A Poem by K.G. Sankarapillai

Dear Che

Dear Che,
you came to our university campus
in mid sixties
with a comrade and a modernist friend
with visuals of jungles past and present
with a vision of a new battle for justice.

Like a fresh wind of October
you joined us
moved us
renewed us
and smoothened our entry into history
with love, dreams and plans.

You told us about the sleeping rebel powers
of mountains and forests of the new minds;
quite often you talked of the day when
the Andes would become
the Sierra Maestra of America.

Our modernist friend said:
you are the red star over the world
tarnished by America;
you are the future of the world
crippled by America;
you are the Jesus of the modern age
crucified by America.

Although you remained evergreen in us
showed us the exit to the oceans
from the lyrical ponds of our
post Independent Indian youth;
the exit to the storm from the water lily breeze
of our weeping romantic poems;
dear doctor, you redefined us
living with us
living for us
living in us
passing the confidence of torrents into our deserts
weaving sunlit paths into our prodigal nights.

You brought world into our words
and future into our past.
You opened blast-furnaces for our ore.

This poem was Translated from Malayalam by A. Lakshmi. The poem was part of a anthology Che in Verse, edited by Garvin O’Toole and Georgina Gimenez which was published by Aflame Books. K.G.Sankarapillai has won the National Award for Poetry in India on two occasions.

courtesy AHRC