One Evening

Wonder whose sitar — they’re playing on air now
The news in Bangla’s over
I trudge along as I keep on listening — the strains of music linger
A suburb in a mofussil town, rubbing upon a wood
Dusk descends on bushes and brushes — wild fragrance fused
Across the bend, quite unexpected, a red hued earthen mound
Right behind which peeps a hill — a monolith standing its ground
Jackals call as night arrives, ‘n as soon’s I advance
A fig tree’s brought to life it seems by bats that flutter and dance
The noise of hooting owls above — startles — and Oh dear!
Telegraph wires have caught alive a half-moon in a snare.
Translation of a Bengali poem by Ashok Bijoy Raha (Born 1910).
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  • Dibyajyoti Raha  On October 24, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    great translation of an immortal poem!
    by the way 10th November,2010 is the birth centenary of Ashokbijoy Raha. Let us join together in remembering him on that day.

    • dipankardasgupta  On October 25, 2010 at 12:16 am

      Thank you good friend. I am wondering from your name if you belong to the poet’s family.

      • dibya jyoti raha  On November 7, 2010 at 8:44 pm

        yes, you are absolutely right. I am one of his grand nephews.I was lucky to spend days with him and have grand memories. A great poet apart, he was a fantastic orrator and essayist, which is little known.

      • dipankardasgupta  On November 17, 2010 at 10:48 am

        You are right. He was a great poet. Even if he had written nothing else, this one poem alone would have given him claim to immortality.

  • Krishna Das Raha  On November 17, 2010 at 3:22 am

    Thank you for the translation of my uncle’s poem … something to pass along to my grandchildren.

    • dipankardasgupta  On November 17, 2010 at 10:56 am

      It is wonderful to know that some of you at least have noticed this. It took me at least two months and several revisions to bring the translation to this stage. To retain the beauty of the original was by itself a daunting task for someone lacking talent. What made my mission more difficult was that I wanted it to make sense to Western readers too. At least to British readers. They won’t find anything wrong in rhyming “dear” with “snare”. Or so I feel. Thank you for your encouraging words.

  • abhijit  On November 16, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    can anyone publish a poem in bengali pronounciation of “mayataru”(kaler kabita).

    • dipankardasgupta  On November 18, 2011 at 11:40 am

      @ abhijit

      I am not sure if I have understood your comment. Are you suggesting that
      one should translate “mayatoru” into English?

  • utpal chattopadhyay  On December 6, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Is mayatoru the same poem as “Ack je chhilo gaach?” Absolutely worth translating. “Then there was the big tree. Perfectly fine during the day. But as the evening descened, it would raise its arms and start a wild dance”

    • dipankardasgupta  On December 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm

      It is the same poem. However, the original version does not contain a line such as “Perfectly fine during the day”!! Thanks for the comment. I wonder though why you preferred to put up this comment under a different poem by the same poet.

  • joydeep roy  On January 6, 2013 at 8:46 am

    mr. dasgupta,
    its indeed a beautiful poem and a very nice translation. can u pl tell me where can i get the original poem in bengali ?

    • dipankardasgupta  On January 6, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      Thank you Joydeep. The poem, a classic in Bangla literature, must have found its way into several anthologies. But some of these anthologies have themselves disappeared. One source is Bishnu Dey edited Ekaler Kobita. Since it may be difficult for you to land this dated collection, I have emailed to you the original Bangla poem.

      Best regards.

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