Tamil Tiger parade in in Killinochchi, 2002. Wikimedia commons

Learn the introduction by Meena Kandasamy right here.

Captain Vaanati | Captain Kasturi | Aatilatchumi | Lil Milagro Ramírez | Nibha Shah

Get Prepared for Battle
Captain Vaanati, trans. Meena Kandasamy

You, who've turn into
a refugee in your kitchen,
due to the storm of patriarchy
You, waging a silent warfare with fireplace!
Prepare, and are available!

Let your self-confidence develop
and your braveness too.
Do you've got any freedom
to behave in your ideas
and your wishes?

Household life doesn't exist
for the have-nots now.
That is what has continued
into the 20th century.

Just like the goals of somebody mute,
your feelings now run silent.
You sob within the kitchen
as you might be being rapped.
Prepare, and are available away.
Allow us to create a brand new period,
within the shadow of the weapons
we now carry.

Once we get nationwide freedom
that we need so deeply,
we'll construct the tomb
for girls’s exploitation.
We'll dig the graves
for society’s backward concepts.

For this revolution tomorrow,
it's essential to come at present.

Look! There, in a flood of blood,
your sister holding her gun out to you.
Take her weapon.
Stroll in her footsteps.


She, the Lady of Tamil Eelam
Captain Vaanati, trans. Meena Kandasamy

Not the crimson dot of the kunkumam
however blood decorates her brow.
You don't see the sweetness
of youth in her eyes, solely
the gravestones of the lifeless.
Her lips don’t utter ineffective babble
as a substitute, the vows of martyrs.
On her neck, she wears not the thaali,
that marker of marriage,
however sports activities a cyanide capsule.
She embraces not males
however her weapons.
Her legs don't wander in search
of her family members, however in direction of
the liberation of Tamil Eelam.
The bullets from her gun
will destroy the enemy.
It can break the shackles.
after which, our folks
will sing our nationwide anthem.


The Unwritten Poem
Captain Vaanati, trans. Meena Kandasamy

my poem
that I go away
with out writing

I'm unable to write down
the numerous, many ideas that come . . .
My gun is standing on the border
I'm unable to come back away
so, write,
write my unwritten poem.

Behind the fierce gun
my physique could be decimated
however my feelings won't.
They may make you assume.
Then, write,
write my unwritten poem.

In our liberated land
when our memorials are constructed
they don't seem to be to your tears,
they don't seem to be to your wreaths.
They exist so that you just keep
decided to respiratory
new life into our land.
So, please write,
write my unwritten poem.

After my significant demise,
you'll come to tour round
the acknowledged nation of Tamil Eelam.
Then, my unwritten poem
will get up in entrance of you.

Look into my unwritten poem
and you will notice those that knew me,
and those that understood me,
and those that cared for me
and those that beloved me,
all of them.

There, not solely me,
however all of the martyrs
will see you, and
joyfully smile.


Tea Baskets
Captain Kasturi, trans. Meena Kandasamy

Having hung the hampers
of tea leaves over an
exploitative stability,
these tea vegetation
yearn for a cup of tea.

When will there come a day,
the place, marching as fire-gods
they torch away their sufferings?


Captain Kasturi, trans. Meena Kandasamy

so as
to surge forward,
you torture others.
When your energy can be probed,
it is going to be clear that growing nations
have been pushed to destitution by you.
So that you can create a historical past on the moon
you strip and pillage and disgrace lands.

Your coming solely will increase
poverty and famine.

The Crimson Cross of your land
doesn't collect the wounded,
they're solely into stock.
Your nation’s researchers
tabulate the statistics of deaths
alongside shares.
These peace-loving nations
who've brokered offers with you
have entered our land
and solely birthed troubles.
As your airports develop
is it not our little huts which can be set on fireplace?

You tactfully enter peaceable nations
minimize their flourishing roots
and pour water on the stalks
so they don't seem lifeless.
Most frequently, your interventions
have left behind solely scorched earth.
The AIDS that you just unfold will not be even pure.
even wind and rain now suspect you.

You're the worldwide terrorists
going to say possession
of the factitious hurricanes
that you'll create!


Reminiscences Spreading Out within the Shade
Aatilatchumi, trans. Meena Kandasamy

Below that tamarind tree,
that’s the place the grandfather
promoting ice-cream used to face.
In entrance, this broad playground
that’s the place we performed
drunk up on all of the mud.
Within the north-west of the bottom
the place you see Vairavar’s trident
we used to take away our slippers
for safekeeping.
We might hold our faculty luggage
on the tamarind tree.
We threw stones on the cows
coming to graze in our playground.
Silently witnessing all this,
the school-building stood inanimate
constructed on our village funds
a one-storey, haphazard construction.

Right here is the place
the Indian Military lived.
They broke the chairs
the tables, the home windows
They made chappatis.
They minimize down coconut bushes
that encircled the varsity
turned them into barricades.

All the pieces is now a dream
lots of my buddies
at the moment are on the battleground.
A number of of them, in graveyards.
Me alone, with a pen in hand, a poet.


Wiping Away Tears
Aatilatchumi, trans. Meena Kandasamy

Amma Krishanthi!
After I consider what occurred to you
I’m full of dread
my stomach is on fireplace.

State radio, state newspapers lie:
‘Tamil lives are flourishing’

In Valikaamam,
your life has been snatched away
you've got been denied the suitable to stay.

Do you bear in mind, amma?
Some time in the past, the military claimed
to have rescued a trainer who by chance fell right into a effectively.

It's the similar military that vandalized

  • Ranjani in Urumpiriya

  • Raajini in Kondavil

  • You in Kaiththadi.

Killed you, buried you.
You, a schoolgirl who was raped.
Having feasted on you, the beasts laughed,
you can not even shout.
You have been battling demise—
what did you assume, amma
as your eyes fastened themselves
on the sky and grew nonetheless?

They are saying, off-handedly,
your demise was a conspiracy
towards the military. That's not true.
You recognize that, the world is aware of too.
Reality by no means sleeps inside a grave.

Contemporary flower, you have been torn to shreds.
We wipe our tears
and strengthen our resolve.
Allow them to understand
we aren't slaves
to state terrorism.


Of Man
Lil Milagro Ramírez, trans. Jessica Rainey

In despair
a person prepares tomorrow’s discipline.

Let flags and doves fly
from the smallest home,
from the toughest coronary heart.

Distribute the seed, warrior,
for the time to sow is right here.


We'll sow
by drive if we should,
we'll plough the ever-fertile earth,
we'll scatter seeds
throughout the widest furrow,
we'll sow.

We'll combat
till lit up by smiles,
till it's our future
for hope to seek out peace,
we'll combat
till we stand, after which,
we'll construct,
so we will stay,
can hand down
the earth to our offspring.

Clay will floor
from far beneath
and we'll construct.


Of Time
Lil Milagro Ramírez, trans. Jessica Rainey

Love the shadows,
they may prevent from demise,
love the night time that hides you,
love the darkness,
however don’t overlook, my good friend,
those that don’t treasure the celebs
received’t see the sunshine when it rises.


That is the night time of the fated.
I'm awake, huddling anxiousness,
heavy within the shadows of despair.
I await nonetheless
the arrival
of a single phrase.


I lose my approach within the gentle, backtrack
to the mirror of dazzling days.
I search oblivion
however each shadow is a entice set for me.
I hear of a lake dying of thirst,
recall tales of wingless birds.
Behind me stays
the mud of the yellow hours.


I come from a metropolis the place typically
we've got very clear evenings
– solely typically.
Now I do know why
I don’t wish to discern
the color of vultures’ wings
nor wish to share the sunshine
with those that received’t
let males smile.
Of all our lifeless you

Of all our lifeless you
on the entrance line
stood your floor.
Eternally on the entrance
they will by no means now
shoot you down,
demise is your triumph.

Your gestures, ever impatient,
your youth, your voice,
stick with us,
however your fight title
belongs to historical past,
eternity embraced you
as a soldier.

You died
as males of conscience ought to die,
with out flowers,
your unnamed physique
coated quietly by the earth.
However right here there aren't any tears,
right here the opening
          left by our lifeless
needs to be stuffed preventing.


Nibha Shah, trans. Muna Gurung

Kaili who didn’t see the solar on chilly days
Kaili who didn’t sit underneath a tree on sizzling days
Kaili who by no means heard candy phrases slip from any mouth
When she falls sick, Kaili turns into her personal mom
Boils water and feeds herself
She turns into her personal daughter, that Kaili
She loves herself
Kaili has a coronary heart that loves
Kaili loves everybody.

Kaili who didn’t see her mom’s face
who didn’t see her father’s face
Somebody offered her mom someplace
Somebody took her father someplace
Kaili who was raised by her grandmother,
Kaili of the small hut.

When her grandmother handed away
She was on their lonesome
Generally Kaili took goats to graze
Generally she took sheep to graze
She grew to become a shepherd
Then the shepherd grew a bit of older
And began gathering firewood from the forest
However nobody can stay by promoting wooden
So she broke bigger rocks into smaller rocks, and
sifted sand at development websites
She labours, Kaili
She does no matter work she will be able to get, Kaili,
In spite of everything, she is a labourer
to graze, to gather wooden, to interrupt rocks
no matter it's, no matter she will be able to do.
Kaili’s small hut by no means leaves her
Kaili’s rags by no means go away her
Kaili’s starvation by no means leaves her
When she runs a fever, she doesn’t discover paracetamol, Kaili
She solely drinks sizzling water, Kaili
That is Kaili’s life.

However Kaili is starting to grasp
Why her grandmother’s life
by no means stretched from three bitta to 4
Why her personal life
by no means spans past three bitta to 4
Kaili is measuring in bitta
Kaili who measures in bitta
Begins to menstruate
Turns into pregnant
From Kaili’s womb rises the revolution, inquilab,
Inquilab jindabaad.

(2005, Western Command, Nepal)


Nibha Shah, trans. Muna Gurung

Individuals solely noticed the tree fall.
Who noticed the nest of the little chook fall?
Poor factor!
A house she constructed one twig at a time
Who noticed the tears in her eyes?
Even when they noticed her tears, who understood her ache?

The chook didn’t surrender,
didn’t cease hoping
didn’t cease flying
slightly, she left her previous house
to create a brand new one, gathering once more
one twig, one other twig.
She is constructing her nest in a redwood
She is guarding her eggs

The chook didn’t know how you can lose

She spreads flight into new skies
She spreads flight into new skies

(Dec 30, 2005, Western Command, Nepal)


Nibha Shah, trans. Muna Gurung

We wish
eyes to open:
eyes will open
We wish to stay free:
Who can cage us?

We have a look at the faces of
gentle and darkness–
gentle pierces darkness.

Your partitions couldn’t cage us
Even contained in the jail, we continued to fly
carrying feathers of concepts,
Even contained in the jail, we continued to burn
with the sunshine of religion
Now say, the place will you cage us?

Your handcuffs and nails couldn’t cage us
Your beatings couldn’t shrink us
We tore into shreds your
types for give up
We signed off in your
normal procedures for demise
Now say, the place will you cage us?

(2002, Central Jail, Kathmandu, Nepal)


In regards to the Translators

Muna Gurung is a author, translator and educator primarily based in Kathmandu, Nepal. She acquired her MFA from Columbia College, the place she was a instructing fellow. Her fiction, non-fiction and translated works have appeared in The Margins, Himal Southasian, Phrases With out Borders, Roads&Kingdoms, La.Lit, The Document and No Tokens. Working intently with Nepali illustrators and writers, she has additionally edited and helped create a handful of kids’s books. Muna writes a month-to-month column for Nepali Occasions known as Lightroom Dialog, the place she interviews ladies and queer writers within the Nepali literary scene. She is the founding father of KathaSatha. When not write or instructing, Muna runs an inter-generational pickle firm together with her mom known as ĀMĀKO.

Meena Kandasamy is a poet, novelist and translator who divides her time between London and Tamil Nadu. Her newest novel is Beautiful Cadavers.

Jessica Rainey interprets from Spanish and French. Her literary translations embrace a up to date Spanish play, Run!, by Yolanda García Serrano (Cervantes Theatre, 2019), a Salvadoran poetry assortment, Thirty Days A Widow, by Tania Pleitez Vela (Crimson Ceilings Press, 2014), and contributions to numerous poetry and brief story anthologies, together with Vanishing Factors and Theatre Below My Pores and skin (Editorial Kalina, 2017 & 2014). In 2015, she was awarded the Poetry Translation Mentorship from the British Centre for Literary Translation. She has participated in quite a few literary translation occasions, amongst them, Protest Poets in Translation on the Southbank Centre in London (2015) and Translation as Collaboration at Newcastle College (2017). Jessica at the moment teaches translation on the MA programmes at each Durham and Newcastle Universities.