Two Poems by Aranya Krishna

Aranya Krishna has been writing poetry in Telugu since 1988.  He drew inspiration from the people’s movements against the social inequalities, gender violence and state violence.  His first anthology of poetry “Nethuroduthunna Padachitram” (Bleeding Images: 1994,2016,2019) and again after a gap of 22 years he published his second anthology of poetry “Kavithvamlo unnanthasepoo….” ( As Long As I Stay With My Poetic Muse) in the year 2016.  In the year 2021, he compiled an anthology of women centric poems written by him for the last 33 years with title “Maniddaram” (We Both).  He is a traveller too and wrote travelogues on his national and international travel experiences.  He is the Editor of a book on the renowned poet, Late Savitri, who is  one of the pioneers of feminism in Telugu. The title of the book was “Ame Asthaminchaledani….” (She Has Not died yet, It is Said)  in the year 1992.  In 2022, he also published “Konchem Nippu Konchem Neeru ( Some Fire And Some Water), a critical commentary on current socio, cultural and political senario  He is also known for his sharp film criticism.

The Hunt

Brother’s restrictions

Father’s suspicions

Mother’s cautions

When leaving home,

Carrying all these

You go out into the world

To encounter challenges, many.


One Alsatian with flamboyant hair

Barks abuses at you

Another cunning fox

Whistles a double meaning song

One old owl

Pierces your body’s muscles

Looking daggers

And one alligator blackmails,

Covers himself with a shroud

If you do not show mercy!


In the bus one centipede

Breathes down mud on your neck

Another octopus

Feels your body

With caterpillar fingers!


In the office one Karataka, a demon

And Damanaka another one demon cut jokes

On stay-free, spreading poisonous gas.

For them her visits to the washroom

Also turn out to be strange things.


She carries back home the crosses of stares

Words like boulders, and

When in the night,

The eyes faint in nightmares

The blood oozing out of her wounds creates

Ponds of blood

Her heart appears like an iceberg, melting.


(Every word represents only one hundredth part of the agony

of the experiences of a friend.)




You don’t have to wait till you start breathing

You don’t have to cry out loudly,

As your mirthless life began

You were never too small for

The gender discrimination

A girl need not ever commit the crime of

Growing into womanhood


The heads would not hang in shame

At the vulgar pictures and writings spit on the

Walls of the toilets and public roads.

In the homes, in schools, on the streets,

And in buses, a waste it is to look for them.


You need not sell your heart

To find a buyer for your body

It will not ever be necessary to

Risk committing suicides in kitchens

In ways more creative.

Don’t let your existence grow till they

Reach edges of summits unstable till they shake


Everything is convenient and ready now

Syringes, scissors and stethoscopes are

The weapons that destroy a mother’s womb

This civilisation can

Get foetuses killed for five hundred rupees

To economise on a dowry of fifty-thousand grand


These institutions can tactfully turn

Science into a superstition


This culture can set on fire

The breast that feeds.

–   March 1989

(Before the sex determination tests were banned in India they used to be conducted through the amniotic fluid in mother’s womb. ‘Pay five hundred and save fifty thousand’ used to be the advertisements those days by Mumbai hospitals. When there were protests in Parliament the then union minister Vasant Sathe defended this and hence this poem was dedicated to him in contempt.)

Syamala Kallury


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