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 yard
Latticed scaffold, boundary-wall brick-laid
All of these the mason deftly made.
For the house, how deeply did he care
Kept it tidy, as he would his face
That no one called it horror, nor failure
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 an eve brought tremors down the street
When 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.