Poetry at Sangam



A TIME FOR BIRDSONG by Sukirtharani

(Translated from the Tamil by Lakshmi Holmström)

You and I travel together
as if we were leading a bridegroom,
carrying a vessel of picked flowers.
Like a practised guide, I point out
the ashen mouth of a volcano,
crevices of mountains like human thighs,
deep valleys.
Forest streams melt our clothes
and hold us tight in their arms.
Trees shed upon us the embryo scent
wrapped deep within their flowers.
We make love inside the waters
as fallen jasmine cover us
and our bodies’ sap flows away, foaming.
You hold out your hands to me, pleading
to stay longer in my body’s embrace.
I climb ashore, naked.
Birds never forget
when they should sing.