12:00 AM, August 20, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:37 AM, August 20, 2018

TWILIGHT DANCE ("Godhuli Sandhyar Nritya")

By Jeebanananda Das

Where at the end of the earth lie scattered

A cluster of patios—silent—in ruin—

There, behind the tall haritaki trees

The autumn evening sun—rotund—sanguine—

 

Stealthily dips—into moonlight.

From a pipal tree only a lonely owl

Looks on: the famous encounter

Of the golden globe and the silver bowl.

 

Under the haritaki branches, like diamond,

Sparkle exultant, crystal-clear waters;

Shadowy human skulls—the silence—

Scent of dry leaves—madhukupi grass.

 

A few goddess-like women:

Their men: competent, young;

Inside their braids are bred hell's clouds,

Under their gait, turf of Hong Kong.

 

There clandestine water fades and turns into diamonds,

No noise of falling leaves far and nigh;

Yet from thuds of cannon shots they can

Make out the wreck of Shanghai.

 

There under the intimate moon, the women gather,

Adept in the art of beckoning with eyes and braid,

Nevermore will men at home and abroad

Take to war and trade.

 

Deep kisses empower them gradually, no more do they crave

For a human sleep with their heads resting on pillows;

From the rippling on the fields of this low lain earth

Through the wrecked world, in great billows

 

They carry them through sinuous alleys—into moonlit nights.

Spent is the glassy sunshine of war and trade;

With voiceless clouds of hell in their braids the women

On Scorpio, Cancer, Virgo and Pisces tread.

 

Subrata Augustine Gomes is a poet and a translator.