Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Tuesday Platform: Cowardice and Courage



I recently took out of its plastic sheet this poetry collection of the prominent Tamil poet and writer, Perumal Murugan, after buying it sometime last year. And it has been such a blessing to read his words, his thoughts that carry the weight of the political and social deprivations and their impact on individual lives on a daily basis. There is anger in it, there is passion in it, there is courage in it, and yes, there is cowardice too, as a powerful sentiment and socio-political statement.

Names of Days

Names of days
have become ruins of antiquity
We can give them new names
by flinging up new words
from the warehouse of language

Week, month, year
all such calculations too will go obsolete
Even day

Instead
We shall name a day Cuckoo’s Call
We shall name a day Scattering of Snow
We shall name a day Stone’s Softening
We shall name a day Mountain Peak
We shall name a day Crescent Moon

Each unlike the other, each unlike the other
So many days

We shall name some days
Devil’s Scream
Fool’s Grunt
Corpse’s Stench
And get past them easily

~ 23 February, 2015

Songs of a Coward: Poems of Exile, Perumal Murugan, translated from Tamil by Aniruddhan Vasudevan, Penguin India

Good day, poets! Welcome to Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. For The Tuesday Platform, share one link to a poem, old or new, that you would want all of us to read for its poetic craftsmanship, personal significance, or all-encompassing humanism, et al. This is Anmol (alias HA) and I wish you a beautiful week ahead, with its many opportunities and experiences, and not to forget, the poetics.

8 comments:

Thotpurge said...

Perumal Murugan was at the Poetry Fest last year - definitely a unique voice that needs to be heard more. Wonderful that this was your choice today.

Anmol (HA) said...

Good day, everyone! I had a rather stressful morning. So, I now look forward to reading your wonderful poems and losing myself in the images and rhymes and rhythms of your written word .

brudberg said...

Hello all, adding a short poem inspired by the weekend prompt from Magaly.

I love your text and think it weaves nicely to the discussion we are having this month on dVerse about provocation and being controversial.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Such an amazing poem. I like his sparse style which maintains a conversational tone. Tanks for sharing, Anmol.

Carrie Van Horn said...

Glad to have made it here today. Hope everyone is having a great week.

Toni Spencer said...

Hello and happy Tuesday Toads! A brief poem, a sevenling form.

Kim Russell said...

Hello Toads! I've arrived later than I wanted to due to a very long telephone call, which means it's now my bedtime and I'll have to return in the morning to read and comment. My eyes are closing...

Priscilla King said...

In case I don't think of a good poem in time, I'd like to say now that I like the poem by Perumal Murugan. It reminds me of a prose post I wrote last fall about "Those Days."