Jibanananda Das: Baitarani | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 21, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:43 AM, April 21, 2018

Poetry

Jibanananda Das: Baitarani

I'm not sure when I rose from the grave of death—
The river Baitarani had granted me leave.
Spreading my black wings like a vulture
I flew towards the earth.
A flight of seven days and nights
Might bring me back in light—
The light and sacred love of the world!
The river Baitarani had granted me leave.
 
When seven days were passed—
It was dark night on the side of the earth
I saw a flock of wearied vultures
Flying fast like me.
Coming from the world—with eyes now closed,
After observing the world from dawn to dusk.
O! How dead tired were these vultures!
 
I called to them: “Didn't we meet at Baitarani?
Where one sleeps as it's always night there--
O! At that bank of the Death-river!
Didn't you like the light, color and kingfisher!”
I asked them such—but none listened.
Alas! With darkness they became one!
 
Whirling wide, wan wings amidst emptiness,
Only one stayed back, wondering,
It asked: “Going back to the world? Who do you have there?”
“Alas! Except me everyone is there—
Only this morning I've reached the water of Baitarani.
Those who love me and those I love
Are all left back in my World!”
 
It ponders for a while—
Becomes wearied—then unaware-
Spreads its wings towards Baitarani.
I continued: “You see, those branches
Of Hijal, Tamal and Peepul tree—
And there—there flows the river of my village...”
It didn't stop to listen and flew towards the mist.
 
After that a week passed
In the dark and the light of the world
Again I'm flying alone spreading my black wings like a vulture
I've seen them —till now they remember me—
Love me—but only if I had my old features—
If they could feel the love of my companionship
If they could find me anew in every moment
They would love me more—
 
That's it and nothing else worried me.
 
That's what I pondered for a week
While roaming around their windows
If only I could get back that Body—that life
Then, my amour, and love would seem true.
Today, it's only a marvel—
Only a marvel full of memory and mistakes
Perhaps even only bewilderment
For a whole week I just brooded upon this thought.
 
Then, I thought of death—death is better—
Death once again.
 
Spreading my wide wan wings I fly
Like those hasty vultures amidst the emptiness—
I am not taking any leaving, nor playing any game, neither am I dreaming—
Where there is dark abyss of water—I am going there
Baitarani gives peace—peace—peace— sleep—sleep—sleep
So ceaselessly like a wearied vulture
I fly towards it. 
 
Sonika Islam is Lecturer of English, Eastern University.

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