Pankajam Kottarath (Voices Within 2023)

Pankajam Kottarath is a bilingual poet and novelist and an author of more than 40 books. Her poems, book reviews, short stories and articles have been published in many national/international journals and anthologies. One of her poetry collections has been translated into French. Three books on literary criticism discuss her works in detail. A book of critical essays and research papers on her poem titled “Poetic Oeuvre of K Pankajam” has also been published. She is the recipient of many awards.



Like Ripples on water…

Uttering an unreceptive word

knowingly or unknowingly

create ripples of gloom in affable hearts

while stirring emotions bring bouts of tears.


You may forget all about it quick

But its pulls and burns intensify

inside my heart

that never expects such flagrant disgraces

make it spin tales of invented impacts

inflated at times, not to dispute

and it acquires strife

much like a pebble dropped in the water

making little waves circling and circling

that grow bigger and bigger

slowly and steadily

to create strong waves, unprecedented.


No way to stop them

nor find out the point of consummation

and the water turns turbulent losing its peace

much like humans perhaps

yet the river quickly regains its stature

but I can’t.

Maybe this disappointment and despair

make my heart learn to accept adversities

paving the way for mustering courage.


That is when I realize there is nothing to lose,

and I enjoy total freedom.


Between Light and Shadow


Daunting shadows on a moonlit night

pause as dancing puppets,

guided by invisible threads.

Shadows have a promise to keep,

an unwritten affirmation to light

to be always on its side, or stay behind.


When the moon peeks through my window

darkening sky wears a deafening silence

echoes of which resonate throughout life.

Fight your silence, I plead;

Great things command constant pains to crack.


Looking beyond I realize

something is hidden from my sight

Still, I can see the glow of life emerging bright

between light and the shadows.


Perhaps a hide and seek game is on

in nature’s patio, perfectly synchronized.

Who am I to barge in or shove through.

Maybe one’s inner light can guide.


Until the hazy wings of darkness

veil me permanently

let me choose to illuminate my path

not allowing obscurity to gain might

suppressing the shadows of doubt beneath

for the in-between path is open and free.



Behind the Mask


This smile is my unique mask

to hide away all my miseries

pains, tears and fears that rip at my gut.

It’s a conscious veil I wear, opaque

that allows to show no signs of flaws.


It doesn’t denote disguise, deception or defense.

Neither it carries fetid intentions to con

nor a tryout to justify faults.

You may label it as a perennial sin, but not

for it’s a means effective, apparently plain though,

to gel and perfectly fit in the assemblage.


There hides a child in me wanting to be heard,

have fun, dance around fire and weave fantasy tales.

Hiding cheeks or shading eyes is not in its aim

But the adult in it outgrows to suppress its innate ways.


It’s the best ornament I ever own and wear

to hide away my hurts and sidestep barriers.

To quell my fears, a loving glance is enough

and when your arms envelop me tight

I need to discard this mask,

remove this outershell and be myself.

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