Saturday, January 4, 2014



This translated poem is protected  by copyright ©  2010  Debidas Ray

It is time for the bird to depart
The abode will be empty soon.
With songs silenced, the detached nest
will drop down to the ground
amidst stir of the forest.
With the dry leaves and withered flowers
I will fly over an unchartered course
from this side of the sea at sunset on to
the other side at day break.

For such a long period this earth
has provided me with hospitality.
At times I received summons which
carried the smell of mango-blossoms
graced by the generosity of the
spring month of Phalgun.
The new leaves of the Ashoka tree
signaled to me to set to music which I did lovingly.
At times hit by the storm of the summer month of Baisakh,
my voice got choked with hot sand and
my wings were immobilised.

All in all I am thankful for the honour
I received in life.
When this exhausting journey starting from
this side ends, I shall – for a moment – look
back and bowing my head with humility,
sing songs of praise of the presiding deity
of my birth.

English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem
Entitled “Jabaar Samay Holo Bihanger” in his collection
of poems “Prantik” in SANCHAYITA  11thed, 2010 pp 775.



The day comes to an end – darkness descended on earth
There is no point carrying on rowing the boat any more.
“Listen, whose country is this where a
foreigner like me has landed?”
when I asked her with a smile
At once without speaking a word –
splashing water from her full pitcher
with head down walked away the young lass.
Anchor my boat in this ghat I shall.

Shadows are silently creeping 
on the ground under thick forest cover.
The still water evokes no response,
Motionless are the leaves.
The birds in the forest are already asleep.
In this golden evening on the middle
of the lonely path
only the pitcher, struck by her bangles
makes a metallic cry.
The very sight of this does appeals to me.

The lightening from the cloud
is splashing over the golden trident.
The lamp is burning in the temple at a distance.
Made of white marble, the shadowy path
is totally covered with shed bakul flowers.
On seeing the rows of dwelling houses,
the gardens with fence,
restless becomes the mind of the passerby.
The lamp is burning in the temple at a distance.

From the Royal Palace the distant air
carries the Purabi tune in the sky.
The world has moved on to somewhere unknown.
No idea why a sense of detachment overcomes my soul
This coming and going again and again
                -to faraway abroad -
does not appeal to me anymore.
The Purabi tune fills the sky.
On top of the palace in the forest slowly descends the night
There is no point in rowing the boat any more.
If somewhere I can find a place to rest
I will go there at once.
I will go to the turning of the road
Where with head down went the maiden
carrying the full pitcher on her waist.
Anchor my boat in this ghat I shall.
English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem
entitled “Diner Seshe” in his collection of poems “Chitra”
in SANCHAYITA, 11th ed.2010, p257-8.



           Speak, you speak
Oh self-born past, in the endless night
              why do you just sit and stare?
           Speak, please speak.

Era and ages come and pour their stories
                            into the ocean of yours
So many streams of so many lives come and mingle
                        with your water.
By the time they arrive they have lost their flow,
their repetitive warbles have come to a stop –
Current less and speechless – where do you take
                                                          them away?
Oh past, you speak, please speak to my heart.

                   Speak, please speak.
You stupefied past, the secretive you,
              you are not unconscious -
               Why don’t you speak?
I have heard the sound of your transit
                          right inside my heart.
So many savings of so many days
                you left behind in my soul.
                    Oh past, in all corners of the earth,
            you keep on working secretly behind the scene.
In the fickleness of the garrulous days
                                              you manage to stay still.
Oh past, you speak, please speak right into my heart.

                  Speak, please speak.
You never happen to miss a single tale; you pick up all of them up -
                   So speak, please speak
In each page of life with invisible script,
you wrote chronicles of our forefathers, delving into the core.
Those whose stories might have been forgotten by all,
you never forgot ever their minutest details.
Struck dumb with amazement, all those forgotten stories
                                          you continue to carry.
Please give them voice – oh saintly past –
                            Speak, please speak.

English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem
entitled “Ateet” in his collection of poems “Utsarga”
in SANCHAYITA,11th ed.2010, pp 468-69.



Oh God, you are the venerable one
You the Lord of my life, you are fully aware
what caste I belong to.
In spite of that, pushing aside everyone else on
                                                             your way
Why – suffering what grief – you presented yourself in front of me.
Carrying the full pitcher on my waist,
following the curves on path in the field
- in intense heat in mid afternoon -
I was hurrying back home.
You asked me for water to quench your thirst –
I am a lowly woman-
That I will ignore you, would it be proper for me?
Putting the pitcher down at your feet
I said, “Please don’t make me feel guilty.”

Hearing this, you looked at my face with your
                                          all - conquering eyes,
Then you laughed and said, “Oh you daughter of the soil,
where holy is the soil that makes the earth 
- full of sweet dark complexion -
likewise, you are the seat of Laxmi,
kissing her lotus feet you stay put.
The one who is beautiful has no caste,
                        she is always liberated.
The sunlit dawn drapes her with its own clothes.
The star - studded night threads the bridal garland
                                                 for her.
Please listen to me,
The hundred- petalled lotus has no particular caste.
The one who manifests the noble intention of heaven,
can she ever be impure?
When the creator is satisfied with his own creation,
every day there is ablution with showering of blessings
from the world.”
Pronouncing this with a voice
that resembles the rumbling of saturated cloud,
you went away.

From that time onwards
I paint this worn out pitcher of mine
-with the light of the dawn- in many a colour
and decorate its earthen cover by drawing many sketches.
Oh great Lord, for the one - for accepting whom -
you came down from your pedestal,
let the offer of her beauty be carried forward to you.

English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem
entitled “Jalapatra” in his collection “Parishes” 
in SANCHAYITA, 11thed,2010,pp 652-54.



There was a small patch of land by the side of the kitchen,
That was the place where I used to play on dried up grass.
There used to be pile of ashes which looked like one big heap-
so much I decorated it with burnt out coals.
No one knew it was a hillock that I imagined it to be,
right at the bottom of that I sowed one tamarind seed.
It was the birthday bash for a six year old boy -
On that day, the first leaf appeared on my own tree.
I surrounded it from all sides with kerosene tins
and watered it morning and evening day after day.
I regularly gave it a portion of my breakfast,
but most of it was eaten up stealthily by crows.
Part of my milk I used to give it without knowledge of others.
The ants used to drink some of it, the rest did the tree.
It got covered with tender leaves and its branches came out
and by two years its height was same as that of mine.
That was my only tree, little was that corner and
that became my forest under the mount Chitrakut.
No one knew that it was sage Astabakra who resided there -
His beard rolled on the ground and not a word he spoke.
Lying in my bed at night I could clearly hear the sounds -
the monsters  would be hooting like the owls at that place

My last play under the tree was on my ninth birthday -
I put garland of flowers over its branches that morning.
Father left Ranaghat and went to Munsiganj,
he put me under the care of my aunt at Kolkata.
When I go to bed at night, I think about that tamarind tree
which stood in the corner of my rubbish dump.
Now there is no hermitage, heavenly river doesn’t flow -
Gone away far away the sage Astabakra .

English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem
entitled “Chitrakut” in his collection of poems “Chitrabichitra”
in SANCHAYITA, 11thed.2010,pp760-61.


                                                             COTTAGE DWELLER


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



Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday –
                        they all come in such a rush,
Have they got – in their house – huge aeroplanes?
Sunday – oh mother – why it comes so late?
Slowly she arrives after all the other days
Is her house beyond the sky further away
                                                   than others?
Does she - oh mother - come from a poor family
                                                           like yours?

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday –
they all intend to stay put,
they have no interest whatsoever
of going back home.
Who is it that hurries up Sunday so much -
the hourly bell seems to strike every half an hour.
In her house beyond the sky
her chores  seem to be that much more .
Does she - oh mother -come from a poor family
                                                     like yours?

Monday Tuesday and Wednesday –
they all seem to have sullen faces
and apparently  have great rivalry with
little children
But at the end of Saturday- night
as soon as I wake up,
what I see on Sunday’s face
is a permanent smile.
When she is ready to depart
she looks at our face with tears in her eyes.
Does she - oh mother- come from a poor family
                                                    like yours?

English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem
entitled  “Robibar” from his collection of poems
“Sishu Bholanath” in RABINDRA –RACHANABALI

Published in POETRY WORLD, vol. 5 (no 12),
April2013, pp.35-36


DEBIDAS RAY                       

‘Who will buy me up,
who will buy everything I have?’
Shouting and declaring my wares
I roam night and day
Alas, that is the way
my day passes away –
The load on my head has become
a great burden.
Some people just come, some just laugh
and some pitifully look.

In the middle of afternoon, I was walking
on King’s cobbled path,
With crown on his head, weapon in his hand,
on chariot came the King.
He got hold of my hand and said
‘I will procure you by force’ –
Whatever strength was there, got exhausted
in tugging and pulling.
With crown on his head, away went the King
on his golden chariot.

I was crossing through the lane
in front of a closed door.
The door opened, and out came an old man
with a purse in his hand.
He pondered and then said
‘I will buy it all with gold.’
He emptied his purse and walked up and down.
Without paying attention, with load on my head,
I walked away somewhere else.

In the evening, as the moon shines on a tree
full of buds
A beautiful woman came out near the bakul tree
She came near and said,
‘I will buy you with my smile.’
Eventually, her smile turned into tears
and slowly she went back to the shadowed
forest land.

The sun is shining on the sea-shore,
there are waves in the sea.
A child is playing with shells on the beach.
Like someone who is familiar to me,
he said, ‘I will buy you up for free’- 
I was at once relieved of my load on that day.  
Playfully, he bought me up without paying any price.

English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem
entitled ‘Charam Mulya’ in his collection of poems
‘Gitimalya’ in SANCHAYITA,11th ed. 2010, pp514-515

Published in Poetry World, vol. 6(no2), June 2013.pp58-59.



At what point of time,
I entered through the portal of life
to the abode of this wonderful world,
that particular moment was not known to me.
I did not know what was the power that
-like the buds in a large forest at dead of night-
made me blossom on the lap of this great mystery.

Yet in the morning, holding the head high,
the moment I opened my eyes and surveyed this world,
dressed in a sky-blue apparel stringed with golden rays
and came across this earthly life
- embedded with joy and sorrow -
then at once, it seemed to me that
like my mother’s bosom this unknown mystery
was extremely familiar and exclusively mine.

Apparently, shapeless and beyond comprehension-
that awesome power that has assumed the shape
of my mother and appeared  in front of me.              

English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem
entitled “Janma” in his collection of poems “ Naivedya”
in SANCHAYITA,11th ed. 2010,pp443-444.

Published in POETRY WORLD, vol.6 (no.3), July 2013, p59.



Today you sleep – I will keep vigil at the door
and keep the lamp burning
On your part you have loved me, today it’s me alone
who have to love you.
You don’t have to dress up for me any more –
from now on for you
I will keep my heart decorated with flowers
throughout day and night.

Your hands for so long, ignoring any fatigue
have gone on serving me,
Today after withdrawing them from all work
I will bear them on my head.
After finishing your acts of devotion now you are going away
surrendering heart and soul,
From this time onwards you accept my worship with tears
and my songs of praise.

English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem
entitled ‘Ekaki’  from his collection of poems
‘Smaran’ in Sanchayita 4thed, 1943.pp 448-449

Published in POETRY WORLD, vol. 6(no4)
August 2013, p50-51.



The King is going to war
amidst beating of drums and sounds of cymbals;
The whole earth is shaking.
The minister casts his net –of intrigues – wide
to pit one state against another so as to
tie them down in intricate knots.
The flow of commerce encircles the world
during the high and low tides alike.
Merchant ship rushes across
the shores of the sea.
The monument to commemorate glory
of the heroes is erected over the heap
of thousands of human skeletons –
Lifting its head high its summit looks
at the sky and roars with laughter.
The scholars repeatedly invade the impenetrable
castle of knowledge which is encircled by
the wall of books -
Their fame spreads widely from one country
to another.

Here near the outer limits of the village
the river flows slowly to the end of the
vast arid land with its current visibly decelerated.
The boat carrying the newly- wed bride
sails away to a distant village.
The sun sets and silence descends over the banks.
Palpitation grips the newly-wed’s heart.
Slowly in the darkness, the evening star
becomes visible near the horizon.

English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem
entitled “Yatra” in his collection of poems “Bichitra”
in SANCHAYITA, 11th ed.2010,pp642-43.

Published in POETRY WORLD, vol.6(no4), August 2013, p51-53.



Frenzied by my own smell,
I roam through the forest
like a musk - deer.
On a phalgun - night in southern breeze –
I can’t find my way.
What I want was wished mistakenly,
what I get I don’t want.

Getting out of my chest,
my inner desire
eludes like a mirage does.
When I try to embrace it with open arms,
I can’t get it back on to my chest.
What I want was wished mistakenly,
what I get I don’t want.

My flute seems to prefer
to hold on to its songs
like a restless madman.
For the one that I manage to retain –
I can’t find the tune.
What I want was wished mistakenly,
what I get I don’t want.

English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem
Entitled “Marichika” in his collection of poems “Utsarga”
in SANCHAYITA, 11th ed. 2010, p463.

Published in POETRY WORLD, vol 6(no4),
August 2013, p52.



Lest I understand you easily,
Is it that why you are so playful?
When you burst out into laughter
You may have tears locked inside.
I follow your deceptive ways fully,
The things you want to say
You never ever come out with.

Lest, I catch up with you easily
May be that’s why you are wayward.
In case I treat you at par with others,
You became hostile and awkward.
I understand your deceptive ways clearly
The path you want to follow
You never walk that way.

Because you want more than others
Is it that why you leave the scene?
Casually and with contempt
You toss aside the gift package.
I can now see through you thoroughly,
What is satisfactory for others
Never satisfies you.
English Translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem
‘Chhalana’ from his collection of poems
‘Utsarga’ in Sanchayita 4th.ed, 1943.p462

Volumes:19-20 October-2010-September-2011



Your sceptre of Justice - you yourself
have handed over to everyone’s hand
and to each one of us -Oh Emperor-
you have given the responsibility to rule.
This great honour, this onerous task –
I hope I am able to accept humbly
to bear on my head with reverence,
I should be able to discharge the duty
you assigned, without fearing anyone.

Where pardon means feeble weakness,
Oh ferocious Lord - as per your diktat-
I should be able to be ruthless in such cases.
The stark truth – at your instance - should 
blurt out of my tongue like a sharp sword.
By taking my place in your seat of Judgement
I should be able to uphold your honour.

The one who commits injustice and the one
                                       who tolerates the same
Let your hatred burn them alike like a bundle of straw.

English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem
entitled ‘Nyay Dando’ from his collection of poems
‘Naibedya’ in Sanchayita 4thed, 1943.p441-442 

Volumes: 19-20, October-2010-September -2011,p1.


                                                         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