Lingering imprint | Daily News

Lingering imprint

Ilampirai is the name of a Tami poet in India. Impressed by her poetry Dr K S Subramanian has translated her works into the English language. His collection is published by Anaamikka Alphabets owned by Latha Ramakrishnan, herself a translator and writer. I had not known either the poet or the translator. But their literary achievements compel me to introduce their combined work to Lankan readers. Hopefully, you will enjoy poet Ilampirai’s poems. Latha Ramakrishnan has published the second print of my book “Gleanings” last month. In the same month, she has published Dr K.S. Subramaniam’s translation of Ilampirai’s poems.

We must know what the poet’s views are to understand her poetry. Excerpts of her notes:

She speaks as follows---“Poetry is a celebration. Scripted to be spent on farm chores. Happened to take some shelter in a school precinct. One thing led another: books, poetry, journals, a job as a teacher…I look back at the chequered path bearing these markers…A scatter of shady trees, scorching sun craters, sharp unfriendly stones, tiny plants, sparrows perched in trepidation on the bamboo fences dreading the sight of snakes- that path is still etched afresh in my mind.”

So, now we know that she recaptures the real picture of the rustic village life. But you need a scholar and critic to interpret her visions.

My task is lessened by Dr K S Subramaniam’s elegant words on her poetry.

“Ilampirai is an authentic daughter of the soil. Her words sprout from the grassroots. Lyrical nostalgia breaths through her poetry. No glitz, no artifice, no rhetoric, no fake ‘revolution’. Everything rooted in lived experience; emanates from deep anguish, intense joy, muted anger, helpless resignation and determined self-worth. As opposed to empty bombast, the impact of studied understatement throbs in her poems. Her whispers are more impactful than pompous pronouncements. Poetry is an integral element in Ilampirai’s lie and workspace … as a soulmate, as a constant companion, as a guiding light and as a dependable counsellor.”

Such a glorious tribute to Ilampirai’s rendition is justified by her outputs, which I too endorse.

As proof I shall give examples of some of her lines, I liked most. There are 75 poems in this collection.

01. When the entire house pulls my leg for my dark skin, you would hasten to soothe me- “My little girl is dark just like my loving Amma.

02. Pouring rain, the hut roof dripping. To allay the impact, you dismissed. The Apisai month torrent. ‘After all, summer downpour would cool the land. Let it pour down well’

03. Tonight, too sleep claims me before poetry

04. While my chores are in the queue, the heart yearns to snuggle under the sheet. It should pour down in torrent ORI should sink in passion, body simmering in searing heat.

05. All the pelted stones remain sunk where they had plummeted. The river proceeds serenely in its own course

06. Grief chokes me, when I recall even now as a little girl guarding the drying grains, pelting little stones to crows and sparrows

07. Stroking my heart when I return to your fold with tingling eagerness and regaling me with fulfilling exchanges is the abiding permeance: You

08. Each day I travel only in the deserts of discomfiture distress

09. But here I’m ever more happy than anyone else.

10. Like a sparrow not inclined to perch on a tree devoid of sprouts, poetry is lying away leaving me behind, Wandering behind poetry, My Life

There you see how the poet’s yearning and the translator’s richness in vocabulary for our enjoyment.


 

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