Poetry at Sangam



RAIN-RIVER by Kutti Revathi

(Translated from the Tamil by Lakshmi Holmström)

I am the rain’s fall;
you are the pull of the river.

The force of our love’s union
is like red earth and pouring rain* –
the leaping of fish into the body –
the entwining of water-weeds.

The fierceness of your embrace
whirls me about
tosses me against the rock-beds
makes me lose my breath.

Your lap is my wheeling miracle-seat;
the prize conferred by the ancients.
The soft skin of your hands
strokes my eyes, reaching
around my neck.

When you come towards me, beckoning,
the grass tears my feet.

You are the hastening of time;
I am the blossoming season.

*The trope of red earth and pouring rain is an intertextual reference to a poem from Kuruntogai (c. 2nd century AD), ‘Yaayum yaaum yaaraagiyaro’, best known to non-Tamil readers in A.K. Ramanujan’s translation.