Surrender (Samarpan)

First Version: 18 November, 2011
This Revised Version: 3 April, 2012

Showers have arrived over the river
The water has risen in a tide
Like hopes one keeps concealed — a few
Fireflies dim oft come to view
And switching off and on their glow
In bamboo groves they hide.
The mighty weight of the cloud filled sky
Is borne by the lightning’s pain
Naïve and inconsolable
It groans alone in vain.
Intangible, yet ferocious and false
The frothy waters’ uncertain calls
Fade away as mute destiny
Signals with a nod.
I came away and left you dear
In the custody of God.

 A lamp sits staring as it burns
Inside a chamber small
Next to a trembling bosom it shows
A solitary arm reclining close
On a patched cloth sewn from memories torn
Soothing cool its call
The magic spell of remembrances
Hides the door in a mist
Springs right then a pointed sword —
Straight on to my fist.
Lost away in the days of yore
Migratory winds come back to lure
When dark nights full of fragrance
From the childhood arrive and trod
I came away and left my love
In the custody of God.

Betwixt the folds of the sails the future’s
Womb to the full expands.
The stifling pressure of a pending fate
Makes the ribs of the planks vibrate
The stern begins to rock in panic
With the restless fishes’ bands.
His longings’ helm the sailor holds
With determination grim
In currents full of fraud floats off
My corpse discarded skin.
Beneath the heart, a holocaust rears
As the pull of the oars dare mortal fears
The waves and the horizon end colliding
Drunken in discord.
I came away and left my life
In the custody of God.

In reverse stream now starts to flow
My prayers in the dark.
Inside a slumber endless blue
A pain holds tightly — without a clue
To escape routes from the naïve deceit
Of a wakeful contrast stark.
Even so there stands a dwelling
Covered by creepers green
Upon its slip of a balcony still
The forefathers convene.
Let their whispers, supple and soft
Send raining down the cautions they brought
And a thousand blinding terrors and doubts
About objects strange and odd.
I came away and left you dear
In the custody of God.


Translation of a Bengali poem, Samarpan, by Buddhadev Bose. Original poem composed during 6-9 September, 1954. The poem appeared in the poet’s collection entitled A Darkness that Exceeds Light (যে আঁধার আলোর অধিক), published in May, 1958.

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  • Panchali  On March 5, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Compelling…. the richness of language in this poem is breathtaking ! This poem has a density and sparsity that one finds in the original…:)
    So well written.

    • dipankardasgupta  On March 5, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      Oh thank you Panchali. To tell you frankly, this is the most ambitious translation I have tried so far. It was hard for me, my abilities being limited. But sometimes one can make up for one’s shortcomings through sheer hard work. So, I kept trying and trying and trying. That’s all I know. The first version itself was the result of several attempts, but I saw that the job had not been satisfactorily accomplished. So, I let it lie since November and then started again a few weeks ago. It was so demanding that I was almost about to give up. But since you say that it has been able to reach you as a reader, perhaps I should not throw it away now. Let it collect dust for some more time before I brush it up one more time. Thank you again. Dipankar

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