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Perumal Murugan



The Narrow Room

The one confined in the narrow room
does not know that the room is narrow.

There is light there, and darkness too.
There is the earth as well as the sky.

It is his great fortune that
he does not know it is
a narrow room.



Here is a woman gazing into the mirror
wearing a garland of intestines
after disembowelling herself:



Five dogs were following them.
A little fear was enough
to guide them in the right direction.
Each dog was different
in breed, complexion and name.
But they all used
the same language.



So playful it is, this fire.
It suddenly emerges from its hiding place
and races toward me.
My body and mind
are now its hide-outs.
At first it preferred my body.
Now it’s blazing its way into my mind.
It’s spreading everywhere, this fire.



to share anything with anyone;
to befriend anyone forever;
to tolerate anyone saying anything;
to completely pardon anyone;
to grow anything from seed.
Better to wander alone, all alone.
All the better to grieve alone, all alone.


Read the originals in Tamil here.