Monthly Archives: December 2014

Hridoypur**

This version: December 31, 2014

A veil of darkness still there was -- and yet the light of day Hridoypur was all abuzz -- with confusions at play Drowned the river bank below -- in the sky one saw recline A lustrous moon in all its glow -- its eyes a pitiless shine Why offer her a ride at all -- whose face expresses frown Who posts a guard on every wall -- and keeps her shutters down? Can a tryst with her then make much sense -- now again this day At Hridoypur where confusions -- are done with childish play?

_____________________________
Translation-cum-transcreation of a classic Bengali poem হৃদয়পুর (Hridoypur) by Shakti Chattopadhyay. The poem was published in his collection entitled ধর্মে আছো জিরাফেও আছ (dhorme aachho giraffe-eo achho, meaning, you exist in religion as well as in the giraffe) around the year 1977.

**For those unfamiliar with the Bengali language, the word “hridoy” means heart. The word “pur” means a locality. It’s a common suffix carried by a number of large as well as small towns and villages in India, such as Nagpur, Kanpur and so on. Hridoypur could mean a geographical territory, and indeed a locality by that name exists, but in the present context, the word “hridoy” (heart) lends to it a poetic connotation.

 
 
 
 
 

Drunk

This version of the translation: 22.12.2014.

Make him a little more drunk. Or else this universe He'll find it mighty hard to bear. He's only a young man still, Oh Lord. Well then, to his middle age convert him now -- Or else this universe Will find him mighty hard to bear.

__________________
Translation-cum-transcreation of a Bengali poem মাতাল (matal, meaning drunk) by Sankha Ghosh. It was published in his collection নিহিত পাতালছায়া (nihito patalchhaya, meaning Hidden Shadow of the Netherworld) in 1967.

Loony

Photo of Howrah Bridge

Photo of Howrah Bridge

'Sky resounding -- what's this roar for Fretting and fuming and a ruin of health? Living itself will make life livable Dying causes certain death.' -- His eyes lit up with a hint of a twinkle, As the tipsy signor exhorted thus -- A swig or two need at most be consumed For what's to be borne -- to be borne sans fuss. 'Perch atop the Howrah Bridge And search way down or straight upright -- Only two classes you'll get to see One is daft and the other bright.'

______________________________
Translation-cum-transcreation of a Bengali poem পাগল (pagol) by Sankha Ghosh. It was published in his collection নিহিত পাতালছায়া (nihito patalchhaya, meaning Hidden Shadow of the Netherworld) in 1967.

Note: Howrah Bridge is a well-known bridge across the River Hoogly which flows through the city of Kolkata.

Tiger

(This Latest Version 18.12.2014) Even though a sheet of paper, a tiger it must be all the same Should I remove away its fetters? Or, is it better to make it tame? I've finally figured out now, what's the nature of the offence Compared to the mighty rapiers, sharper it seems are the pens. In this static, densely filled up, bereft of moisture, total darkness Rhythms when they lend their hands to let us light up our torches Fear-provoking, more than this state, nothing ever can exist A boundary therefore I have drawn up keeping myself inside it. Tell me why then concealed tigers -- nonetheless here on and oft Keep on roaming even today? Go away you, go get lost. Even though a sheet of paper, a tiger it must be all the same Won't be wise to remove its fetters, better instead to make it tame.

____________________________
Translation of a Bengali poem বাঘ (bagh, meaning Tiger) by Sankha Ghosh. The poem was written towards the end of the 21 months Emergency Period (1975-77) declared in India by the Indira Gandhi Government. It was not published in any previous collection of Sankha Ghosh’s poems and is appended to the Complete Works (Volume 1) as a part of a new collection entitled বন্ধুরা যখন তরজা করে (meaning When Friends Engage in Extempore Song Tournaments). Sankha Ghosh’s complete poems was published of the poet published in two volumes by Dey’s Publishing around 1993.

 
 
 
 

In this Faraway Land

(This version: 16.12.2014)

In this far away land, it all suits fine Drain pipe trousers, a tunic wild Laundered scarves -- With a false identity carefully filed In this faraway land, it all suits fine. Briar pipe and pointy toed shoes Nose bridge gripped by darkened glasses -- "A keeping off the sun" excuse In this faraway land, it all suits fine. But your palm tree spray -- A dwelling in your heart where the soft clouds sway From where to begin The rest of your life had been your aim If from there now a sanction came In this faraway land, it all suits fine.

_________________________
Translation-cum-transcreation of a classic Bengali poem এই বিদেশে (ei bideshe) by Shakti Chattopadhyay. The poem was chosen from his collection I Have Killed a Golden Fly — আমি সোনার মাছি খুন করেছি , published around 1980. Since a translation should address persons not familiar with the Bengali language or culture, I have deliberately removed a reference to the Ashvatthama tale in the poem. “Falsehood” is all that I retained, thereby sacrificing a part of the poetic charm. However, this was unavoidable.

Lonely — A Haiku

2Elderly_Woman-239x300


Local trains delayed -- Maids' cacophony missing This lonely old age ...