(Translated from a poem in Bengali by a
popular modern poet, Niren Chakrabarty)
If you drop a comb by chance, do you know what happens?
I am sure you don’t.
Well I can tell you.
You have a visitor knocking at your door.
If somebody winds and winds
the ‘anchal’ of her saree into a knot.
there’s surely, _ must be a meaning in this,
which I don’t think you would ever believe.
Well, _ I do.
S o m e o n e must be in love with her.
He was incredibly wonderful. So much,
that he never surfaced after he dived in that afternoon.
No one knows about it. N O ONE.
Not even about her
winding the anchal round and round her finger .
There was nothing to be done.
It was for me to see that the
comb was callously lying on the ground.
(N.B. ‘Anchal’ is the part of the saree which hangs over the
shoulder and could be tied round the waist.)
He Gave Everything
(Translated from a Bengali poem by Purnendu Patri)
He is not a miser. He has given Everything.
The salt in the sea and the sugar in the tea-cup;
loveliness and incense;
dark caverns within the soul and the poisonous shadows
of the moonlit sky.
The reason which explains the brittleness of glass
at the slighest callous touch.
When He chose to give, He gave All.
When He will choose to Take, He will spare Nothing.
Only, a few drops of blood will sparkle and blossom
on the pain-filled Fingers.
A veil of words hung between them
A gush of wind blew away the veil
So silence crept in.
Silence can create waves
Caressing the brow, the eyes, lips and all
The imaginal body blinds the Eye.
Someone adjusts the curtain of words back again
The vision snaps.
The hours, those hours are coming to an end.
I have a man’s fist in my head
which crashes on the memories
splintering the pieces all around me.
A splash of gulal in the horizon
Rosy smiles that ripple in the breeze
A distant smell which blows back memories.
SHE WALKS IN KUSUM WOVEN SAREE
IN SENSUOUS DELIGHT
SHE SETS FIRE TO THE DRIED BRANCHES
OF THE SHRIVELLED UP TREES.
N.B. ‘Gulal’ is dust powder used in the spring time
festival by the youth on each other in India. ‘Kusum’ is
a spring time flower with an intoxicating smell.
The door swings
Desire waits on its hinges
Dew drops glisten in the shades of thinning darkness
The Sun could storm in, suck in and spare Nothing.
Name: Jayita Sengupta
Date of Birth: 2nd Oct, 1967
Designation: Lecturer, South Calcutta Girls’ College, under Calcutta University
Research Interest: New English Literatures; gender issues on a cross-cultural perspective; post-colonial theory; feminist theory.
Jayita has published articles on critical theory, New English Literatures and is involved in translation from Bengali to English.
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