Thursday, March 16, 2017

Breath and Heart

The images are not directly related to the verses that follow.  They might give you a sense of the season and the sights here in Brooklyn, New York.

Click on an image to see it in a somewhat larger and clearer format.  If you are using a web-browser on a traditional computer, you can then also click on the thumbnails for the other images. This might not be possible on a cellphone.

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After the Snow. Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. 2017 Feb 9.

Crossing Manhattan Bridge. 2017 February 19.

Trees. Starrett City, Brooklyn. 2017 February 19. 

Breath and Heart 

There is, to everything and everyone,
a softer side, that’s gentle, calm and mild—
and there’s another, that is hard and harsh,
oblivious to the pain and harm it does.

If only we could mouth a mantra that
could turn the others to their kinder selves,
then many of our troubles might have ends,
and all the world become a better one.

But finding no such spell in all we’ve learned,
the only thing we still could do might be
to turn ourselves towards our gentler halves—
to dwell therein, aware of breath and heart.

So when the anger rises or the fear,
observe it rising, as you would a wave—
and see it rise and crest and then subside—
so mind and heart can clearly work again.

Behold the fear and make of it your friend.
Observe the anger as you would a child’s.
Forgive the ones who act as though they’re blind,
and cleanse your heart of evil.  Do be kind.

2017 March 16th, Thu.
Room 208 (teacher’s room)
Telecommunications (formerly Bay Ridge) High School
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York

Friday, March 3, 2017

Likhbe Xexe Je-লিখবে শেষে যে-The Writer at the End

There are four items in this post: 

  • 1. the Bengali original (লিখবে শেষে যে)sparked by a Facebook post by Sanju Saha;
  • 2. a Roman transcription (Likhabē Śēṣē Yē), via Google's translation (and transcription) site, that follows the standard spelling in the Bengali script;
  • 3. another Roman transcription (Likhbe Xexe Je), of the author's devising, that follows the standard Bengali pronunciation, rather than the standard spelling; 
  • 4. a translation into English (The Writer at the End).

Item 1: Bengali Original

লিখবে শেষে যে

অনেক কিছু লেখার ছিল,
লেখা হল না৷
ভাবছি, কাকে বলব এখন,
বলার ছিল যা৷

ছিলে যখন পাশে, তখন
ব্যস্ত ছিলাম, তাই
লিখছি এখন, দিনের শেষে,
মনের কথা, ভাই৷ 

আসছে না সেই বুকের কথা,
কাগজ কলমে৷
বসে আছি, তার-ই আশায়,
লিখবে শেষে যে৷
শুক্রবার, ৩এ মার্চ, ২০১৭ খ্রি
ব্রুক্লিন, নিউয়র্ক

Item 2:  The following is a Roman transcription made via

Likhabē Śēṣē Yē

Anēka kichu lēkhāra chila,
lēkhā hala nā.
Bhābachi, kākē balaba ēkhana,
balāra chila yā.

Chilē yakhana pāśē, takhana
byasta chilāma, tā'i
likhachi ēkhana, dinēra śēṣē,
manēra kathā, bhā'i.

Āsachē nā sē'i bukēra kathā,
kāgaja kalamē.
Basē āchi, tāra-i āśāẏa,
likhabē śēṣē yē.

Śukrabāra, 3ē Mārca, 2017 Khri
Bruklina, Ni'uẏarka

Item 3: The following is a Romanization made using the transcription scheme outlined briefly at and even more briefly (but perhaps too compactly) below.

  • x = sh, c = ch.
  • t and d are dental (with the tongue tip touching the backs of the upper front teeth)—as in Latin languages.
  • t' and d' are alveolar (tongue tip to upper gum ridge)—as in English.
  • h is used as an aspirant (an addition of a puff of breath to a consonant, as at times done in English).
  • All other consonants are roughly as in English, but without aspiration.
  • All unmarked* vowels, including at ends of words, are pronounced, and are as in Italian and Spanish, but mostly with intermediate length (duration).
  • ~ nasalizes the preceding vowel, faintly.
  • Stress (loudness) and elongation (extended duration) are usually placed on the first syllable of a word, but are slight, and there is no slurring of vowels in unstressed syllables.
* Marked Vowels

  • o` is as in British orange, being a rounded, open, back vowel.
  • e` is as in hat, being an unrounded, open, front vowel.
Again, both of these vowels have intermediate length (duration). 
Likhbe Xexe Je

O`nek kichu lekhar chilo,
lekha holo na.
Bhabchi, kake bolbo e`khon,
bo`lar chilo ja.

Chile jo`khon paxe, to`khon
be`sto chilam, tai
likhchi e`khon, diner xexe,
moner ko`tha, bhai.

Axche na xei buker ko`tha,
kagoj ko`lome.
Boxe achi, tar-i axae,
likhbe xexe je.

Xukrobar, 3e Marc, 2017 Khri
Bruklin, Niu Io`rk

Item 4: The following is a translation into English.
The Writer at the End

There was much to write
that wasn’t written.
I think—to whom will I tell
the things I had to say?

When you were by me, I
was busy, and so
I now attempt to write
my thoughts, dear friend.

What is in my heart
does not come to my pen.
I am waiting for the one
who will write at the end.

Friday, 3rd March, 2017 AD
Brooklyn, New York 

Monday, February 27, 2017


This post consists of the following, in descending vertical order:

-- an image (a vertical view of Bensonhurst Park at dusk);
-- four lines in Bengali (স্মৃতি)
, plus a link to a FB post;
-- two Roman transcriptions (Smr̥ti & Sriti) of the Bengali;
-- an English translation (Memory);
-- a second image (sunset at a street corner in Bensonhurst);
-- a third image (a horizontal version of the first image).
-- the Facebook link, again.

You can click on an image to see it in a larger, clearer format. In most Windows PC browsers, you can, in addition, use the f11 key to toggle to full-screen view and back.

In Windows, to return to this post, you need to hit the esc key or click on the white cross at the top right of the dark background.

The Facebook link leads to a brief but moving post by Riaz Qadir on the passing of his mother, with two images of her. That was what gave rise to the four lines of verse, originally in Bengali.

Dusk, Bensonhurst Park, Brooklyn. 2017 March 11.

দেখতে দেখতে দিন ফুরল,
আঁধার এল শেষে।
যাচ্ছে তবু দিনের ছবি,
স্মৃতির আলোয় ভেসে।

রবিবার, ১৯এ ফেব্রুয়ারি, ২০১৭ খ্রি
ব্রুক্লিন, নিউয়র্ক

Dēkhatē dēkhatē dina phurala,
ām̐dhāra ēla śēṣē.
Yācchē tabu dinēra chabi,
smr̥tira ālōẏa bhēsē.

Rabibāra, 19ē Phēbruẏāri, 2017 Khri
Bruklina, Ni'uẏarka 

(x = sh, c = ch, h = aspiration*, ~ = faint nasal)
Dekhte dekhte din phurolo,
a~dhar elo xexe.
Jacche tobu diner chobi,
sritir aloe bhexe.

Robibar, 19e Phebruari, 2017 Khri
Bruklin, Niu Io`rk

* puff of air


Before our eyes, the daylight ends;
the darkness comes apace.
And yet, the times of day go by,
aglow in memory.

2017 February 19th, Sun.
Brooklyn, New York

Sunset, 86th St & 18th Ave, Brooklyn.  2017 March 3.

Dusk, Bensonhurst Park, Brooklyn.  2017 March 11. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017


Oh death—departure of the life that was,
that only now exists in memory—
how bitter is your taste—and yet how sweet.
How dreadful is the blow that sets us free.

What use, regret?  How now to pay the dues?
How much, that’s precious, snatched and swept away!
No court, that takes or rules on our appeal.
Our only recompense is that of tears.

And yet, can death extinguish love—that lasts
when all the rest is seen as transient?
We yield the body and the mind to death,
but not the things that stay within our hearts.
2017 February 2nd, Thu., 9 pm,
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York.
In memory of our beloved 
daughter, sister, mother, friend
Anita (T’ukul) Sen (born Bose),
who passed away earlier today, in Kolkata,
mourned by her son, Anirup, 

daughter-in-law Nabanita,
grandson Rimpu and many others

(Last stanza added 2017 Feb. 7th) 



For secure, encrypted connections, change addresses from http to https. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

What Chance

What Chance

You were waiting, by a doorway,
for the bus—and smiled at me.
And I, at first, ignored this—
till I recollected you,
confirming this, by asking—
as your eyes were smiling still.
You dropped by, for a visit,
for half an hour or so.
Our hands had touched, so briefly,
but a current had passed through.

For a quarter of a century,
I’ve seen you come and go—
so near and yet so distant—
and always in my mind.

There’s a bond that long has linked us,
in the strangest kind of way.
It keeps us tethered.  Yet it
keeps us far away.

I’ve seen your bloom, your fading.
I have memorized your face—
the curving of your eyelids—
your planes and shapes and shades.
At times, I’ve dreamed of holding
you within my arms.
And then, I have dismissed these
as idle thoughts that passed.
I dreamed that we had kissed, once,
but smiled—and said, “What chance!”

2017 January 27th, Fri.
Brooklyn, New York

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Not Made for Me and You

Not Made for Me and You  
Did King Philip's Class Order Five Giant Spiders?
Taxonomy of Ursus americanus

We have left the wells of wisdom.
We have thirsted long instead.
Let us quench the fires of madness—
be free of greed and dread.
There are places in the forests
where we humans haven't been,
who are caught in nets so tangled
or are spiders spinning webs.
There are places in the mountains
that have kept their beauty still—
where the mists caress the cedars
and the peaks are kissed by dawn.

There are places on the planet
that are not in Mammon's realm,
though he hungers to possess them—
so his serfs can till and reap.

There are places sans an “owner”
that are sacred to the few
who remember that this planet
wasn't made for me and you.

There are humans, in those places,
who are free of Mammon's yoke.
But their songs are near their endings—
as their bondage now is due.


Arise and hear their singing;
relearn the gentler dance.
Let us rid ourselves of Mammon—
be free of him—at last!

The grain he craves is silver—
its value gauged in sweat.
He kills the things of beauty
and steels our hearts to dread.

The beings of this planet
have made this wondrous world.
Together, we can make it
so beauty has a chance.

There's a beauty that's around us;
there's a beauty in the heart.
Let us turn towards that beauty—
let ugliness depart.

How much of woe and sorrow
has Mammon wrought on Earth,
with the “word of God” proclaiming
that this world was made for us?


There's a wisdom that's around us;
there's a wisdom in the heart.
Let us drink again of wisdom—
let greed and fear depart.

2017 January 24th, Tue.
Brooklyn, New York  

Note: Two sets, of eight images each, follow below.

Stream in a tropical forest
Morning fog in dense tropical forest

Kanchenjuga at dawn, eastern Himalaya

Boreal forest, Alberta, Canada.

Named for Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind, the boreal forest is a critically important breeding ground for North American birds. The Albany River (shown here) divides the partially protected northern boreal from the imperiled south. Photo: Per Breiehagen

San Bushman father hugging his children

The Bushmen Tribe of Tsumkwe
San woman holding her beautiful baby boy

Halifax Mill Chimneys

Factories, in what was once woods and farmland

Horst Faas: Images of Vietnam War

A child clings to his bound father who was rounded up as suspected Viet Cong guerilla

The Death of an Iraqi soldier, Highway of Death, 1991
In the 1991 Gulf War, American pilots bombed a retreating Iraqi convoy. Most US media declined to publish this photo, taken by Ken Jarecke.  His quote: “If I don’t photograph this, people like my mom will think war is what they see on TV.” 

ISIS Hanging & Burning Alive Four Iraqi Men

Tibetan mother and child

Amerindian mother and child, 1905, Oregon

Mother and child, Namibia

Thursday, December 29, 2016

With All Your Heart

With All Your Heart

We walk the roads of duty and desire.
We’re driven from our homes by fears and needs.
We’re scattered to the winds like autumn’s leaves.
Like windblown seeds, we seek to sprout and thrive.

We build our fortunes out of sand and snow
And then we see them flow and disappear.
What hurts us most is when our loves depart,
And all we then can do is wait our turn.

Oh actor—see, how you arrive and leave.
So play your part with zest and graciousness.
Though all your actions will be blown away,
You still can live and love, with all your heart.
2016 December 29th, Thu.
Brooklyn, New York