Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Grandfather by Chandran Nair

the seventy six years beneath his eyes
burst like rain, flood my earth with desolation:
his seventy six years have compromised my eyes
into a hardness that grows on me.
the imprint of his frown I wear
without his laughter.

grandfather walks the bunds of seasons
ploughing, sowing and harvesting years.
in drought-stricken months
he wears old age as lightly as his beard,
his smile transcends.

to be born from unlucky seeds,
a friend once wrote, is tragedy;
the curse flows unmuted, immutable -

only the hot stares of the gods persuade the proud.

gods bothered him,
but temples missed his sacrifice.
he found truth, relief, away from divinity,
spacing out years in padi fields,
unfolding particular nuances, lack of attainment.

like the padi stalk, once green, easily bent,
he grew with age, aged to ripened toughness
to resist anger, misfortunes of stricken years
with dignity, unpersuaded.


  1. Chandran Nair (Singapore) 1945-

    The speaker in this poem refuses to be sentimental about his grandfather, and describes him with respect if not with affection. (Tone)

    bunds (line 7): embankments, quays.

    padi fields (line 19): fields in which rice is grown.

  2. What are the poet's feelings as he remembers his grandfather?