Tag Archives: bear

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.

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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.

The Illusion Tree (Mayatoru)

Translation of an original Bengali poem by Ashok Bijoy Raha.

The poet experimented with an interesting and unusual rhythmic structure for this beautiful poem. It reads quite naturally in Bengali. However, for English readers, the rhythm may not come easily if the lines are arranged as they appeared in the original Bengali poem. To take care of the problem, I am starting off with the English reader friendly format. This is followed by the format that is closer to the Bengali original. The essential difference between the two is that the “English reader” version has split up long lines into short ones. The words used are identical for the two versions. Also, I have added punctuation in the first version that were absent in the Bengali poem. Version 2 of the translation avoids punctuation as well.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Version 1: For English Readers

There happened to be a tree
Throwing up its arms,
As soon as the eve arrived,
It danced in ghostly spree.
On occasions again,
When the clouds glistened as they gathered
Atop the woods it growled.
For a bear it’d become, its shoulders in a hump,
It shivered if it rained and in a fever it’d slump.
When a spell of rain is over,
And full of smiles once again the moon begins to hover.
Where on earth did the bear go, where for that matter the tree?
A million diamond fishes have thronged
To form the crown I see.

What was it that tilted
In the half-shadows of dawn?
I didn’t know –
This I could’ve sworn.
As the morning then arrived,
Not a single fish survived.
The silver fringe of a shimmering light
Is all that caught my sight.

Version 2: For Readers familiar with the Bengali language

There happened to be a tree
Throwing up its arms as soon as the eve arrived it danced in ghostly spree.
On occasions again
When the clouds glistened
As they gathered atop the woods it growled
For a bear it’d become, its shoulders in a hump
It shivered if it rained and in a fever it’d slump
When a spell of rain is over
And full of smiles once again the moon begins to hover
Where on earth did the bear go, where for that matter the tree
A million diamond fishes have thronged to form the crown I see.

What was it that tilted in the half-shadows of dawn
I didn’t know – this I could’ve sworn
As soon’s as the morning arrived,
Not a single fish survived.
The silver fringe of a shimmering light
Is all that caught my sight.