Poetry at Sangam



INTENSE by K. Satchidanandan

(Translated from the Malayalam by the poet.)

Forget the key and remain a child
Adorn the ears with a red hibiscus
Bathe in the wild stream and eat the berry
Drop anchor in the moon and go to sleep
Remember your mother

Pray sitting on the leopard’s back
Learn to walk on the burning pyre
Kiss the king cobra’s hood
Play the sun and sing the Blues
Roll the sea and smoke
Remember your father

Turn the heart into a wasp’s nest
Play chess with the dark
Flirt with the flood
Set fire to your waist
Make a knife of gold
Remember your love

Climb the hill of insomnia,
Write on the wall with burning coal
Beat your skin to awaken the lion
Pierce words with a trident
Ride Tomorrow’s back
Remember your friend

Turn the banyan into a palace
Write a hymn in blood from the cross
Aim an arrow at memory’s feet
Peel off your body and flee
Pay your debts by drinking venom
Remember your foe

Stand guard to the door of the earth
Hold the reins of the sky
Wear the river around your neck
Tattoo the forest on your chest
Lend your heart throbs to emptiness
Remember your God

God is not outside Time,
Just as not the pine, the fish, the cloud.
Nothing He created accompanies Him
When His time ends
He will fall from the East,
A window on fire,
In Auschwitz where poison
Fumes and screams
Or in Gaza’s dust
Red with children’s blood,
Like those corpses of the innocent
That daily fall on our plates of food
With the burnt fingers of babies.