‘Avva’ translated by K.V. Tirumalesh
Like a wild bear
She tended her children,
Cared for her husband and cared for the money.
She would howl like a hurt dog,
Groan and fight.
Mean, crooked and fretful like a monkey,
Guided only by the welfare of the family,
She would be a fury
If her son went out of her hand
Or husband went after another woman.
The jungle bear doesn’t want your scriptures;
My mother lived for a few morsels of food;
For work and for her children’s sake,
For a roof to live under,
For a sheet to cover,
For that upright walk
Among her equals.
For her are these tears of gratitude
And admiration – for bringing me up.
Bringing me to life
And for that departing – as if
It were to the fields that she went
This woman of the earth.
(Kavi Bharati- Triennial of Indian Poetry, March 1987.)