Category Archives: English Compositions

Exchange

cherry
 
 
desolate2

 In its stead then, you receive
          A silent pool wrought just for you
          A looking glass clear and painted blue
               Water, light-filled, glows --
          Image of a branch, flowers bowed 
          The fluttering sail of a violet cloud
                  A fulfilled heart assures --
An inward eye can all perceive. 


In its stead then, you receive
         Musings mundane, void and bare
         Dusty feet marked paths that stare
               Winds sucked dry of tears --
         A distant familiar voice might call
         During a midday, bereft of all
               No one turns and hears.
These too did you have to leave!                  

_______
Translation-cum-transcreation of a classic Bengali poem বিনিময় (binimoy, meaning exchange) by Amiya Chakravarty. The poem was published around 1953 in a collection of Chakravarty’s poems entitled পারাপার (parapar, meaning ferrying across). I take this opportunity to thank my wonderful friend Surja Sankar Ray for his interpretation of the poem as well as his advice on the many drafts preceding what has been posted.

Hridoypur** (Revised)

Early version: December 31, 2014
This version: January 5, 2020

A veil of darkness still there was -- and yet the light of day Hridoypur was all abuzz -- with perplexities 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 perplexities -- 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”, which literally translates to “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, Mathurapur 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.

Flaubert


Flaubert studied law
Which certainly was his flaw
Thank Lord though he was clever
Which is why he never
Turned into lauyert
And simply remained Flaubert.

Lawyers


Strange I think are those lawyers
For their days last each for twennyears
Which probably means as I fears
You really don’t need those lawyers.

God — Haiku


giggled aloud God–
as he watched the universe–
stage his slapstick play…

Eclipse –Haiku


her lonely figure —
won’t let a lonely sun watch —
her lonely shadow …

Bondage — Haiku


unable to break
our bondage eternal —
my worry and I …

US FUSS


I wish I knew
Why the deuce is a U,
Followed by an S,
Called United States–
When for all intents and purp’ses,
A tini mini u, preceding a wiggly wriggly s,
As we were taught way back, in kindergarten class,
Is not just handfuls of yous, but earthfuls of us.

Fate


The tragedy for most of us is that
Ultimately we turn old and fat.


____
Based on Ogden Nash:
The trouble with a kitten is that
Eventually it becomes a cat.

Rear Fear


Onomatopoeia
Rhymes with rear
Which I suspect
Is a cause of fear.