Early Version: January 14, 2015 Latest Version: May 27, 2015 ________________________ By the field, the mason deftly made The yellow house, with a modest strip of a yard Latticed scaffold, a boundary-wall brick-laid All of these the mason deftly made. How deeply did he care for the house Kept it tidy, as he would his face That a failure no one called it, nor hideous Or an outpost, a forlorn gathering place. By the field the mason deftly made The yellow house, where clouds billowed and flocked And, besides, the latticed scaffold swayed Luckless fate, in trite pomposity locked. Suddenly, one eve brought tremors down the street As a vehicle pulled up southwards with panache Fun-watchers, curious, swarmed forwards to greet As he bought up all there was in cash. Alone, and away from public view to find, The mason left his scaffolding behind.
Translation-cum-transcreation of a classic Bengali poem হলুদবাড়ি (holudbari) meaning ‘Yellow House’ by Shakti Chattopaddhay. The poem appeared in the collection ধর্মে আছো জিরাফেও আছো (dhorme achho giraffe-eo achho, meaning, you exist in religion as well as in the giraffe). Surja Sankar Ray’s help is gratefully acknowledged. But for him, the project would have remained incomplete.