LIFE GOES ON.....

LIFE GOES ON.....

Sunday, April 22, 2012

ON THE HORROR OF [EEZHAM] WAR AND ITS AFTERMATH - DEEBA CHELVAN'S POEMS IN ENGLISH - DEEBACHELVAN'S 11 POEMS IN ENGLISH


DEEBACHELVAN'S  11 POEMS IN ENGLISH




Pray for my Land
[On The Horror of [Eezham] War and Its Aftermath]

POEMS OF  DEEBACHELVAN


TRANSLATED FROM TAMIL INTO ENGLISH
BY latha Ramakrishnan


Poet Deebachelvan has emerged as a significant voice highlighting the plights of the Tamils in Today's Eelam. He is one of the important poets of Eelam. He depicts the war-ridden life of the Tamils with shells pouring from above day and night in the Sri Lankan soil, in a very poignant manner, being there right in the midst of it all, experiencing the miserable life of the hapless Tamil population in the Island.

Apart from poems he is revealing his skill and expertise in other fields too, such as painting, photography, writing critical reviews, using all his talents and potentials towards creating the much-needed awareness about the hardships that the Tamils of Sri Lanka are undergoing.

His poems have been published in four volumes and have won wide-acclaim. His blogspot (http://www.deebam.blogspot.com/, is also giving a true and graphic picture of the miserable life of the Tamils in the island.

The sufferings and hardships that the Tamils plunged all too deep in a life of violence, discriminations and uncertainties are undergoing, their extensive loss and miseries that are hidden from the world's knowledge and purview and the innumerable cold-blooded murders, shielded from the world's eyes are being recorded with a sincerity and seriousness that make Poet Deebachelvan’s poems and interviews stand apart.

The main reason for Deebachelvan’s poems to be so powerful and poignant could be his life in Eelam, witnessing the horror and sorrow from close quarters. This proximity has raised his poems from being empty rhetoric to powerful and poetic documentation of all that is going on in the Island.

In today’s power-mongering and conflict-ridden global scenario we feel it a must that his poems should have a wider range of readership and hence I have translated almost 100 poems of poet Deebachelvan in English. Of which some ten are given here. The other poems can be read from his blogspot.www.edeebam.blogspot.com.



-Latha Ramakrishnan


 1.STREETS THAT WE DARE NOT STEP INSIDE

Translation of Deepachelvan’s poem in Thamizh titled 
ULL NUZHAIYA ANJUM THERUKKAL
[உள் நுழைய அஞ்சும் தெருக்கள்]

01.
Streets that none dares to step inside
are aplenty in our city.
It was in a grand function that the military chains  
blocking entry into the street
 through which alone one can reach the city
were removed.

The street that stands all dilapidated
 in the interior of the city retains still
signs of humans, living there once upon a time.

This street had always remained closed
since the time I was born.
Just the way I have lost all of my time
I have lost this street also.
Even in this prohibited street
I keep searching for children.
The tales that children read and turn terror-struck
I do read on the walls of this street.
What can I tell my father’s aged mother
who still clings to life with the hope of
 visiting those lands that remain barred still,
waiting for the opportune time?

How have you understood her dream-filled great expectations
 of stepping inside the house with bush grown dense
covering it on all sides?
She keeps lamenting that someone tells her to die
 as an insane old woman.
From when onwards she began to wander?


With wounds I keep going along the street
in the interior of the city
where entry is allowed.
A boat with the name of the girl,
 who bore the brunt of bomb and is sleeping
in the depths of sea,  inscribed
stands there, detained.
I read her words dissolved in the sea
and the tales in between.
Streets where none can step in
are aplenty in our city.
The dilapidated city is giving out a real big warning.

02
Children fear the prospect of going along the streets.
Regarding those streets that remain closed and barred
my dear children have all the relevant details.
In those passages where the State Power is forever traveling
with a military van and its jarring sounds
these children dare not step inside and go to their  schools.

No street of our Land stretches too long
for, that might end up in the dangerous barbed wires;
 that might cause us bang against the board barring entry.
In the end
it might be discoursing endlessly of the methods of punishment.
One day they have thrown open the street
which we had never seen for years together.
Ending the penance for the street
undertaken during those days so full of
the cruelty of hunger
We have a look at the street.
They have left behind nothing save destructions.
Nothing except colossal damage they have left behind
for our street.
We dread the prospect of stepping inside this street
which is totally changed in the hands of destruction.
Not having the strength to fight against all kinds of injustices,
invasions and entrapments pursued with a soft approach-
not having any means of putting an end to them all
the life of the hapless old lady that keeps breathing
in days under siege
and surrounded on all sides by Power so cruel
keeps narrating within
the tales of the street.

03
The blood spread all over the streets has turned dry
and remain glued; embedded.
The lives killed in those streets
stay on, smashed and fragmented beyond recognition.
The dreamy slogans written along the stretch of those streets
have been stamped, crushed and bitterly broken.
You know the frozen tales of all that we have lost
for treading along this street.

Please allow those streets to open up
for these children to run and play.
We will surely clap for the streets thrown open
but, please open those streets closed down.
The children are terrorized with the thought that
the thief who steals and takes away the streets
is forever haunting and frequenting this region.

This city after the colossal destruction
has been abandoned  by the invaders.
Those who capture the city
Those who capture the streets
Turn them into their fortresses and seize them off our hands.
Or, demolish them with no second thought.

Streets that none dares to step inside
are aplenty in our city.
Cities to which entry is still denied
are aplenty in our Land.

2.CHILDREN OF WAR

A poem by Deepachelvan in Thamizh titled
 POERIN KUZHANDHAIGAL

These children carry along a cane or some wooden-pieces.
They go in search of some pits or bushes.
The stones that they throw
land at a great distance.
For bleeding
they mix kumkum  or some ‘paper flowers’ in water, apply it on themselves and lie there tying worn-out and ragged saris.
In the coconut-trees at the corners of agricultural fields
Tender coconuts have once again come to be.

In the region of those people displaced and chased away
none returned.
Taking their cycles Loordhamma and Abiraj
go along all the streets and lanes.
Lotuses have bloomed in the pond at Konaa.

Loordhammaa’s eyes turn blood-red.
Abiraji’s hands have become hardened.
When they think of playing hide-and-seek
the bunkers lie close by.
The tents sway, unable to bear the words of kids.
At times the children succeed in dismantling the tents
Loordhamma goes,
seeing those who get into the agricultural fields.
In the eyes of Abiraaj who lights the lamp in Chinnakoil
the tortures of those chill nights kept burning.
The guns entrusted in the hands of Loordhamma
were snatched away.
The shells that Abiraaj had were also taken away.

 For having a count of the bullets,
for identifying bombs,
for placing books in empty cartridges,
for carrying the landmines and throwing them at the backyard
these kids are well accustomed.

Not to tread into some roads and streets that with their name-boards in Sinhala threaten you not to dare-
not to go anywhere near those houses enclosed with tall fences-
these children are severely cautioned.
Raising the wick of the hurricane lamp
these children carry the ‘kuppi’ lamps in their hands.

In the streets along which Loordhamma had been dragged away the Landmines lie hidden now.
In the fields where Abhiraaj hid himself, dangerous words
are written that keep you out.

With those who dragged away Loordhammaa and Abhiraaj
 wandering in the streets once again
those who went in rows, waving, have been wiped off the Land.

In the land that has turned red with the blood of people
there is nothing for children save the particles
and fragments of bombs and bullets.
In front of everything the children keep going.


3.LANDLESS LIFE

A Poem in Thamizh by Deebachelvan titiled
NILAMATRA VAAZVU

In the Land filled with the leaves of tree uprooted and thrown away
where none remains
in frozen-fall
the life full of dreams keeps perishing.
The birds with no branches to sit and rest
wander all over the sky destroyed.

In the trees made of sticks decayed
the Sun that jumps down in a leap moves on
with morbid wounds.

The wind keeps dragging life, lifting it high
and casting it away.
The children scratching pictures of oppression writ large on starving faces, with their nails
fill up the Spaces.

The Land keeps perishing.
The cruel birds that devovour the Land
merrily hunt the birds of the Land.
The land-birds with their wings burnt
have safely tugged the dream wholesome in time
and rich in history
inside the holes.

In this time when the rain and the sun
kept eating the land
life was contained in a bundle
hanging suspended in a rope torn apart from the land
and dangling in the air.

In the barren land the birds uprooted are wandering above
the withered leaves of the fallen tree wander below.



4.THE DESERTED LAND OF THAMIZHSELVI 

A poem in Thamizh by Deebachelvan titled
THAMIZHSELVIYIN YAARUMATRA NILAM

Thamizhselvi has a tent
She never looks back at those sand-beds and canal-banks
that are lost
She never looks at the withered memories
strewn along the streets.
She never looks for kindness or embrace of kinship
from anybody.
Earlier Thamizhselvi had a Mother.

Thamizhselvi has a ration-card.
She doesn’t have to run for relief-measures.
She is unable to carry the rice-bags
offered to her.
She is unable to bring those tin-sheets and
other accessories provided to her.
Earlier Thamizhselvi had a Father.

Earlier Thamizhselvi had two brothers.
Now she doesn’t feel like playing in the backyard
or in the courtyard of the house.
She doesn’t like dolls that close and open their eyes.
Earlier Thamizhselvi had several Dolls.

Earlier Thamizhselvi had a God.
Now she has no temples
nor any prayers.
She knows not boons and blessings.
Earlier Thamizhselvi had a beautiful World.
Now she has a deserted land where none lives on.


5.THE GHOSTS BROUGHT TO THE EARTH

A POEM BY Deebachelvan in Thamizh titled

In this life that dissolves us underneath
 the feet of demons
losing the Sun
we have become the inhabitants of Dark Land.
Despite being destroyed
in totality
The demons are not prepared to leave us.
Grabbing our legs they topple us.

Though we have suffered defeat
in the war waged by the Demons
their hunger remains burning.
In the field where
blood and flesh-particles
decaying into corpses and growing with stench unbearable
the demons relished them and danced deliriously but yet
their hunger remains burning.
In order to offer us as sacrifice and so
anhnihilate us without a trace
the demons were brought to our Land.

Have you seen the Demons?
In the cups held in their hands
they have filled the eyes of children
and are happily eating them all.

The Demons wearing red badge in their neck
or wearing military uniform on their persons
are so covering their mortal bodies.
At those times when we had
playfully covered our children’s eyes
they tore apart our chests and sucked deep our blood.
The Demons that keep wandering,
feeling heady to the hilt with the drunken revelry of death
keep hanging there, suspended,
  in the demolished buildings along the roads.
They drive wagons along our roads.
When we firmly cling to our life declaring that
we would never let go of life
even in the face of annihilation
the Demons too keep chasing us
declaring that they would never let go.

in our beloved Land where Demons are brought forth
nothing remains,
save mere skeletons with life fully sucked out.
Will our children live in an era
when they could gain back all things lost?
When will the Sun come to our Soil?


6.THE ROOM THAT ISN’T…

A poem in Thamizh by Deebachelvan  titled
Just the tender palm-leaf that had withered without getting resurrected 
do I leave behind and go.
In all those bunker-like holes that had caved inside the walls
my dreams are filled to the brim.
Unusually the lizards fall down and creep away in great haste.
If you want let me also leave behind
cups with tea stains still damp;
dish-particles turned taut and dried up.
The cruel dangers that keep driving away the dream
indulge in revelry and celebration, drinking my yet to be dried blood.
The lizards carry the torn poems.
The residual fragment of the soap
are made wet by the water-drops oozing out of the pipe.
I wander in the room
that isn’t.
In the semi-portrait that stays glued to the wall
wherefrom remembrances removed-
ashes pour down.
From cabin created out of threats
 the bird that has not come into life
 goes off to the cruel field created by bullets; bombs.
To wipe my face that turns damp with bleeding dreams
Oh, there is none!


7.THE DEMON THAT DEVOUR THE CHILDREN

A poem by Deepachelvan in Thamizh titled ‘KUZHANDHAIGALAI THINNUM BOODHANGAL
Deleting the tales read by children which know not 
anything but fear
the cruel Demons come and shake the very Life.
The Demons that drink blood slice off the breasts
that nurse the children
and swallow them in one gulp.
The Devils search for kids too along with the Land
and swallow them.

In order to pluck away the eyes of little children
hiding the army uniform and the red leather-box
and wearing cruel attires,
with razor-edged knives fixed to the nails
the Demons sought entry into the world
and floated.
With acts yet unknown regarding the Demons
 the children are terrorized more and more.
The kids fear visualizing the demons
 near the compound wall and behind it
and behind the door too,
devovouring the houses without a care.
With the demons that reside inside the well
and turn delirious by the hour
the children spend their time
in hunger and horror.

The demons that spring from the seats of power and dominance
that dance in frenzy
rise up in full view of us and go out of sight.
With the Demonl reigning supreme the devils wander
With Devils on the throne the demons have a hay day.

In the street where the Demons wander in hunger unleashed
throats lie slit and cut.
The Demons that along with blood gulp words too
climb up the trees and hide themselves,
from where they shake everything along with
the land.
Demons that no mothers nor children had ever seen nor read
Oh these children are cursed to come face to face.


8.THE LAND BUTCHERED

A POEM BY Deebachelvan in Thamizh titled KOLAIYUNDA NILAM[கொலையுண்ட நிலம்]

After the entire stretch of Land has been captured
The roots of dreams are sought to be destroyed.
In walls pierced by shells
In houses eaten away by bombs
In fields demolished by aircrafts
Dream sprouts from wounds.

In the maimed land so barren
The tomb-stones of Buddha forcibly broken
and brought forth
become the walls.
With Poovarasam trees killed
Arasamaram is planted
the land which escapes the hand and is oozing out
The sleeping children
Grasp in their hands and retain
The land drenched -  oh, when will it dry?

Fences Walls and Roofs
grow differently
and annihilate the Land.
In this time when guns go grazing the land
the lives buried for the sake of Land
are on the verge of sprouting anew.

9.THE LONG PASSAGE AND A CUP OF TEA

A Poem by Deebachelvan in Thamizh titled
PERU VAZHIYUM ORU KOEPAI THAENEERUM’

In the long passage how many thousands of people
kept on moving…
None had cups
Time held the sorrows
Those who were returning and migrating _
what at all they could share?
The roads that spread across thousands of miles_
Wherefrom they were created and how?
In the town where nothing save the remains of destruction
exist
machines were sown.
At the end of endless wandering
the people had been mortgaged for a cup of water.
Mother remained all hungry
Loads became dried up
Turning weak, on the verge of falling down on her land
She asked for a cup of water;
And also,  a way out of the barbed wire.
In the night shrouding the Land,
from beyond a thousand miles
came I running, with a Cup of Tea.


10. CHILDREN ARE BEING BORN IN THE LAND THAT CAN’T BE
 DONE AWAY WITH

English Translation of Deepachelvan’s poem in Thamizh
 Titled  ‘ KOLLA MUDIYAADHA NAATTIL KUZHANDHAIGAL PIRAKKIRAARGAL

Yesterday also some children were born.
They cry
They laugh aloud, making a hell of a noise.
The children keep growing
The children view this Land
with their eyes.
Swinging and swaying their hands
they begin to walk with their legs
in the Land that cannot be done away with.
Even after a hundred-thousand had been dead and gone
the children of those maimed
are being born hale and healthy.
These children
start speaking straightaway.
Questions in thousands unasked by me
would gush forth out of them.
And they would see those aspects of life
that my eyes have failed to see.
They will earn their Liberty.
For, they are born as the seedlings of the
Land that cannot be done away with.

11.THE CHILDREN WILL BREAK THE CANNONS
 A poem in Thamizh by Deebachelvan titled
BEERANGIGALAI SIRUVARGAL MURIPPAARGAL
[பீரங்கிகளை சிறுவர்கள் முறிப்பார்கள்]
Guns and Cannons are collected
for children.
What do the guns intend to do?
They might either turn terribly exhausted and
fall upon the ground.
Or, turning all the more sharpened
they would tear off the faces.

It is you who insists on turning revolution into a
Weapon.
It is you who throws open the Field
that brings forth resistance and rebellion.
When it proves beyond you to contain and do away with
the rebellion and revolution
and you start oppressing the people
Revolution gushes forth in the streaming blood.
From the Land where we remain singing the Hymn of Life
oh, you alien forces-
When will you leave?
Oh, when will you choose to remove the shadow of your
arrogant power
that shrouds our very Life?

When the aged ones feeling all spent out
go past Time - shrunk and huddled
the small boys would grow into full-fledged adults
and break those guns and cannons that you have
brought along.
The whole lot of generations of this Soil
are being annihilated by war.
Oh, when will all these annihilations cease to be?

When destruction is forced upon our children
When once again annihilation-spree commences
This land of decay would tremble and writhe in pain.
Yet, when cannons and guns would be brought
to this Land
the boys would break them all, for sure.