Bridge to Global Literature

Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

A Poetic Lave— A Malayalam Poem by Anna Joy

Nov 3, 2022 | Poetry | 0 comments

Translated from the Malayalam by Nithya Mariam John 


The shower was on,
and I was ruminating on the poem.
That tiny frog
which sat nonchalantly on the bathroom pipe,
croaked at me the first verse.

As I bathed, thinking again and again about the poem,
the moonlight threw at me the second line
over the door and retreated to the sky.

As I wiped the second line and placed it under the first one,
night rain, holding on to the arm of the wind,
pitter-pattered in
and shed a line, then coyly left.
The banana stalk in the yard,
touched the back of my neck gently,
with another verse, dripping in dew.

I was busily washing myself and
still contemplating the poem,
when the coffee-jasmine fragrance wafted in
and wrote many lines on my damp body, from top to bottom.
This feast of lines
side-lined the scent of soap, which hit the heart
with a song.

By the time I remembered
that I had started bathing thinking about the poem,
it was all done!

As if in answer to my anxious heart which wondered
if it was the shower or the poem that was over,
a sequel of laughter erupted,
from inside my wet and hairy forest.

Read another Malayalam poem by R Sangeetha, translated into English by Nithya Mariam John, and published in The Antonym:

Rabbit Farming— A Malayalam Poem by R Sangeetha

Also, read three Hindi poems by Shrikant Verma , translated into English by Purbasha Roy, and published in The Antonym

Realization & Other Poems— Shrikant Verma

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Anna Joy is an emerging young poet from Valamboor, Kerala. Her poems have been published in leading magazines in Malayalam including Mathrubhoomi, Kalakaumudi, and Ezhuth. She is a research scholar at Kerala University and pursues her passion for Malayalam Literature with her writings and readings.


Nithya Mariam John is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and translator from Kerala, India. Apart from the published three short collections of poems, her scribblings are housed in Sahitya Akademi’s Indian Literature, The Alipore Post, Borderless, Gulmohar quarterly, Hyderabad Literature Festival-Khabar, Muse India, The Samyuktha Poetry, Malayalam Literature Survey, Ink-Kochi, Usawa Literary Review, Sanglap, DoubleSpeak, Last Leaves, Qissa and Muddy River Review. Her poems have been translated and published in Odiya. A few have been translated into Malayalam and Tamil. She has translated writers including Unni R, Shahina E K, Anju Sajith, and Gracy into English. She is currently finishing off the translation of Annie Vallikkappen’s novel Kavalkkari into English and working on a collection of stories in translation. When not writing, weaving on the loom, or experimenting with pottery, she loves to converse on life, art, and literature with her students at BCM College for Women, Kerala, India.


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