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.

Rabbit Farming— A Malayalam Poem by R Sangeetha

Sep 23, 2022 | Poetry | 0 comments

Translated from the Malayalam by Nithya Mariam John 
Rabbit Farming 

So, I was talking about 
what we’d been engaged in
for the past many years—
the art of rearing rabbits.

When you chose the role of protector,
I was conformed to that of the nurturer.
I grew scutch grass, carrots, and tender feed. 
I also made a grassy mat for them to mate.
You strengthened the boundaries with four thorny fences,
dug pits to catch the ones which might try to escape,
taught them about limits from the time they opened their eyes,
walked through their slumber, and numbered their dreams.

When I sketched a river,
you drew the fangs which died of thirst.
When I painted a tree,
you exposed the ancient scars on the wood.
When I drew birds,
you pointed out the distance.

Yesterday I was banished from there.
The crime was that
I’d narrated the story of the forest
to three missing rabbits.

The original was published in Madhyamam magazine , in January 2019.

Also, read a short story by Tamil writer, Akilan , translated to English by Dr. S. Vincent, published in The Antonym

Then The Flood Came— Akilan

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R Sangeetha is a poet and translator from Kerala who has published two collections of poems titled Ottaykkoraal Kadal Varaykkunnu (2016) and Kaatine Meykkunna Penkutty (2022). Her poems have appeared in many regional magazines and a few of those have been translated into Tamil and Telugu. 


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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