Monday, July 25, 2016

UNFINISHED

UNFINISHED

Tell him, please tell him -
At long last I met him.
At that time at the end of a shower,
the sun had come out and touched
the blooming bunch of Gulmohar flowers.
At the temple inside the forest,
there was sound of music from the trees,
The song of praise of the eternal was heard –
Tears flowed from my eyes,
I felt humbled by the prayer,
Mesmerized were my mind and soul.

Over how many births and rebirths,
the boon from the gods
-on speechless nights of destiny -
has been writing across the sky,
words of reassurance of this meeting of ours!
Along the shore of existence,
I have carried the message of that meeting
through the flow of my blood.
Looking at the distant sky, my eager eyes
search for a note for the lyric embedded in that meeting.

Please tell him today –
‘We have come to know each other now.
You guest of mine, silently and repeatedly
like a shadow - trembling – you came to my door.
On how many nights of the month of Chaitra
-through the fragrance of unseen flowers -
your breath coming close to me, vibrated my veil
and made the strings of the sitar cry.’

Please tell him today –
‘I felt deeply ashamed within.
I could not say anything as my throat was choked,
Neither did I have the dress befitting the occasion.
It is full moon that is hidden in my bosom,
It was the new moon only, that you encountered that day.
Day by day, my dear, my offerings are bound to increase -
Please forgive me for my penury of the day.’

Dr DEBIDAS RAY.

English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem entitled
“Asamapta” from his collection of poems “Mahua” in
SANCHAYITA, 11th.ed 2010, pp625-6

Original Bengali poem first line – bolo, tare bolo


Published in THE VISVA-BHARATI QUARTERLY
Volume 24 Numbers 2 & 3 July 2015 – December 2015 pp2-3

SAGARI

 SAGARI

Outwardly, overcome with uncontrollable passion,
she surges into an inspirational state
and hurls waves - roaring with laughter-
towards the sun and the moon.
Her restless eyes- in a response to light - remit light.
At times, through the wall of darkness,
there appears the frowning eye of the storm.
Every now and then, the ensuing stir
- in a fiercely whirling speed -
ravages the sanctity of the coast.
Deep inside her, it is all silent and solemn,
Neither the bottom nor the shore is anywhere
to be seen.
It seems, as though it is limitless austere endevour
that she has saved and stored within.
Is her name Sagari?

Dr DEBIDAS RAY

English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem entitled
‘Sagari” from his collection of poems Mahua
2nd edition 1934 (reprinted 1958) p.109.

First line of the original Bengali poem: bahire se duranta aabege

Published in THE VISVA-BHARATI QUARTERLY
Volume 24 Numbers 2&3 July 2015-December 2015 p.1.

COMPANION OF THE POOR

COMPANION OF THE POOR

Where resides the lowest of low and the poorest of poor,
It is there where you step in and gracefully place your fee
That’s behind everybody, that’s beneath everyone
and amongst those who are dispossessed of everything.
When I bow my head to touch your feet to offer pronam,
My head gets stuck somewhere in between,
When your feet descends below a level where indignity prevails,
My head - I concede - cannot bow down to that level –
That’s behind everybody, that’s beneath everyone
and amongst those who are dispossessed of everything.

Arrogance can never reach where you wander around
shabbily dressed, looking humble and poor -
That’s behind everybody, that’s beneath everyone
and amongst those who are dispossessed of everything.
Where wealth and honour co-exist in abundance,
It is there where I expect your company.
Where you are in company with those who are forsaken at home,
My heart lacks the will to climb down to such a level -
That’s behind everybody, that’s beneath everyone
and amongst those who are dispossessed of everything.

Dr DEBIDAS RAY.

English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem
entitled “Deener sangi” from his collection of poems “Geetanjali”
in SANCHAYITA,11th ed,2010,p508.
The first line of the original Bengali poem: –
Jethay thaake sabaar  adham deener hote deen


Published in THE VISVA-BHARATI QUARTERLY
Volume 23 Number 4 & Volume Number 1 January 2015- June 2015  p3.


IT IS THOSE WHO TOIL

IT IS THOSE WHO TOIL                            

Rowing along the current of effortless time,
my mind travels gazing at the empty sky 
On the journey to that vast open space, 
pictures made up of shadows are seen.         
For so many ages, group after group of countless people             
-triumphantly and in great speed-
marched away in the distant past.
Obsessed with imperial greed,
came the bands of Pathaans and then the Mughals;            
Wheels of their victory- chariot kicked up dust in air,
The banner of their triumph fluttered away.
Now, when I look at the sky
I can’t find even a trace of them today.
On that clear blue sky- in mornings and evenings –
the rays of sunrise and sunset - over the ages -    
continued to display their various colours.

Once again, under that vast open space
-along the rail-roads and in carriages
driven by steaming engines –in group after group,
came the powerful Englishmen, show-casing their might.                                                            
I know for certain, that the current of time
will flow over their path too and the network of their empire
surrounding the colonial countries will just be swept away.  
I also know that their mercantile marines will
leave no mark whatsoever, in this celestial world.                       

When I open my eyes and look down on mother earth,
I can see streams of people - amidst great uproar-
crisscrossing different roads in different groups
and from time immemorial, searching for their            
everyday needs in life till death.     
Forever and ever, they row their boats and steer the sails,
In open fields, they sow seeds and harvest ripened paddy –
They keep working in cities and in large tracts of arid land.

The umbrella over the king’s head comes down;  
The bugle of the battle falls silent;           
The victory-tower – out of ignorance - forgets its own relevance;
All those with blood-shot eyes carrying blood- stained weapons          
hide their faces inside the stories of  the text books of children.     
Meanwhile, the working people continue to work            
- in homeland and abroad –
in Assam, Bengal and Orissa near sea-coasts and river-ghats
as well as in Punjab, Bombay and Gujarat.

Rumbling noises, humming notes - day and night -
clinging steadfastly add clamour to life’s daily journey.
Sorrow and happiness – throughout the days and nights
give the chanting of life’s most sacred hymn,             
a grave and sonorous tone.
Over the ruins of hundreds of empires,
the working people continue to toil.

Dr DEBIDAS RAY

English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem entitled
“Ora  kaaj kare” from his collection of poems “Aarogya”
in SANCHAYITA, 11th ed,2010, pp831-832.
First line of original Bengali poem – Alos samaydhaara beye               

Published in THE VISVA-BHARATI QUARTERLY

Volume 23 Number 4 & Volume 24 Number 1 January 2015 - June 2015 pp1-2.                   

Sunday, June 22, 2014

TAGORE POEMS TRANSLATED IN ENGLISH

THE MONSOON MONTH OF ASAARH

DEBIDAS RAY

The entire Asaarh-sky is filled with fresh blue clouds –
not even an inch is left.
Please do not step out of the house today.
It is pouring with incessant rain – the field growing the autumn paddy
is filled to the brim with water,
the bank on the other side appears dark with black clouds.
Please do not go out of the house today.

The cows are repeatedly lowing – bring Dhabali to the cowshed now.
As soon as the day draws to a close, it will be dark at once.
Please stand at the door and see whether those who went
to the field have returned.
I have no idea where the cowboy spent the whole day.
As soon as the day comes to an end, it will become dark.

Listen, someone wanting to cross the river is shouting for the boatman.
Ferrying has stopped today.
The eastern wind is blowing; there is no one near the river
The waves are rolling over both the banks.
Continuous rain falling rapidly over water is making
a rippling noise.
Ferrying has stopped for the day.
Please stay indoors, do not go out of the house today.

The sky is dark, not much of the day is left.
The cloth covering her body will be soaked by the pouring rain.
The steps to the ghat are slippery now,
Look, how the reeds of thin bamboos are swinging wildly
by the side of the path.
Please do not go out of the house today.


English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem
entitled “Asaarh” in his collection of poems “Khanika”
                                        in SANCHAYITA,11th ed.2010, p421.    

                            Original Bengali poem first line – nil nabaghane aasarh gagane 


                         Published in The Visva-Bharati Quarterly
                    Volume -22 Numbers 3 & 4   October-2013 – March-2014. p1.                                                                                                   


FEARLESS

 DEBIDAS RAY

We are not going to make playthings of heaven on earth
being captivated by beautiful songs evoking tears.          
We are not going to fill our bridal night with pleasantness
of the sting by five arrows of passion.
We will avoid begging with timid heart at the feet of destiny.
We have nothing to fear as we know for sure that we are
here to stay together both you and me.

We will fly high the banner of love while crossing inaccessible path
with unstoppable speed and performing uphill task.
Even if we have to face the misery of rough days,
we will still not call for truce nor ask for consolation.
If the oar breaks while crossing the river and the sail is torn apart,
faced with death we will know that where you are I am there too.             ,

We have seen the world through each other’s eyes,
we have looked at each other too -
we both endured the heat of desert sand on path.
We never ran after any alluring mirage nor deceived ourselves
by turning truth into falsehood –
                      With this pride, we will carry on in this world as long as we live.
Let the message be glorified my love that you are here and
I am here too.



English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem
entitled “Nirbhay” in his collection of poems “Mahua”
in SANCHAYITA, 11th ed. 2010 ,p627.

Original Bengali poem first line
aamra dujona sargakhelna garibo na dharanite

Published in TheVisva–Bharati Quarterly
Volume – 22 Numbers 3 & 4 October–2013 – March-2014.p2.


PIYARI

 DEBIDAS RAY

 Holding a lamp in hand, arrives in the courtyard,
the maiden daughter of the King, her name is Piyari.
When I asked her what she has come for,
she whispered to say, “I ask for nothing.
All I want is that you have a good look at me,
let the light of my lamp fill your mind in full.
Because I come and go across your door,
that’s what makes the wind blow in bakul trees.
When the Jasmines bloom all over the forest,
I bring them in the expanse of my sari to show
them round.
Whatever flowers blossom anywhere in the forest,
they all get thrilled the moment I touch them.
When the morning star appears at dawn and you are alone,
it’s me who goes and greets it properly.
As soon as my anklets start to tinkle,
the blades of the grasses start to shiver.
The flower-beds in your garden all dress themselves up
and whisper amongst themselves, ‘Piyari has come.’
As the sun shines over morning clouds,
the forest wakes up to say, ‘Piyari has come.’
When festival of spring arrives on phalgun full moon night,
there is tumult all round with cries of ‘Piyari, Piyari.’
As the breeze revels in village amidst the mango blossoms,
the flutes everywhere start singing the tune of Piyari’s name.
When water overflows in the Yamuna in autumn,
it keeps chanting, ‘Piyari, Piyari,’ across its banks.”


English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem entitled
“Piyari” in his collection of poems “Galpo salpo”
                                                     in SANCHAYITA, 11th ed.2010, pp836-37.  
                                      Original Bengali poem first line – aasilo dewari haate rajar  jhiari

Published in The Visva-Bharati Quarterly
Volume 22 Numbers 3& 4 October-2013 – March-2014 p3.  
       

Saturday, January 4, 2014

COTTAGE DWELLER

                                                             COTTAGE DWELLER

                                                                   DEBIDAS RAY

You have set up your cottage with unbolted door
by the side of the path under the shade of the banyan tree
When I pass in front of it, I think to myself
that I too had a claim over your home.
Caught in a whirlwind, I lost that right –
being busy with too much work and responsibilities galore.

The passerby who walks this way
quite unmindfully comes and sits down here.
The manner he sits is the same as he walks –
he comes and goes in his own laid back style.
His seat is light and very little luggage he carries -
straight in he comes and straight out he goes.

I, on my part, construct a house foregoing any rest,
build floor upon floor keeping an eye on the sky.
In the complex web of thoughts I try to entrap distant time,
in the process, I myself get enmeshed in the same web.
Eventually I end up forfeiting my right over the path.


In the beginning of the poem Kutirbasi these three stanzas were
                                  found in the original hand written draft which was yet to be finalized.
Sanchayita,11thed. 2010. p872-73.

                                             Published in POETRY WORLD, vol.5(no2) June, 2012,p17
                             
                                                    FATIGUE

                                                    DEBIDAS RAY

                         Pardon me if I feel tired – pardon me my Lord
                         Pardon me if ever I lag behind on the road.
                         If my heart trembles like this, as it does today
                         Ignore that pang and pardon me Lord.

                         Forgive that meanness, Oh Lord,
                         Forgive if ever I look back.
                         If due to day’s heat under the burning sun,
                         the garland offered in the puja-plate dries up 
                         Ignore that dullness and pardon me Lord.
                                            

             English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem
             entitled ‘Klanti’ from his collection of poems
             Geetali’ in Sanchayita 4thed, 1943.p525.

      Published in The Visva-Bharati Quarterly
      Volume:-19-20 October-2010-September-2011 pp.109-110.