Star literature eid special issue, 2018
Naked, Lonely Hand (Nagna Nirjan Haat)
Poem by Jeebanananda Das
Darkness thickens on the sky once more,
Light's enigmatic sister— this darkness.
The one that has always loved me
And yet I have never seen her face—
Like that woman
Darkness deepens on the Phalgun sky.
A long-lost city suddenly looms out of my mind
And on my heart a dark palace casts its shade.
On some shore of the Indian Ocean
Or the Mediterranean
Or the Bay of Tyre
There was a city one day,
There was this palace;
Full of priceless furniture,
Persian rugs, Cashmeres, unblemished pearls and corals from Bahrain currents,
My shattered heart, lifeless eyes, erstwhile dreams and desires
And you, woman—
All this filled that realm someday.
Plenty of orange sunlight,
Countless parrots and pigeons,
Shady mahogany foliage all around;
Plenty of orange sunshine,
A whole lot of the orange sun,
It's been hundreds of centuries since I saw your face,
Since I longed to see your face.
The maritime lore comes back with the Phalgun breeze,
The mournful curves of splendid domes and arches,
Scent of long-gone nashi pears,
Deer and lion parchments— the grey manuscripts—
Stained-glass rainbow windows—
And through the peacock-wing curtains
The allure of far-flung chambers
Ageless marvel, ageless awe!
Drapes and rugs sprinkled over with sweaty sunshine— incarnadine,
In a blushing goblet— watermelon wine!
And… your naked, lonely hand;
Your naked, lonely hand.