Between the Nectar and the Poison

The bird decided
to return from Utopia
when it could reach nowhere
after flying all its life.
If you have a place
to return to, you are free.

But where will the bird
return today?
There are hunters
waiting with invisible nets
There are those calling you
with the same-feather principle

There are those waiting
at the mast of poetry
to turn you into a flag of solitude.
There is daylight on the canvas
and a branch to roost on.
The finger and the brush are as alert as ever.

Where will the bird return
To whose dining table
as a favourite dish?
To the hymn of which Un-God?
To the cage of which pavement astrologer?
On which branch will
the bird returning from
Utopia roost?


The dusk hadn’t come calling.
Nor was it sure where it was going.
Still the bird set out
on its return trip.

Like moonlight which is in no panic
to prove anything in particular
like a new flame rising gently
from the embers of life
the bird arrived
on the floating language of inertia
between the flight and the fall
crossing the idle orbits between
the sun and the earth
it roosted on a timid branch
of my joy.


Between heaven and hell
in the present, lies
my meaning.
Between nectar and poison
in the fruit, lies
my food.
Between tears and dreams
in night, lies
my nest.

Thus grew the bird-thoughts
feathers in multi-dimensions
eyes in several worlds
lips moving in many songs
the ballad of the rain
sung in the cool length of
flowing rivers.

All this carried bird-ness
to my soul and consoled
the unfamiliar gardens
within me.
All is perfection.


a wing that cools the road
from the unknown heights of memory
A song that rains on the waste land
of the world coming from the depths of blood
voiced compassion
the private spring of life
a fragrant gate to the primordial
forest of knowledge, for the soul.
These and other dreams were mine.


Head gently tilted
ear cocked, attentive far-off
to some message.

A sudden jerk as if the hunter
who has set a trap
forgetting the legend of the bird’s sorrow
and the first poem,
has been sighted

And the final flight and disappearance
into clouds
over the fields where I cultivated
the polarities of joy/ sorrow, past/ present
All in absolute perfection
That is,
the stone
the sling
the arrow
and devotion to Rama in
the epic of the birdsong
the cloying words spoken in the garden of romance
and flesh-dreams
I could not transplant my
humanity into the bird
Nor could I ever sleep again like a child.

Translator's Note: epic of the birdsong: Ezhuthacchan’s epic "Adhyatma Ramayanam Kilippattu" which invokes a parrot as his Muse: “kilippattu” literally means “ the song of the bird”. Ezhuthachan is considered the first major poet of Malayalam.