Literary Review

Negotiating poetry...

Hidden from his eyes,

often, I had played with grandpa’s fortune-telling cowries.

Finding those cowries, gone out of sight, on the shelf in the old house

now, I play by myself, for no reason at all,

with those unique remnants from the depths of the ocean.

Slippery in the fist, they wrangled softly.

Clapping like a boy

tossing and catching them

with the practised ease mastered in childhood;

tossing them again higher

playing around with them leisurely in the expanse of the sky

making them land on the up-turned palm;

tossing still higher and catching them over and over again

slapping the thighs, waiting, palm outstretched for their pleasurable touch;

tossing them again to make them leap even higher

snatching them, in a flash, in the fist

to the thrill of snaring the Other.

Praying, tempting even the fortune-telling Other thing

snuggling radiant in the open palm,

tossing it to the sky invoking, “Here, please God!’

waiting even as impatient fingers dance expectantly,

hungering, holding on to life, all eyes:

Will it flip over - the pada-artha

the real thing, the true sign forging sound and sense?

Will it fall on its back as four pairs of eyes?

The words I utter, can they see me really?

Yes, if fortune favours.

Vanamala Viswanatha, is a Professor, School of Education, Azim Premji University, Bangalore.


Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 6:55:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/literary-review/translation/article6386291.ece

Next Story