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Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

During The Kiss & Other Poems— Debarati Mitra

Mar 18, 2023 | Poetry | 1 comment

Translated from the Bengali by Nandini Gupta 


Four Bengali Poems by Debarati Mitra

Image used for representation.


The Earth’s Beauty, Alone They Both 

One leg resting a little high, beloved man
floats on the bed like an archangel
youthful shapely thighs of fleshy bronze,
wondrously perfect, effortless Greek sculpturing
springs to life suddenly and beckons to the maiden.
The woman entwined in his arms
leaves aside the profound proficiency of his upper body
and filled with skin-tingling lust
plants her face between his legs.

Right before summer, a storm rips through miles of coniferous forests
Luminous colors from firecrackers circle endlessly
                                                    Waves billow between breasts.
Incredibly ardent, and childlike she pops
into her mouth a strange and wondrous bloom
reddish like a raisin,
she sucks its delectable nectar like mother’s milk.
Molten wax, lucent and milk-warm
gently flows into her mouth
not congealed yolk from a newly hatched pelican egg,
but pungent and briny, transparent white jelly.
Her leafy cup fills the soul with sweet sweat,
dewy honey from an unearthly hive.

Restless woman reclines warm and deeply content,
on the deck of a sail-boat,
with a bunch of airy balloons about to flame
gravity-free, breezy, tender
she floats very close to an alien star
as if the archangel will spread his wings
and fly away with bed and her.

Her lips, her teeth, her eyelids, elated, content,
are smeared with thick sticky lac,
on a living colorful lap, calm and robust
her face gently falls into a deep sleep.
The earth’s beauty alone.

The Youth Bathes 

The boy walks down the tousled steps,
to bathe.
In the hills, music trills in the tunnels.
Colored specks of firefly
from the crevices of trees’ uteri
into waterfalls.

Like a glistening high-strung wire
set free suddenly, he glides away
swaying to the rippling stream.
The waters, in youthful rapture,
come flying in
and splintering him,
take away piece by piece
nature’s white-stone carvings.

The homeland of distant hills
wrenches into its muted womb
one sleeping thigh.

Memories of that sun and its languor
is melded with
the clouds of leaf-shrouded thick jungles. 

My Toy Is God, Therefore, So Dear 

As a mother grumbles at her child every minute
saying, “Go on suck me dry, you little monster!”
even as she gives it her breasts heavy with milk,
So shall I give to you toy-god.

Dark renaissance arms like the pulsating stones
of the sun temple, skilled eyes opulent build, and
an indebtedness of many lives to more than the body,
Desolate like a sterile woman, only I, await you. 

During The Kiss 

Drowning in the wind,
In amazed rapture, a leaf cannot keep its eyes open

From a distance, a redlight hits me slantwise
Even then I cannot grasp what intense thing you hide
behind your eyelids
Where have you dashed to take me along
Scene after scene, you only you
I don’t really know in whose steps the fretful body follows
Yet I recklessly draw near

Suddenly on my neck, seven long kisses one after another
Empty words weep in meager whispers
You are indeed curious, but who would reproach you
I put my arms around your neck and drench you in the  flowers of the piyasal
Clusters of its red, freshly fragrant wild fruit
embrace my green. 

Also, read a book review of Gabriel García Márquez ‘s Chronicle Of A Death Foretold written by Ankita Bose, and published in The Antonym:

A Chronicle That Is A Prophesy— Ankita Bose

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Debarati Mitra, one of the most prominent Bengali poets of the 60s, has a completely unique voice of her own. Her first book, Andha Skoole Ghanta Baje, was published in 1974. She received the Ananda Puraskar for poetry in 1995.

Nandini Gupta is a professor of Electrical Engineering by day and a writer and translator by night. Her translations of modern Bangla poetry have been included in anthologies of Indian and International poetry, and her translation of Buddhadeva Basu’s memoir was published by Parabaas.

1 Comment

  1. Sayan

    i do not have a way with the words like you to express my feelings or appreciation towards your art. so simply, it felt good to read your poems. please keep writing


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