Poetry: Arya Gopi

Arya Gopi
Stainless Grief


Mercurial memories are nameless. They stand at ease on busy highways

filled with ridiculous people. They walk fast as if they never reach their 


destination. They never touch the ground as they march fast. They never 

fly high. They bed-down under the maze of taciturn often and it did not


occur to them to get filtered through the accidental flow of pebbles of 

pleasures. I hide myself in the resonating crab shell; I exist as a timid tiny 


sand grain. The abandoned sea reverberates in the eyes of a colossal 

memory whale. Love in the time of lockdown catastrophe is vaccinated.


We don’t have much time; I travel through timeless acres of pretensions

as if I can understand all apparitions of human language. Silly me!


Electrocuted kisses are buried in the aquarium of antique fishes. Death 

is the dish that we cook daily in the cooking pans of stainless grief.


I sleepwalk through mundane geographies; latitudes of disbelief are

drawn on a mapless world of indifferent people who are remorseless.





For Rilke, beauty was the beginning of terror;

And terror was a religion of unbearable fright.


For Ramanujan, prayer before suicide was fuck

And only single-thighed mermaid would listen-to-it.


For Kerouac, road-less journeys never ended;

And sluggish milestones went uncounted.


For Haig, lip-less kisses could freeze time;

And echoless voices copulated with cogs.


For Allende, the marginal city was full of beasts;

And bankrupted fears walked through the epicycles.


For Milton, gods ate all accidental humans;

And procreative love escaped from my wounds.


For Catton, the luminaries of fate died prematurely;

And fortune-tellers lied of the deathless crux.


For Dickinson, the instigation of an appetite was slanting 

And ablative spaces grew out of our silhouettes.


For Nietzsche, aesthetic standards drew a line:

And cockroaches and butterflies played rummy with cyborgs.


For myself, poetry was verdict and trial together

And I am worried about how I could end this poem.


I taste sweat, perfume, blood, mire and tears of Karu*.

Tripwires are set around me.I trap birds of poetry.



*Kerala's renaissance leader and philosopher Sree Narayana guru's concept of a "pointless point in the space"






The Scarecrow’s Tongue


Languages are

breathing scarecrows.

In its achromatic iris

brittle time creases.


Its syntax leaps

in the images

of no man’s land.

Not in the land of

ignorant grammatical 

nuances but 

the singular promised land


we had only one tongue! 


we had only one tongue!


Suddenly silver words of

postcolonial ancientness

were dispersed into

algebraic Astellas.


Its blood is special.

Its flesh is pellucid.


The moment scarecrows

start speaking; all your

fraud cadences will collapse.


The Parables of a Scarecrow

violate all the theories

of your unwrinkled tales!


Blond history

of rootless shadows

muttered only 



Cordial lies were 

cooked with negotiations

by poets of revenge.


I lick the fingers which are 

like burning trees










the tongues of fire


get burnt and burnt.


Scarecrow's words blot 

with a shameless

underlings of unforgettable egos.


If njattevela* can't be stolen

What can’t it do? 


Scarecrow opens its eyes!!

As if like a Philomela

with a phantom tongue,

it screamed and screamed:

‘I’m not a robot’.









*Njattuvela means 'Vela of Njayar', which means the journey of the sun. It is an ancient system that prevailed in Kerala for the calculation of specific periods for cultivation. There is an interesting historical anecdote from the annals of the Zamorin’s court captures the sentiment every Malayali feels about Thiruvathira (star-astronomy) Njattuvela.As the Portugese landed on the coast of Kozhikode, Kerala, and visited the Zamorin’s court, they were greeted by a resplendent and welcoming nobility. During this time the Portuguese were given the permission or rather they coerced the Zamorin into giving them the knowledge of exporting and planting pepper saplings to other territories. Zamorin’s minister, Mangattachan, vexed by this move raised his concerns with Zamorin. To this the Zamorin replied, “they (the Portuguese), can take the pepper saplings but not our Thiruvathira Njattuvela”



Bio: Arya Gopi is a bi-lingual poet who works both in English and Malayalam with more than half a dozen published books including five Malayalam poetry collections. Her first English title Sob of Strings was published in 2011 and in 2023 she published her new collection titled One Hundred Lines of Discords. A contributor to major Malayalam journals, she has won several awards including the Kerala State Sahitya Academy Kanakasree Award. Her poems have been published in Guftugu Magazine, Muse India journal, Teesta Review, eShe Magazine, Modern Literature international journal, The Usawa Literary Review, Kavishala Magazine, Samyukta poetry, Indian Literature, Malayalam Literary survey and elsewhere. A PhD holder in English literature, she teaches literature at The Zamorin’s Guruvayurappan College, University of Calicut, Kerala.

1 comment :

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।