Digging: Gopi Krishnan Kottoor is the pen name of Raghav G. Nair (born 1956, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala), an Indian English poet. He is best known for his poem “Father, Wake Us In Passing”. He is also the founder editor of quarterly poetry journal Poetry Chain. Kottoor lives in Trivandrum, Kerala.
“Digging…” is a popular Indian poem by the internationally acclaimed Indian English poet Gopi Krishnan Kottoor. The poem won Second Prize in the Seventh All India Poetry Competition conducted by The Poetry Society (India) in 1997. The renowned British poet Vicki Feaver was the Chairman of the award committee. This was the second major literary award for Kottoor, who went on to win four more major poetry awards at All India Poetry Competition.
Digging: Gopi Krishnan Kottoor
The soil I now pick
contains fragments of the dead.
They once saddened and happied themselves here
turning to the sun and moon, quite puzzled
then taking things as they came,
for granted. This is hard brown laterite
that I turn,
to plant a few bright periwinkles
stolen from the mound of one long obscure,
dead. They should grow well
here. So I turn out
the millipedes curling up
ashamed of the sudden expose
into dark ring stones of sapphire and topaz.
Pinned to sudden light they have all coiled up
in abject surrender. These things we bury back
with pushed up soil, crushing strange roots
going everywhere like soft nerve fibers,
sending messages of thirst to strange
destinations. Each scoop of mud
brings more life to light
lost like death underground
doing odd jobs, ordained like saints, salient
in dark recess drawing salary in kind.
Mud-work is a kind of work ship.
A silent thanksgiving for a home, called earth.