Stray Thoughts*




A fine fragrance comes forth from my heart barren and dry,

now wet with the fresh tears of grief,

as from the summer-scorched dust

soaked in the first draughts of the rain of May.


“Unchanged art thou, O young green grass!

when thou standest fearlessly in the wild forest-paths,

though venomous snakes oft creep and crawl over thee:

but why dost thou fade away so soon

at the tender touch of the feet of men?”

“Venom resides in men, not in snakes;

and it makes me fade and fall!”


Trust not this will west wind, O dust!

Pray, rise not from thy seat to honour him.

With the lashes of rain-showers will he whip thee,

and send thee back unto the earth.


In the hot heavy sigh of the poor

hides a dangerous storm

that will destroy the high peaks of wealth and power;

in the small tear-drop of the oppressed

is concealed an angry sea

that will deluge the whole world.


As the petals of a white lotus fall,

scattered by a nymph from heaven,

these cranes alight on the green rice-field.


Dawn comes from the east,

laden with heaps of golden glow,

like a shy village-girl

carrying bundles of newly-reaped ripe yellow corn on her head.



* Selected and translated into English prose from various original Malayalam lyrics published by the author.