Jottings about the lexicon/ a modern Tamil poem by Amirtharaj

(5-01-2000)/06-03-2005[these are versions and revisions of my translation drafts]Jottings about the lexicon/ AMIRTHA RAJ/ pp.36-37/Porkkanam.(Amirtharaj is an important voice of the 90s generation of Tamil poets. His crisp images and incisive language are quite mature. I have selected this poem from his first collection of poems. Amirtharaj’s recent collection is called Maha Kolam)

The uncreated lexicon
remained motionless
in the silent emptiness.

When the dot of light
that grew in the void
expanded into lips
the word flowered.


That same word
as root ran deep
in the earth’s splendrous face and sprouts
as millions of words.

Though the word is one
can be called as words.

Feeling that they are different
when the mind runs hither and thither amidst words
searching for sense
it does not know silence.

Beyond those words of the cosmic lexicon
the silence is all-knowing.

Like the secret exceeding beyond
the tip of the tongue
the lone door of light
leading to the awaiting silence-
It is in the first word.
Silence alone
is meaning
in entirity.

Translated from Tamil by Rajaram Brammarajan