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.

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