Writing In the Air by R. Charan

BOMB 40 Summer 1992
040 Summer 1992

There are too few words
and in them
an immense silence is frozen.

Before my lips
and your nipples
could dry
an entire morning was spent

The flowers of the ‘mullmurukku’
with summer turn red,
Over its leafless top
sparrows come to perch
without their mates

‘send me two sparrows’
you say.
The male, a piece
of straw in its beak,
has gone to build its nest,
The female skirmishes
with the mirror
in the corridor
How then can I send them to you?

I cannot rely
on these butterflies.
After loving in mid-air
in the morning
they lose vitality
and wings a-flutter
gasp for breath
under a jasmine creeper,
How can they bear
the burden of my sorrow to you?

Your home is not far off.
I would like to come there myself
but for that invisible wall

the iron boulder
standing on flames
for ages,
Why wait
until it melts?.

Under the shade of a tree
near the cool pond
a house stands.
It is neither yours;
nor mine; Ours.

Translations by the author, Indran Amirthanayagam and others.

R. Charan is a Tamil poet whose work has been published in Sri Lanka, India, and Canada. A former newspaper editor in Jaffna, he is now affiliated with the International Center For Ethnic Studies in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Two Poems by Indran Amirthanayagam
I. by Sivaramani

In the evenings
all burdens
weigh heavy

Indran Amirthanayagam and Adam Zameenzad
Amirthanayagam 01 Body

“Writing a novel requires a lot of digging out, chucking away, selecting, molding, shaping, and reshaping of all the above; and then hoping for the best.”

Sri Lankan Poetry by Indran Amirthanayagam

What follows is a small selection of modern poetry from Sri Lanka—a selection designed for some imaginary capsule, to be packed in with the American Beats, the librarian Larkin, Neruda the Captain, Paz the writer of silences, Popa the puppeteer, and Plath and Bishop and Walcott and, of course, many others.

Originally published in

BOMB 40, Summer 1992

Featuring interviews with Reno, Derek Walcott, Neal Jimenez & Eric Stoltz, George Condo, Louis Kahn, Camille Billops, Darius James, Michael Jenkins, and Joe Mantello.

Read the issue
040 Summer 1992