Translated from the Bengali by Arindam Nandy
Return from the Seas
Is there a touch of green?
Light, dark and shades endless
More or less blue, nonetheless.
Like a sudden laughter in space amidst all this
A few seagulls!
I think, I say, the sea wishes,
Its white foamy waves to
Touch the conch-rubbed wings
And search the sky
The rhyme-seeking mind seeks a likeness.
Nowhere, nowhere at all!
The heart, like the two eyes, sings aloud,
Left behind the soil, tress and lands for good,
Folding enormous wings
Floating in salty waves lightly,
Shoreless, just water, and
clouds, stars and wind to live by,
Drawing patterns on
Times of endless blues,
What is it what is this, whatever
Before I know or discover,
The steamer reaches shores
Of today-tomorrrow-day after.
Wind goes a whiz whiz
Heart goes rusty
In the old quiver!
Whose hair’s messed up
How does it matter?
Or measure the tears
A litre or a quarter?
He lost so much
Over the years!
Where hides the pain
From the wound of spears?
Wind goes a whiz whiz
The woods afar, flushed
The bloom or the heatwave?
How does it matter
To know the reason, to rave?
In a heart, so corroded
In an old quiver!
You must have seen strange creatures on the city streets
Just like humans
Or a tad different,
Like a cartoon of one or a twisted carricature!
Even then, they move about and talk and
Fill the streets like garbage,
Sit panting in the leftovers and trash,
– And beg for starch.
Not blood, nor flesh,
Not some stone cold green heart,
These step-brothers of humans want some starch.
While the civilisation continues to meditate and search.
One day they had ploughed the land, I guess
Then forgotten it all, no less
The true yeild of rice grain to paddy
Forgotten that the wooden plough
Can be lifted on shoulders,
And some day some one did.
They don’t know somewhere lies a monster wave
That can move mountains with ease.
After straining the rice,
When I pour the starch in these starving wretched mouths,
Seems like a diabolic and cruel charity to me.
Why not just leave them aside,
And let them decompose on their own
Will this rice then turn into
Fiery and burning intoxicant like motherly love?
The skeletons of these kids fill the streets – bereft of mother’s milk,
Was Dadhichi’s bone stronger than this ilk?