to the pen – poem

Thoolikayode (To the Pen)
A poem by Paduthottu Mathen John, circa 1934

I have heard that you, oh Pen,
Are more challenging than a row of swords.
For God, the sword is nothing.
Still I don’t know why you are unhappy
In my unfortunate hands.
Even if you are not able to talk,
I will work for your satisfaction,
If I get the unnatural power, from on high.

There’s no doubt about it, if I can make you move,
Then I will be the luckiest person on Earth.
This Pen helps to show that
The ultimate truth of this world is revealed
Through poetic language.  Because of you.
Like the sexual urge, it will make my heart happy.
I’ll try to bring out all these feelings by writing.
You will make the whole world tremble,
By the touch of your hand.

The bright shining sword,
That fits the mighty hand
Of the warrior, that frightens the world,
Will humbly bow down to you.
How much should I respect you?
As you are so splendid and rare,
I would like to submit myself
To where your extravagant literature is produced.

Like the poet Kalidasa, who wrote the poem ‘Shakuntala’,
It is a mountain-top experience.
Yes, it is true that one can have this experience.
Likewise, all these poets…
Valmiki, Homer, and Shakespeare have used you.
In this poetic world, they burn like shining stars
Because of your power.
You truthfully serve all these eminent poets.
Hence you’re famous, and continue to serve your masters,
So take your place as you deserve.

I hope that you receive continuous glory.
Don’t be misused, or fall into the wrong hands
I  hope that you nourish, develop,
Serve, and worship Kerala with all your might. That is my wish.
Long live Malayalam, and Kerala!