There’s a mist tonight in Brooklyn and it does not augur well. It whispers of calamities, on which I would not dwell. The schools are due to open, for we’re almost at September – And memories return, of things we’d rather not remember…
There’s a mist tonight in Brooklyn, and the streets are wet with rain. It thundered in the evening – and it brought back scenes of pain. The tides of men are turning, and the lull we’re in won’t last – And in this mist, I wander and I see the visions past…
There’s a mist tonight in Brooklyn, that is gentle, like a kiss. And yet, I sense a tension – and that something is amiss. The schools are due to open. Soon, that horror will begin – Yet hopefully, we’ll smile at kids, amidst the sea of sin.
There’s a mist tonight in Brooklyn and I’m walking in that mist. And in the city’s silence, I can hear a warning hissed. But what that warning whispers, I cannot truly tell. And if I understood it, it’s not on what I’d dwell.
You’ve been a model student, and you’ve done what was expected.
You’ve come to class on time and done your homework as required.
Your teacher and your classmates, you have humored and respected,
And while in class, you’ve done your work – and furthermore, enquired.
You’ve asked me questions, seeing that I’m older and a teacher.
And I will try to answer them, as is, indeed, my duty.
But some things, that you ask, are deep. If only we could reach her,
The goddess, if she knew, might speak, in words of truth and beauty.
But I am just a mortal, who was born, like you and others,
To live my life – to wake and sleep, to work and then to die,
And like yourself and others here, their fathers and their mothers,
And those, whom you might bring to life, I’ll never know the “why”.
I came to my awareness on this planet that we’re on.
I do not know from where I came or why I’m here today.
I haven’t figured where I’ll go or whether I’ll return.
And yet, despite this ignorance, I still have lots to say.
On many things, I can expound, and do so endlessly.
I went to school and read in books, and even paused to think.
So I can tell you of the earth, the heavens and the sea,
And how it is that icebergs float – but ships that hit them sink.
And though I wasn’t there and so it all could just be fiction,
I still can tell you tales of times of very long ago.
I’ll even speak of what will be, when you and I are gone,
And tell you why you need, at times, to say to others, “No.”
So sit right there and listen – when you’ve finished with your notes.
And I will tell you what I know – and you can ask me more.
And I may ask you questions too, to write below those notes,
And you can tell me what you know – and question even more.
But do excuse my ignorance, on all that really matters.
They didn’t teach that at my school, it isn’t in the books.
And that is why, I cannot, truly, give you all the reasons
That schools and all the rest are often run by thugs and crooks.
In searching for my sanity, I found instead a pebble.
And though it wasn’t what I sought, I’d long learned not to quibble.
For as I turned it ‘round and round, and felt its texture smooth,
Its presence, small, gave comfort in the midst of all my trouble.
The pebble, it is humble and is rounded and is small,
And surely has a history, as do the beings all.
It even might have sentience, with knowledge of its past,
Or bear the gift of prophesy that shows what may befall.
I wondered how it started out and knew there was no answer.
The goddess of the universe might tell me if I asked her –
“The stuff and spirit in that stone were there, when stars were born –
Were dancing then, within that dance in which you’re still a dancer.”
How many eons did it take to travel through the Earth –
How many fiery cycles past, of birthing and rebirth?
How many atoms in it were in my ancestors lost?
How many blows had given it its present shape and girth?
I turned that pebble in my hand, examining its texture.
Like rocks and soil, we beings are, of everything, a mixture.
I took that pebble home with me and placed it on my desk,
And there it sits, my company – in transience, a fixture.
And yet I know, that pebble flows – like me and like the hills,
Like waves upon the sea and all our pleasures and our ills.
Its solid form has changed – as do the clouds that hurry by,
As flowers bloom and wilt away in pots on windowsills.
And so, I’ve found my sanity, though only for a while –
Enough to make me pause, reflect and even crack a smile.
That pebble will be there, when you and I are dead and gone,
But flowing still, like waters do in Egypt’s ancient Nile.
This is a translation into Bangla (Bengali) of Shadows.
A transcription into Roman script follows after the Bangla-script version that is directly below.
-------------------------------------------------------------------- ভুত (Ghosts)
হো আকাশে ছুটছে মেঘ, জ্বলছে সুর্য নীলে৷ রাস্তার ধারে ফুটেছে ফুল, গাইছে যেন ভুমি৷ হটাৎ দেখি ধাঁধানো আলো, রক্ত এলো কানে৷ দেখি না কিছু, শুনি না কিছু, মৃত যেন আমি৷ ****** আবার দেখি – ছেটানো দেহ, টগবগ করে উঠছে ধোঁয়া৷ রইলাম কি জ্যান্ত আমি – নাকি ভীষণ ধোকা? আমার দিকে হাসছে যে, রযেছে শুধু মুণ্ডু তার৷ ছটফট করে পুড়ছে মেয়ে, মুখ চামড়া নেই যার৷ পচছে দেহ, দূর্গন্ধ, খাচ্ছে মাছি-পোকা, তারি মাঝে ঘুরে বেড়াই, কোথায় যাবো আমি? ****** সবাই মরা, জঘন্য, আমিও তাদের মাঝে৷ তাও তো দেখো – খেলছে শিশু, করছে নাকো ভয়৷ ওই যে দেখো – মেঘের খেলা৷ দুলছে হাওয়ায়ে ফুল৷ স্বর্গ এবার এখানে এলো, যেখানে নরক ছিল৷ ছেলে-মেয়েরা হাসছে, শোনো – ছোটবেলার হাসি৷ আমরা এখন ছায়া যেন – ভুতের রূপে ভাসি৷ বুধবার, ২৭-শে সেপ্টেম্বর, ২০১৪ খৃ (ইংরেজী থেকে বাংলায়ে অনুবাদ, ২-রা সেপ্টেম্বর) ব্রুক্লিন, নতুন ইয়র্ক
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- A guide to the Roman-transcription scheme used below can be found in the preface at Bharot Xadhin (India, Free). ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bhut (Ghosts)
Ho akaxe chut’che megh, jolche xurjo nile.
Rastar dhare phut’eche phul, gaiche je`no bhumi.
Ho`tat dekhi dhadano alo, ro`kto elo kane.
Dekhi na kichu, xuni na kichu, mrito je`no ami.
Abar dekhi – chet’ano deho, t-ogbo`g kore ut’che dho~a.
Roilam ki je`nto ami – naki bhix`on dhoka?
Amar dike haxche je, roeche xudhu mun’d’u tar.
Cho`t’pho`t’ kore pur’che me-e, mukh-camra nei jar.
budhbar, 27-e o`gast, 2014 khri. (ingreji theke banglae onubad, mongolbar, 2-ra sept’embar) bruklin, notun io`rk ------------------------------------------------------------------------- A guide to the Romanization scheme used above can be found in the preface at Bharot Xadhin (India, Free). The Bangla-script version can be seen above the Roman transcription that is directly above. This is a translation into Bangla (Bengali) of Shadows.
As the start of school was nearing, I was agitated, tense.
My progress on the clearing of my papers had been slow.
And panic was my shadow in my waking and my dreams,
As forty years of teaching turned to torture, more and more.
I walked towards the sea at dusk and halted, at a crossing,
From where I saw the ocean as a darkness in the distance.
And there, as colors changed upon the traffic lights, suspended,
I stood and watched the airplanes fly across the western sky.
I saw their wing-lights blinking as they arced towards the north,
And I watched the sky-hues draining as the daylight slowly ebbed.
And when the streets had darkened and the trees had lost their green,
I wandered slowly homewards, feeling slightly more serene.
The drivers that were passing might have seen me standing there,
As I stood and looked to westward, at that ever-changing show.
But I doubt that they suspected I was drinking of the stuff
That could turn a mind that’s racing towards a state of healing, slow.
2014 August 26th, Tue. 8:23 pm Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York
These summer days are like the tinkling notes
that issue from a room where someone plays
a piano piece, as if in reverie,
that passersby upon a quiet street
may chance to hear, on walking home at eve,
and slow their steps, to breathe in tranquil ease.
And yet there is that roar that’s always there –
that often can be heard by ears but when
inaudible to these is present still –
that causes hearts to quicken, mouths to dry
for those who sense it, pausing then the breath
as muscles tauten for the precipice.
And which of these is truer, that I leave
for others to decide – like yin and yang,
the quiet and the screaming, pause and haste,
the opposites can interweave – and lives,
like breath itself, have tides that ebb and rise –
as seasons and their humors take their turn.
I walked within the woods and there I heard
the gurgling of a stream, the tinkling drop
of water and the rustling of the leaves –
but then I also heard another sound –
and coming to a clearing, I could see
the river, rushing towards the waterfall.
The little books with pictures, that we used to page like cards
to see the figures moving – I can still remember those.
And though I know the action that we see upon our screens
has basis in the self-same thing, a flip-book clearly shows,
to me at least, how moments past, arisen, sensed and gone,
can merge to make that memory, that thread on which I slide,
a little bead of consciousness, confined to present time,
and yet, by virtue of that thread, that’s long but never wide,
able to recall the past, to wander back to then,
and even, in my fantasy, imagine future things
as humans do – and dogs and cats – and those that are their prey,
avoiding hurt and seeking gain – or simply feeling wings...
And each of us is on a thread – or is, perhaps, the fiber –
and all of these are woven fine, a fabric stretched through time,
with all the planet’s history, since life or since before,
with episode on episode, like waves – or lines that rhyme –
as patterns in that texture that is threaded by the flow...
2014 August 17th, Sun (second stanza added August 18th) Brooklyn, New York
A mother or a father might expend their lives
on raising children, who might then show gratitude
or not – or even harm the ones who nurtured them.
A woman might spend years upon a spouse
and have him leave her for another and
an artist might have labored long on work –
with little recompense or naught – and then
awake one day to find it stolen or
to find that punishment is his reward.
And what recourse have they, who face such things, except
to turn, when reason fails, to that philosophy
that others past had turned to, in their own defeats?
We labor hard and fail, and that’s defeat.
We rise from where we fell, to try yet more
and then succeed – or not. And this, we know,
is hard enough, but when accomplishment,
for which we’ve paid with years of labor, is
appropriated, scorned, destroyed – what then?
It’s then we're tested, like the metal in the fire,
that’s heated till it glows, incandescent,
and yet retains, awhile, its own integrity.
The Buddhists and the Stoics have advised
that victory and defeat, like pleasure, pain,
are waves upon a sea whose depths are still –
and so should be acknowledged and observed
with tranquil eyes that see their transience
and that of the chimera called "the self".
The ones we love – they suffer and they die, before
or after we have left – and though we ache at this,
this knowledge may be used to act in gentleness.
I walked the lonely city streets tonight,
when all was quiet, past the midnight hour,
and pausing, when the moonlight hit my eye,
I saw, upon the shining, gibbous moon,
the markings men have wondered at from yore.
If there were ever life upon the moon,
a sentient thing, on looking up, could then
have seen the pendant Earth, with oceans blue,
and noting then the whites and shades of brown,
it surely would have stopped and wondered too.
2014 August 9th, Sat. 1:43 a.m. Brooklyn, New York
(For an English translation, see Come to Palestine. ) এসো এই ফিলিস্তিনে এসো এসো, দূর দেশ থেকে এসো, এসো এসো, নিকট দেশের জন, এসো এই ফিলিস্তিনে আজ, যেখানে উঠেছে আর্তনাদ, যেখানে গর্জন জেটের, যেখানে বোমার বাজ৷
এসো এসো এই ফিলিস্তিনে, এসো এই দুর্ভাগা দেশে৷
শহীদ মরেছে যত, শিশু-ও মরেছে তত... আর কত মরবে আজ? মরবে আর কতকাল?
এসো এসো, সব দেশ থেকে, এসো আজ মৃত্যুর খেতে, এই ফিলিস্তিনে৷
মরন চলেছে বেশ৷ যাত্রা চলেছে খাসা, হবে না সহজে শেষ, এই ফিলিস্তিনে৷
ব'সো আজ সামনে ঠেসে, এই দুর্ভাগা দেশে৷ বেন্চিতে বসে দেখো, কান পেতে, ডায়ালগ শোনো – শিক্ষা হচ্ছে দেওয়া, বোমার বাজে৷
ভূমধ্য সাগর তীরে, মৃদু-মৃদু পশ্চিমে হাওয়া বইছে আজ, ফিলিস্তিনে৷
পেপ্সি-কোলা হাতে নিয়ে বসো, চীনে বাদাম খেতে খেতে দেখো, এই ফিলিস্তিনের নর-নারি-শিশুদের, শোনো, শিক্ষা দিচ্ছে আজ দেবদের বোমার বাজ৷
শনিবার, ২-য় আগস্ট, ২০১৪ খ্রি ব্রুকলিন, নতুন ইয়র্ক =========================== For an explanation of the transcription scheme used below, and a guide to the pronunciation, please see the preface at: http://thedailypoet.blogspot.com/2014/02/bharot-xadhin-indias-freedom.html =========================== Exo Ei Philistine Exo exo, dur dex theke exo, exo exo, niko`t’ dexer jo`n, exo ei Philistine aj, jekhane ut’heche artonad, jekhane go`rjon jet’er, jekhane bomar baj. Exo exo ei philistine, exo ei durbhaga dexe. Xohid moreche jo`to, xixuo moreche to`to… Ar ko`to morbe aj, morbe ar ko`tokal? Exo exo, xo`b dex theke, exo aj mrittur khete, ei Philistine. Mo`ron coleche bex. Jatra coleche khaxa, ho`be na xo`hoje xex, ei Philistine. Bo`xo aj xamne t’hexe, ei durbhaga dexe. Bencite boxe de`kho, kan pete d`aealo`g xono – xikkha hocche deoa – bomar baje. Bhumo`ddho xagor-tire, mridu mridu poxcimi haoa, boiche aj, philistine… Pepsi-kola hate nie bo`xo, cine-badam khete khete de`kho, ei philistiner no`ro-nari-xixuder, xono xikkha dicche aj, deber bomar baj. xonibar, 2-o o`gast, 2014 khri. bruklin, no`bo io`rk
----------------------------------------- For an English translation, see Come to Palestine.