(1) The oral lyric of life
Every river in my land
Is a pulsating relic of an
Epic outliving its origin.
The river is like a verse
Drawing its breath from
Myriad recitations in cohesion
Narrating the same event
To weave a single fluid visual)
A single unbroken stream of life
Like the spine of my body.
This river outflows its course
Like stories outliving names
At cemetery tombstones.
The dialects drift apart
Marooning a story on
The inland of Pangaea.
It’s the shipwreck story with no survivors.
(2) After translation
A poem is like an amphibian
Washed on to the shores of another ocean
To be edited with flint knives
Or with fins of sharks.
Why are rivers unstoppable?
The little rock-the performance poet
Gushes on to the stage
Like a river –untamed.
In the gurgle of this river
Prepubescent girls sense a rhythm never found in lullabies
They take a splash, breast-stroke upstream, chiselling an hourglass.
Look for a crescendo in the surge of waves
In the crystal clear pebbles at the bed of the river
The adolescent girls discover her own - new world.
Verses tumescent with perverse desires
Untainted with wrinkles
Like a stone rolling on the crests of waves.
Now she has innumerable fans
But she can distinguish between the drizzles
From clouds on either sides of the fence.
Rivers quench from dark rain clouds
Like a stuffed breakfast just before a “photo-shoot”.
Chandramohan S is an Indian English Dalit poet based in Trivandrum, Kerala. He is an alumna of Iowa’s International Writing Program and his poems were shortlisted for Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize 2016. His second collection of poems titled Letters to Namdeo Dhasal was a runner up at M. HARISH GOVIND memorial prize instituted by POETRY CHAIN. A few of his poems have been used at many protests, in addition to being anthologized in LAND: An Anthology of Indo-Australian Poetry (edited by Rob Harle) and 40 poets under 40 (edited by Nabina Das and Semeen Ali). He was instrumental in organising literary meets of English poets of Kerala for the Ayyappa Panicker Foundation.