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.