The Death of a Railway Carriage – A Poem by S.Vaidheeswaran



Translated by Dr. Indira Parthasarathy


The rail tracks broke reaching the dead end
And There the weather beaten forlorn carriage stood
like an animal wounded at a segregated corner
A region to which the station claimed no kinship too!

There was a time when the carriage jogged from place to place
full of mirth and laugh and gaiety;
but lo! Fallen on evil days;
it all but shows a crazy face!

The carriage was empty not unlike a mouth open;
and wanton boys who ran much often
Found its use with no tariff with none to catch;
A public toilet it was beyond anyone’s watch.

The carriage gave shelter to bearded old wise men
who came there at dusk with pockets of eats;
and place dense with their beedi smoke and spit;
echo their foul mouthed swearing against society.

The carriage shivered and shook all through the nights
when the fearsome devils met for their mating
And at the break of dawn it gave one creep
to look at condoms scattered deep

Once inside the carriage floor
lay the body of the virgin girl
Raped impregnated and ravaged
and the carriage roared!

That it became a coffin ready
blood all over its shattered body
It roared and roared
along with the people gathered there!

The carriage was auctioned
its metallic frame went for sale
And its body made of wood
faced fire!

The spirit of the carriage jumped and rejoiced
As death has given it relief with resurrection;
And deep rom the ashes it raised its voice
to scream “Not again this old age please!”


About the author:

S.Vaidheeswaran is one of the major voices in contemporary modern Tamil Poetry. Born in September 1935, he started writing in the 1960s. A poet, stage artist and musicologist, his first book of poems Udhaya Nizhal (The Shadow of Dawn) was published in 1970. His second collection, Nagarach-Chuvargal (City-Walls) was published in 1994. His third book, a short-story collection titled Kaal Mulaitha Manam (The Heart With Feet) was also published in the same year. He has also written numerous short stories and is also a painter.