware;
Today I weep
remembering the tomfooleries
of those days.

I am the one
who slept in the cozy, warm, bright room
without caring for him
who in biting cold
converted the blinding darkness
into a wrap-cloth to cover his body;
Today, in this winter
remembering him
I burn with no wrap-cloth.

I am the one who ate the fish
the old man caught
fighting against the waters of the sea;
Today his majestic dreams
chase me.

I am he who witnessed
the considerate kindness of the father
who presented a call-girl to his son;
Today his possessive selfishness
continues to pain
the otherwise condemned me.

The one who threw boiling water
at the face of one
who begged for a piece of loaf
burns down my dwelling to ashes
by throwing the water on fire over my roof.

I can narrate to the frightened people
many more stories of my sacred expeditions
to help them recoup their eyesight – their vision.

On seeing the golden morning
through a transparent medium
my grandfather advised,
“Don’t break the stone,
it carries a sculpture – a symbol.”

I converted that stone
into a delimitation marker dividing
this earth into pieces of private property.
I occasionally dash my leg against that stone
and drop down on the very same earth.

Translation of a Malayalam poem titled 'Mullu Tharanja Kannu' by the famous poet A.Ayyappan

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