To a Pained One | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 19, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 19, 2019


To a Pained One

(“Kono ek Baethita ke”)

Now late at night you have a bed

A quiet and dark room

Placidity and silence

Think of nothing more

Listen to no one speaking

Just wipe your bloodied heart clean

And tucked like the tuberose

Go to sleep.

(“Ghumaye Poribo Aami” from Ruposhi Bangla) 

I’ll fall asleep one day on one of your star-studded nights.

Perhaps youth will still be sticking to my soul—perhaps 

I’ll be in my prime then —that will be so nice! But sleep

Overwhelms me now—Bengal’s grassy green bed lies beneath.

Eyelids shut. Tucked within mango tree leaves, Kach insects doze.

I too will doze off like them in this grassy land I love—in silence!

The stories stored in my soul will eventually fade. New ones—

New festivals—will replace old ones— in life’s honey-tinged slight

In your forever busy minds —when finally you youthful ones

Will be done tearing grassy stems and leaves—when Manikmala

Will come here to pick up crimson-red bat and kamranga fruits

On some mellow autumnal morning—when yellow shefali flowers

Will fall on this grass as shaliks and wagtails fly far, far away—

I’ll feel the sun—the clouds—lying down in death-like stupor!

Fakrul Alam is UGC Professor at the University of Dhaka. In 1999 he published from UPL a translation of Jibanananda Das’s selected poems with glossary and introduction, marking a bout of scholarly attention to the poet’s work.

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