Pigeons fly past with
diamonds on their necks.
Parrots, too, chase after
them, crazed with lust.

Crows fly by, cawing,
looking for grain.
Sparrows bring delight,
toddling on the branches.

From the levee’s cool shade,
long legs paddle gently
in the lotus pond’s
moss-stained water.

After gorging on fruit
squirrels, too, lift up
their heads often,
as if to ask questions.

The priest dispensing Sivan’s grace
collects water in a pot,
cursing himself with his tongue
meant for sacred utterance.

The crowd of chaste ladies
wash their clothes on the stones
by the far bank, exchanging
gossip from around the village.

From far beyond the fields
the sun rose high above, coming down
on the head of the boy who strolled
by, grazing a few buffaloes.


Translated by N Kalyan Raman from the Tamil poem, ‘Innum’ by Atmanaam

Originally published in “Indian in Verse”, The Little Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 6, New Delhi, 2011

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