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Annamayya - tAnE yeruMgunu
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Annamayya - brahmamokkaTE
Annamayya - marali marali
kshetrayya's padam - evvaDE
Karunashree - pushpavilaapam
Potana - Dussera
Karunashree - Gandhiji
Satish Chander - Chronicle
Tripuraneni Srinivas
Saavitri - bandipOTlu
allam nArAyaNa - amma
Tilak - dEvuDA rakshinchu nA dEsAnni
raviSankar - kOrika
viSvanAtha
jayaprabha
mahejabeen - aakurAlu kAlam
naa raa - apaswaraalu
kae sivaareDDi - oohalloemci oohalloeki
Sikhamani - muvvala caetikarra
afsar
daaSarathi
Kavita O Kavita
jayaprabha

jayaprabha


Jayaprabha obtained a Ph.D. from Osmania U. for her thesis on the progress and status of Telugu drama. For a while, she worked as Telugu instructor at U of Wisconsin - Madison. She currently lives in Secunderabad. From hear earliest poems, Jayaprabha introduced a strong and unique feminist perspective into contemporary Telugu poetry. She uses traditional devices such as mythological references, prosodic structures and rhymes and familiar imagery to great effect in free verse. Her poems showcase her excellent command of the language, idiom and Telugu traditions (both literary and social). Her highly acclaimed poem "coopulu" (looks) was included in the Anthology of Indian Women's Literature co-edited by Susie Tharu.



dhvanyAlOkaM lOni dainyAnni dATi ?
jayaprabha

mounAniki lEdoo?
SabdAniki MAtramEnA AkRuti?
duhkhAnikainA, paramAnaMdAni kainA
mATalu parimitamEnE!

varNamAlaki ateetamainadi bhAsha!
nijaMgA visphOTana mainaMta bAdhani mOsE
aksharamEdee?
anaMta SOkAnikee, SApAnikee
nirvacana SabdamEdee?

niSSabda bhAsha bahuroopi
niSSabda bhAsha tattvamasi

eppuDoo SabdaM lOnE jeevitaM pratiphaliMcadu
samasta hRudayAnnee okka SabdamE vyAkhyAniMcadu

javAbulEni kAlAnni dATaDAniki
paramArthaM lEni pratidhvanulu mOyaTAniki
dhyAnamE dAri!
nirupamAna niSSabdaME dAri!

gADhamaina bhAvAnni ceppE mATeppuDoo balaheenamE!
kAvoccu
aksharAlani tiraskariMcaTaM
annivELalA sAdhyaM kAdu ganaka,
prayatnistAnu!

neccelee!
pOnee, nee cirunavvu lAMTi
kAsinni soukhya karamina padAlatO -
batuku
dhvanyAlOkaM lOni dainyAnni dATi,
kluptamaina vAkyamainA cAlu!!
****************************
A rendering in English (implied words in paranthesis)
Having passed the misery of this sound filled world

Doesn't silence possess (it)?
The figure, is it (a prerogative) only of sound?
Whether in anguish or in supreme bliss
words are limited, alas!

Language is above and beyond the (mere) alphabet
To convey the explosive agony, truly
Where is (one) letter?
To an unending sorrow, (and) to a curse
the defining word, where is it?

The language of silence, multi-formed
The silent language - "tat tvam asi"*

Not always is life reflected in sound
Nor does one word critique the heart, in its entirety

To pass the answer-less time, (and)
to bear the echoes (which are) devoid of a supreme meaning
Meditation is the only way!
The silence unparalleled is the only way!

Word is always weak (while trying) to pronounce a dense feeling!
Perhaps
to reject letters
is not possible always, but still
I'll try!

Dearest!
Let it be, with just a few pleasurable words
those like your gentle smiles - Life
Having passed the misery of this sound filled world
A brief sentence is enough!

from the collection "ciMtala nemali
Notes:
*tat tvam asi - "That thou art", an oft repeated quotation, from Kathopanishad, I think.
SabdaM = sound, word (the poet constantly plays with this double meaning)




In the next poem, Jayaprabha describes the painful metamorphosis of ebullient young women into bound housewives. Read on!


aMtaa aMtae!

kaalaMtoe paaTu kaakinaaDa maarinaTTae
j~naapakaaloo maaripoetaayi
bhaavanaaraayaNuDi guLLoe
niSciMtagaa gooDu kaTTina pakshulu
vari kaMkula koesaM poeyi poeyi
varadaloe cikkukunnaTTu - aMtaa aMtae!

vekkiriMcaaDaMTae samaajaanni
veMkaTacalaanidaa tappu!

naeraeDu ceTTu kimda paLLErukuMdiki
paMdeM vaesukuni parugulu peTTina
kaalaejee ammaayilu eMdaroe
navvulannee igiri poeyi
uppumaLLai pelipoeyi
vaMTa ruculloe karigipoeyaaru.

veyyagaa veyyagaa gulakaraaLLu
neeLLeppaTikoe paikostaayani
vetukutoo vetukutoo verri kaakulamai
eMDa paDDa kalalatoe
eMta daahaMtoe unnaaM! aemai poetunnaam!

maamiDi toeTalodilaesi
isaka maeTAlodilaesi
oe ayya caetiloe peTTi
illu kaTTukoemannaarani kadaa
iMta dooraaloccaesaam?

aem caestunnaaramTae
pillalatoe ginnelatoe
maaru maatram aem ceptaarleMDi!
mana aaSalu kaalavagaTTu polaalu kaavugaa
aeTi poDavutaa paccagaa aedoe okaTi paMDaTAniki!
marelaagaMTae ceppalaeM.
poDupu kathalu vippalaeM!

aemee teliyani tanaMloe eMta sukhaM!
sapoeTA ceTla meeda caduvuki sannaahaalu
sarpavaraM pootoeTAlloe puppoDi saraagaalu
aemarraa!
caMDaamaarkula vaariMkaa Tyooshan&lae cebutunnaaraa?
meklaarin^ haiskoolu malupuloo
goedaavari kaalava daaTi
paata jagannaatha puraMloe
taatala naaTi saMduloo!
veMTa baDina kurraaLLani coosi vekkiriMtaloo
kaMTi konala kavviMtaloo kaeriMtaloo

aMtaelae!
paaripoeyina padahaaroe aeDu mari tirigi raadu.
tana pani taanu caesukuMToo
balla kaTTu maadiri aa gaTToo ee gaTToo tirugutuMdi jeevitaM!

toli yavvanaM maLLi poeyiMdi.
kaalaMtoe paaTu kaakinaaDa maarinaTTae
j~naapakaaloo maaripoeyaayi!

Read it in Telugu script here.

A rendition in English
That's all!

Like Kakinada (1) changed chronically
Memories too will mutate.

Like the birds, nesting carefree
In Bhavanarayana Temple,
Fly and fly, in search of grain,
But die, caught in torrential rain .. that's all!

Is it his fault if Venkatachalam (2) heaped ridicule
On this society cruel?

To pick flowers under the jamun tree
They'd run, racing each other,
How many college-girls ?
Their laughter evaporated,
Popping like salt flats heated (3),
Into delicous cooking they dissolved.

Dropping pebble after pebble
Hoping for water to come up
Hopping flapping like mad crows (4)
Our dreams Sun-struck,
How thirsty we grow! Where do we go!

Leaving behind mango groves,
Leaving behind sandy beaches,
Wasn't it because they said "Play house!",
Handing us over to this gent, (5)
Far away we went?

I say, "what's up!"
Among kids and kitchen you're buried,
How else can you reply thus queried?

Our hopes aren't fields under the irrigation canal,
Growing something or other, lush throughout the year.

How then? no answers subtle
To unravel the riddle.

What bliss, the age of innocence!
Ready to study atop the sapota trees
Tanatalizing pollen in Sarpavaram gardens
Hey folks! Mr. Scary Grades (6) still tuitoring?
Around the MacLauren High School, those turns
In old Jagannathapuram, beyond the Godavari canal
Those lanes, age old.
Serving the roadside Romeos, to their disbelief
From the corner of the eyes, choicest taunts and mischief.

Sigh!
The escaped age-sixteen, won't come back ever.
Minding its business,
Life shuttles between the two banks, like a river barge!

Gone is first youth.
Like Kakinada changed chronically
Memories too mutated.
******
Some notes:
Most of the references in the stanza beginning "What bliss.." are to various places in Kakinada, I suppose.

(1) Kakinada: An important port town in East Godavari District in coastal AP.
(2) Venkatachalam: Gudipati Venkatachalam, an outspoken Telugu writer of early 20th century who sharply criticized the socal oppression of women in his novels and stories.
(3) Salt flats: reference to process of making salt from sea water in coastal areas.
(4) Crows dropping pebbles: Reference to the Pancatantra story of a smart crow that dropped pebbles into a deep pot to bring the little remaining water up to the brim.
(5) The Telugu expression is a common euphemism for "getting the daughter married".
(6) Candamarkulu: Reference to the the demonic tutor of Prahlada who torments him in
Bhagavata Purana. A pun on words (canda = scary, maarkulu = grades).

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