Three Poems by Indran Amirthanayagam






Meditation Under the Tree

I think of you at every moment
of the day even if there are others
in the world, other wars to fix.

It is always like this, inspiration
takes blood, sweat, absolute
compromise until love arrives

because we are exhausted from
running fast, pressed in the course
that life sets. Stop already. Take

a breath. We are there even if
in our heads we visited the country
without a hat, even if obsession

with love flourishes in your poem
because the poet maudit must write
about the flower wilted, punched,

destroyed. Or perhaps one can change
themes like a lizard its skin. I sit
in the leaves of the tree. I am waiting

for you. Nobody can see me
except you; because
I think I see you still.

Meditasyon anba pye bwa

Map panse a ou chak moman
nan lajounen men gen lòt moun
nan monn, gen lòt lagè pou n ranje.

Se toujou konsa, enspirasyon
pran san, swe, konpromi absoli
jiskaske lanmou pral rive,

paske nou bouke pou kouri
vit prese nan kous lavi dirije.
Pare deja. Pran souf.

Nou la menm si nan tèt
nou te ale vizite peyi san chapo,
menm si obsesyon lanmou fleri

nan powèm ou paske
powèt modi dwe ekri
sou flè fane, bouke, detwi.

Oubyen petèt nou ka chanje tèm
tankou yon zandolit chanje po li.
M nan fêy pyebwa,

Map tann ou. 
Pyès moun pa ka wè m sof oumen 
paske m panse wè w toujou.


Jesula would come
every other day to wash
my clothes and prepare
my food, dishes spiced
with chilies from my island.

When she washed
by hand she took care
with the beauty of each cloth.
When she finished ironing
they became like they were
on the first day I found them.

Jesula, you know
the bicycle my little boy
would ride. You can
take it now. The fact
that your son will ride

the bike means
that life will go on
and my goodbye
take place
in peace, unafraid.


Jesula vini chak de jou pou fè manje
epi fè lesiv pou mwen
yon manje epise ak piman 
zile mwen,

Lè li lave rad ak men l
li fe atansyon a bote twal la.
Lè li fin pase'l li tounen
tankou premye jou mwen te jwenn li.

Jesula, ou konnen
bekann pitit mwen te monte a. 
Kounye a ou ka pran li.
kounya pitit ou pral monte l
sa vle di lavi pral kontinye.
De pa mwen pral fè
nan lapè san pè.


There is a limit. You talk
too much. For several weeks
the same agitation, too much
insecurity. You don't have 
a passport, a visa. But each 
day you can ask for documents.
You must stop the excuses.
Make a gesture of solidarity
with people who love you
to the end of the world, 
to Ethiopia. Facebook cannot 
replace the hands of a person,
his embrace. Live not only
with the faithful servitude
that wants to kiss my feet
each time I visit you.


Gen limite, radotè.
Ou te pale twòp. Depi
semèn yo menm agiman,
anpil ensekirite. Ou pa gen
paspò, viza. Men chak jou
ou ka solisite dokiman.
Se pou ou elimine eskiz.
Fè yon jès solidarite ak monn
ki renmen w jouk Etyopi.
Facebook pa ka ranplase
manyen ak anbrase moun,
Viv pa sèlman ak sèvitè
fidèl ki te vle mòde pye
mwen nan grenn fwa
m te vizite w.

Indran Amirthanayagam is a poet, editor, publisher, translator, YouTube host and diplomat. He writes in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Haitian Creole. He has published twenty-three poetry books, including Powet Nan Po A (Poet of the Port), which is forthcoming from MadHat Press. He edits the Beltway Poetry Quarterly, has received numerous fellowships, and hosts The Poetry Channel.

Image: The_Bicycle (60781294) from Mark Gojkovich under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

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