Poems by Mariappan V

A handful of ash

a poem by Mariappan V

At ten, I gave you a few words
And returned to you at fifteen
To ask about them.

You said you’re keeping them
In your teeming tresses
Hidden as the meaning of
Scriptures or as flowers
A widow kisses in her
Desolate dream, away from
The glare of galling daytime.

Again, at twenty, I came back
To get back the words whose
Ownership was almost forgotten.

I will return them
When you return, you said,
Leaving me in the quicksand
Of a quivering mystery…

One night splashing with
tears of torn skies,
I was returning from the
Graveyard, hands full of your
Ashes your words or mine
Are breathing…

Music by Moonlight

a poem by Mariappan V

Like a mad, forlorn woman with her babe
In arms, walking drowsily and uttering
Neurotic syllables of death
In a remote forest on the border
Of some unknown planets…
I stagger along the desert, drinking
The sorrowful wine of moonlit night,
With broken dreams bundled up
On my back…
The destination not known,
The destiny not having set any milestone,
The journey goes on… on… on…
The hope which once was a giant when I was young
Has now become a dwarf, leaving behind bloody stain for me to walk on…

The angels, which once used to
Embrace me with their enigmatic
And eerie wings, look before me
With teeth stained with blood of my dreams
Protrudingly staring at me…

Setting me on this journey,
Spurning me, my dreams, my hopes,
Spitting on my life, however,
She sleeps in the cosy comfort


a poem by Mariappan V

I have given my address to none,
For fear that letters will
Kidnap the forest of my loneliness.

Returning one night
Weary and woe-drunk,
I found a letter at the
My address written in
A familiar handwriting
Too familiar to sink
Into oblivion…

Tearing open the letter, with
Tears slowly searing my eyes,
I found the letter slapping my face with
A terrific silence, an absence of language
A mysterious emptiness…
In the place of words are swelling
The agony, the search, the lonely
Voice of an angel filling its
Dwelling with depths of death
In some far-away hell…

Cobweb of Night

a poem by Mariappan V

In a room where
loneliness and me
were left alone
at the peak of grief
the sound of the midnight
silence oozing quietly
like the drops of semen…

The dreams dead and
the hopes aged
hover around
dancing like ghosts…

Like the terror of the
garments the dead
have left behind,
the ticking clock
dissects the night into
mysterious monosyllables
carrying the
melodies of the mighty devil…

The sorrow sits heavily
on the shoulders
like the dog dreaming and drowsy
after lapping up sewage water…

The door is kept ajar
yet ye peep through the window.
But, to hide from your
secret eyes,
I have nothing on
but nakedness.

I’m sleeping in your grave

a poem by Mariappan V

When I returned home
after burying you in
the moon-lit grave,
I found myself
inadvertently buried.

And I found you wide awake
in my room, smiling a smile
that only a death-proof
angel can smile, the face
lighting up like a dream
of a cuckoo sleeping on the
dew-laden roses in a drowsy evening.

As the clouds hanging from
an intoxicated sky, your
lips moved, releasing,
like a rain in slow motion,
a few words that seemed to
ask me: “Where have you been?”

The mysterious night sitting
heavily on my eyes, I feebly said:
“I went to attend my funeral”.

“But how can you sleep
in my grave”, you asked.

“If you are sleeping
in my bed,
can’t I sleep in your grave”.

The Friendship is not dead, though you are!

a poem by Mariappan V

Seeing the tank,
a square prisoner,
in the middle of the
town, I find the
water transferred
to my eyes…

A witness to our
past togetherness
breathing freedom,
today, the tank
slaps my face with
your absence from the earth!

In the dew-laden nights
shivering with cold winds,
we dried up our spirits’
sweat with fans of sweet
words, love-bearing words
and dreaming words…

Our friendship had
thousands of lips
waxing against the
waning time!

We kept on talking
about dreams and poetry
youth was made of…

The tank’s water
listened and glistened
with moonish colour,
reflecting our
youthful days
pure as mother’s milk!

We discussed life,
putting behind ourselves
our lives!

We dreamt a dream
with the four eyes!

You described the
moon-laden night as
‘one-eyed angel’

“Rather than to the
human ears,
I will recite poems
to the winds”,
you said.


You died like a great
poet, not writing
a single line of poetry!

The God turned an Atheist

a poem by Mariappan V

When the God was declared dead,
The wolf with a bloody
history-soaked tongue,
desiring to devour the
Divine Corpse,
leaped out into the open.

The widowed Truth
shedding sterile tears
which do not embalm
the Immortal Corpse,
The wolf started feeding
on the Heavenly Food
With the forked tongue,
reciting ‘prayers’ with relish!

With the rivers no more
singing sweet hymns,
with the flowers no more
blossoming with bliss,
with the sun, moon and
stars turning blind,
the wolf, standing at the
summit as a bodied joy,
gloated over the universe
Now totally left to itself.

Like the first dream
bubbling in the angelic
eyes of a newborn child,
the mystery kept swirling around:
Some researching souls
declared: An animal
killed Him-
with the weapons
sharpened by the
tears of the downtrodden and the
smiles of the devil’s disciples!

The animal with the
crime-smeared smile,
said: “We killed the God
with the poison squeezed out of
Our Six Senses.
We killed Him because

My Death Bed

a poem by Mariappan V

The sorrow, like a wintry night,
Descends on me and devours me;
At my doorstep is the hound of death
With a hungry tongue and lethal teeth.

In me slowly melting is the sky
Littered with dreams of stars,
The life oozing out of the body
Like an old man’s stammering urine.

The flowers, the thorns, the breeze,
The streams, the stars, showers freeze:
In my drowsy mind they become dim,
In the river of amnesia they swim.

Life as a mute song and a dumb dream
Flowed like a waterless stream,
And now finally has come death
With a warrant to arrest the breath.

Closed are my grief-drunk eyes, at last,
The breath, as a sprinter, runs out fast.
And indeed waking up am I now
As if from a thorn-studded dream.

A Vocation that never was

a poem by Mariappan V

My words in the best order
Are waiting for your ears;
You came; the words lost odour;
You went, leaving them in tears.

Like the sun bleeding in the west,
My words are knocking at your door!
Like the birds long longing for a nest
My words waiting became sour.

Your ears came out to receive words
And yet my words turn mute;
You said mine are dead birds
And went back, paying no tribute.

To reach your ears is my vocation,
Yet my words stagger and stumble.
Ill-trained words waste occasion,
Ill-nourished do they tremble.

God is Deaf and Dumb

a poem by Mariappan V

Poor He!
The God is deaf and dumb!
or else he could have spurted out
poisonous words at the faces
of those whose lips are soaked
with the blood of the brethren!
Kneeling down before him,
they murmur prayers…
the prayers having ill-odour
of the corpses they have left
behind before visiting place of worship…
But! Oh! He is deaf and dumb…
He neither speaks out
nor hears their inner words
whirling around in their hearts…
Like the night frozen with the
tears of stars, without are waiting
several Gods with begging bowls…
they are mortal Gods with
flesh and blood rotten…
Lining up are they, denied
access to the Almighty’s altar…
The saliva the society has
coughed out…they are…
Yet the God is deaf and dumb…

One day, by body language,
He asks for a better place to sleep in!
At least, a coffin…
for the human hearts he once dwelled in
have become so much infested with
the mosquitoes of caste, creed and what not!

The song of a Mad Singer

a poem by Mariappan V

…so, you’ve closed your eyelids
for ever… taking away the breath
from my songs and filling the lungs
of death with it all…
As if you had had enough of
charming the earth with your
eyes, ears, hands and feet…
You’ve moved over to heaven
to continue enchanting…
The whispers you poured
into the lonely moon…
the breath you infused the
orphaned flowers with…
the anklets you’ve
changed dewdrops into…
the music your light touches
brought out from the dead logs…
the ‘live man’ that you
transformed this dead being

All these now, all these no
were bereft of the
essential ‘YOU’…
Lying my head in the secret
lap of mysteriously sad night,
my eyes filling up with
the ‘sweat of sorrow’…
I lie silently, dreaming
a dream of joining your
heavenly dreams…

The song of a Courtesan

a poem by Mariappan V

Squeezing the lust-laden nights
I drink the juice of my livelihood…
with dreams in coma, with dignity in grave,
I breath an air of death…
Mine is a tale writ on streams
running here, there, and nowhere
nobody cares to catch it, sit
and read it… rather they
visit me in the dead of night
write their own tale on my body
and go, sinking me into the
oblivion of their memory…
Like the petals of rose
raped by the cruel hands of storm,
lying I am, breathing an air
of death…

That day, the rain was reddish

a poem by Mariappan V

That day it was raining
when you kept stabbing me
with the words breathing fire

That day it was raining…
the heaven’s teardrops
turning pearls of blood
when your words outpoured
the rain, pored and gored me…

That day it was raining
with the moon having
committed suicide, scared at
the fire-soaked words you’re
going to murder me with…

That day it was raining
you fully drenched
yet hot inside
me too wet fully
and yet burning in
the pyre of words…

That day it was raining…
After the heavy pouring,
you and the rain left,
With the remnants of
the rain and your words
still raining on my corpse…

The Song of the Blind Man

a poem by Mariappan V

To be blind is blessed
for non-seeing is not
so painful as seeing.
My stick is my eyes
and the sound my glances…
Like the dusk masked with
twilight robbing the day
of its lights, rustle and bustle,
and giving the night, its child,
the stolen charms, covered with blindness,
I delve deep into myself
and give the mind whatever
my eyes have been robbed of…
To be blind is blessed…
the sunbeams, the moonshine,
and the ugly wrinkles
on the foes’ furrowed brows…
do not hurt my eyes…
Being perennially in the dark
my mind breathes colourful lights
and keeps me blessed for ever.
To be blind is blessed…

The Immortal Corpse

a poem by Mariappan V

The corpse lies silent.
everywhere does it,
uncared for, unsung
and unhonoured.

Thronged by too many religions,
too many rules, rituals…
too many sinners’ enjoyed sins…
He was long gasping for breath.

His last breaths punched
the ozone layer…
Peopled by dazzling
dreams, His eyes now
lie vacant, staring deep
into nothing…
Once put on the pedestal,
showered with sweet flowers,
Painful souls lying soothed
in the bower of His feet,
He reigned supreme,
His songs spreading wings
all over the universe…
And now… now,
When thousands of stained hands
shook His hands soft as the Heaven’s air,
when thousands of mortal feet
rushed and dethroned Him,
when thousands of songs of flesh
thundered His Kingdom out,
He was robbed of his breath…
The corpse lies silent,
everywhere does it,
uncared for, unsung, unhonoured…
The moon, stars, sun,
breeze, streams, birds,
animals are searching
for a grave for
the immortal corpse…