My Kongu is Not a Sooty Rag That Guards My Bosom

English Traslation: K.Suneetha Rani 

Telugu Original : Jupaka Subhadra


My kongu sleeps guarding like Maisamma on the bund

     Tying the knot of my hunger

     Embracing my stomach

Touches me like the breeze

When I become the stream of sweat in toil.

Like a moon surrounded by stars

It shines on my head as a heap


With roots, grains and groceries.

      Gives me rest like a bed

When I am tired in the fields.

The piece of my muddy kongu

Hugs my eyes like a mother

When my grief flows incessantly.


It’s caught in my husband’s hand even before me;

When my husband has anger or desire.

It’s my kongu that gets subjected first;

At home or outside, for power or in aggression.

It holds the umbrella of Tangedu Flowers;

To the sunrise of my face and my dark hair;


From the tigers of cold, harsh looks of Sun

Blows of hot winds and mischief of rain drops;

Quenches my thirst like the tree-shade

Caressing my ears and cheeks

Envelopes my shoulders like a warm bonfire,

Becomes the cushion for huge pots on my head

    To bring water from a distance,


Burns its hands 

      As a sooty rag for vessels on the stove

Hugs my weeping kids

     Like an infant bed cloth,

Constrains the endless streams

From the dams of my lamp-like nose

That plays in dust throughout the day.


Licks the dust all over my body like the delivered cow.

Covers the Modugu flower coloured monthly stain

Like a screen.

Sowing, reaping, weeding, harvesting,

Work and songs happen

Only if the piece of my kongu becomes the ornament around my waist.

Where is the time for my muddy kongu to fit on my bosom?

It turns and shifts around

In my hands, sweat, bed, bones, shoulders,

       Happiness, sorrow

Sticking to me like the dirt fallen on my feet

In work, songs, hardships and plenty.

Becoming a companion in the path of my life.


My sweaty kongu that slogs like a washing rock

Is not a sooty rag that guards the bosom.

Not a burden on the chest.

How shall I drag it into streets and defame it?

How shall I ruin myself by burning it?



(Translation of “Kongu Na Bochhemeeda Kavalunde Bonta Peggadu” Andhra Jyothi Daily, 7.5.2007 by K Suneetha Rani)




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