Voices Within: T.R. Joy

T.R. Joy is a writer and translator, his poems and translations have been published in books, anthologies and literary journals and magazines. He has also published critical studies and cultural features, some of which have been anthologized. As an English & Life Skills Consultant, he has developed AN EQUATION FOR FITNESS AND HOLISTIC LIVING. Currently he is working on Uneven Haikus, an English translation of the late Malayalam poet Kunhunni’s collection of poems. The draft of his critical work, The Secular Aesthetics: An Indian Model is under peer review. He lives in Chennai.


Living Proverbs


A talent

That’s never

A given;

It’s a seed

Given its chance.



Silence isn’t still,

The hush does tell.




God’s own city,

Satan owns it.




That’s the best.

Can we afford it?



Stories will last,

Tellers never.



Quit India

For the British



Get India

That’s for Indians




What matters

Matters little

If that little

Doesn’t matter.


The little

That matters

That’s what

Really matters.



Dawn at 97    

(for Bastian Antony)


He served in the British army,

Survived malaria in Rangoon,

Walked days to escape the Japanese,

Back in Madras to begin again.


Joined the state public service,

Wanted to return to Cochin,

Stayed on for his daughter’s studies,

Retired on time at 55.


Wakes up the dawn at four and prays,

Goes daily to his parish church,

One of the first to arrive,

Lately though with our friend Jose.


Comes back walking half the way,

Breaks his fast at his friend’s tea shop,

Chats and chuckles as usual,

Gets home to read The Hindu.


He is deaf in one ear,

His friends as old as he.

Listens to most, talks to some,

But laughs with everybody.


He used to tell me:

We can’t change people,

Need to let them be; that’s

The way to respect all.


His quiet and true respect

Despite people’s caste or class

A refrain friends often recall,

Clear and loud in colleagues’ words.


Nithi’s surest support,

The hug that brightens both:

The granddaughter means it all

The granddad gives it all.


Blamed for being true and naïve,

Not a ruthless go-getter

Cost the one business he tried.

Still felt free to laugh it off.


Once he told a friend:

You’re now past 80,

Stay happy for the day

Ready to die any day.


Memory’s sure whisper, they bring

His frequent smiles and laughter.

His watchful look sparkles

The chair by the window.


Waves wash up the beach,

The dusk takes down the day.

We walk back into the quiet

For the dawn at 97.



Let’s Home Again


Little sprouts in billions

We’re bouts and bits of

Breathless memories


Till Dust turns dust

The home we’re in,

The home we turn to.


The body, the mind

The earth and the stars:

No more mere tropes,


They bind all of us,

A fungal harmony,

Souls in fellowship.


Bless the rain, the forest,

And the bliss by the sea:

We come home again.



  1. That is a wonderful creation Joychettan. The words are expressive and I could relate to some portions as I have met him for a couple of times. All the very best!!

  2. Dawn 97' , I feel, is about my father. He came from Rangoon during the war and settled in Madras. He is the other self in the poem. Had he been alive today, he would be 100 years old.
    Thanks for the poems. Keep writing.

  3. Poems are good feed for the literature hungry. Difficult than prose, makes the reader more content.

  4. Sorry Dr.Roy for reading your poems so late. I am greatly taken up by the economy of words in expressing such profound thoughts. Congratulations !


We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।