Bridge to Global Literature

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.

Soil and Other Poems— Sankha Ghosh

Jun 1, 2023 | Poetry | 2 comments

TRANSLATED FROM THE BENGALI BY OWSHNIK GHOSH

Image used for representation

Image used for representation

On Move

After that, we walked 

without a word, went on walking 

from one land to another

from one violence towards other.

 

The world is like this.

Have to live in this only, I wonder.

 

Like aerials of banyan our- my- body

is surrounded by plenty experiences

without any possession, without any past.

 

Then, just before the dawn

bullet fired by the border guard

hits my chest-

before dying, I can’t even decide

on which land will I rest.

 

 2004

 


 

Soil

This gandharaj flower bloomed with my adorable touch 

these grasses carry memories of my feet 

water of Ajay¹ quivered beside me 

then left, after nudging my eyes 

At noon, the pigeons raised their songs 

from my sigh, at the broken pillars 

in the corner of that dalan² 

after the mahfil³, at this extended field 

across the sal woods, new moon

 was lying beside me, without moving. 

My steps entwined yours, you’re unaware, 

never even look back at them 

look around, see all bridges are broken 

where will I go now if you want me to leave!

 

The loft glows with the setting sun,

sound of Azan comes from the neighbourhood 

sitting in front of my hut 

I dream this world is my guest 

even now this fiery society

wants to test me 

how can I prove today before everyone 

that this soil is mine too!

 

 

  1. A river in Bengal.
  2. A raised structure or a space within the house beside the courtyard specially used for occasions.
  3. A gathering to celebrate poetry.

2004

 


 

Saviour 

Do you still believe you can give salvation ?

Who can touch me in this lonesome land of mine? 

Lighting the skylight for ancestors 

I’ve sown the seeds of the future 

above the half burnt hut, beside the swamp 

you’ve no place there. 

To whom you can give salvation?

Can you give salvation even to yourself?

One day you came with 

a fake warrant in your hand 

and carried to the edge of destruction 

disguised as a friend. 

I’m still a new born in this autumn’s frost.

Remember, who you’ve wounded  

so easily, have not died yet 

some of his blood drops are still alive 

at the edge of the grass.

 

2011

 


 

Bastu¹

I haven’t come today to take hold of your house 

neither to occupy your land. I am only a guest. 

Thinking of to steal a glance, I’ve come 

crossing the century to my place. 

You’re there, therefore I come and sit

at the edge of the staircase 

drink tea in an earthen cup, touch the walls,

I pick some betel nuts drying in the courtyard.

 Get up and say : goodbye. You’re there,

after knowing that 

everything becomes insignificant, 

after knowing that

cavern turns into a palace 

after knowing that

I can return easily 

There are no dwellings more real than memories.

 

  1. Dwellings.

2011

 


 

Border

You are across the border- I’m at its edge 

in between lies the land without any footsteps 

growth of miraculous crops beside that 

may some day give  fulfilment to our last parting. 

Are you still like that, as you kept 

floating in broken bubbles of the wind? 

That wind blows still through my land 

one can hear breathing of your land too. 

Escaping the watchman, free loitering 

have neither beginning nor any end 

you may not know- so I’m writing down 

how you’ve engulfed me 

in fragments of your absence.

 

2014

 

 


Also, read In Conversation With HS Shivaprakash, interviewed by Owshnik Ghosh and published in The Antonym.

In Conversation With HS Shivaprakash— Owshnik Ghosh


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Sankha Ghosh

Sankha Ghosh

Sankha Ghosh was an eminent Bangla poet and prose writer. He was born in Chandpur in east Bengal and came to India after partition. He was a Professor of Bangla literature throughout his career. Amongst many other awards, he received Sahitya Akademi Award in the year 1977 and Jnanpith Award in 2016.

Owshnik Ghosh

Owshnik Ghosh

Owshnik Ghosh completed his masters in Comparative Indian Language and Literature from The University of Calcutta in 2022. He is engaged in a number of translation projects. He is a bilingual writer and his works are published regularly in literary journals. At present he is pursuing a course in ‘Translation in practice’ at Jadavpur University. His dream is to see a world without all kinds of boundaries and dedicates all his works to that dream.

2 Comments

  1. Arundhoti roy choudhury

    A great effort Owshnik. Keep going!
    Encouragement and inspiration might take you a long way.

    Reply
    • Owshnik

      Thank you so much

      Reply

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