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A Speech for A Dictator / Three Poems by Ganesh Puthur

Three Poems by Ganesh Puthur (Recipient of Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar in Malayalam language, 2023)

Ganesh Puthur

A Speech for a Dictator

One day

I will write a speech for a dictator

With a lot of commas

Where he shall pause in grief

for all the blood he has on his hands.

A podium with sharp legs shall be erected

For him to speak,

Piercing into the flesh of innocents he had massacred.

His fellow countrymen will stand in disbelief,

Somebody should be murmuring

“He is either hallucinating us or

Just another lie from the devil”.

When the dictator

Starts speaking like a human and not a beast

For the very first time,

Roses will bloom from the barrel of long guns

Instead of bullets that it spitted throughout the years.

A gusty wind will break all the prison gates

With a loud voice as high as a striking thunder

Erasing darkness from the isolated compound

And the bells of liberty will ring

From the furnace of captivity.

All the CCTV cameras will stop recording

And no eyes behind the screens will stare

At the children passing by a restricted enclave.

No sirens will beam when

A young man draws graffiti at the subway.

Generations will hear the word ‘freedom’

For the first time.

They will stand still in disbelief

With the memories of tyranny flashing through their minds.

The dictator will stand on the stage

Feeling nothingness over his head and hand.

The prevailing silence is now gently disturbed

by the pigeons freed from a giant cage

somewhere in the countryside.

Vembanad Lake and My Grandmother

I had to take a ferry to cross the Vembanad* lake

Every time to see my grandmother

Who lived in the interiors of Vaikom

Which remains untraceable on any map till the date.

She always chewed betel leaves and

Kept a Kolambi near her.

I always loved to travel in the ferry,

To sit and watch the tides,

To feel the breeze,

To peel off the skin of hot nuts and chew it.

But my old Grandmother never had a chance

To even come outside her house for years.

My grandmother gave us upperi and murukk

During the short duration of our visit.

She was always enveloped in the smell of herb oil

She hugged me and a drop of tear fell from her eyes,

Just before I left her on my last visit.

That night, she breathed her last.

When her pyre was set on fire,

I could hear her calling my name with all the affection.

My grandmother's ashes are immersed in the same Vembanad lake.

Now I need not cross the lake to see her.

I can talk to her

Standing by the shores of my side of the lake.

* Vembanad Lake - A lake in Kerala flowing through Alappuzha, Kottayam and Ernakulam Districts

* Vaikom - A place in Kottayam district

* Kolambi - a bowl made of brass used by people who chew betel leaves to spit its juice.

* Upperi - Banana chips

* Muruk - A snack made from rice flour

I look at You

I look at you without you

Knowing that I look at you.

Just like leaves falling from the branches of chinar

And a breeze passing by,

And the gentle touch before it lands on the ground.

Just like rainbows appearing in the sky

After a drizzle that makes the flowers of my garden wet,

And a butterfly dawdling through its petals.

You smile like you have stars

Hidden deep inside your eyes,

And dance like thunder unfurling from the clouds.

Just like a glimmer of light in the darkness

And nightingales crooning hymns of dejection

When a wanderer travels through his solitary pavement.

I look at you without you

knowing that I look at you,

Because now our eyes meet rarely

And silence defines our remembrance…



Ganesh Puthur

Ganesh Puthur, a bilingual poet in Malayalam and English, is a recipient of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar (2023). He has published two anthologies of poetry in Malayalam, "Achante Alamara" and "Amma Varakkunna Veedu," and his English poems have appeared in esteemed publications like The Muse India and the Borderless Journal. A native of Kerala, Ganesh also holds a Masters degree in History from the University of Hyderabad.

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