Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Warning

The Warning

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.
2014 August 31st, Sun.
Brooklyn, New York

Come to Palestine (translation of এসো এই ফিলিস্তিনে)

Come to Palestine

( a translation of  এসো এই ফিলিস্তিনে )
Come from places far away,
Come from regions near,
Come to where the screaming is –
Where the jet-planes roar,
Where the bombs are thundering.
Come to Palestine.
Come to this forsaken land,
Come to Palestine.
As many children died, as have
The ones who fought in battles.
How many more will die today,
How many more tomorrow?
Come, from every land, come here,
Come to the fields of death.
Come to Palestine.
The slaughter, it is going fine.
The play proceeds apace.
It will not end so easily,
In this, our Palestine.
Come and sit in the front-row seats,
In this forsaken land.
Sit and watch – and listen to
The actors speak their lines,
For lessons are being taught today,
With bombs, in Palestine.
Gentle western breezes,
From the Mediterranean sea,
Are blowing, on the coast,
In Palestine today.
With your sodas in your hands,
Munching on your popcorn, watch –
How, in Palestine,
The missiles of the gods
Are being used to teach
The men, the women and
The children too.
2014 August 2nd, Sat.
Brooklyn, New York
(translated from the Bengali
on 2014 Aug. 31st, Sun.)

The above is a translation of

এসো এই ফিলিস্তিনে (Exo Ei Philistine)  

Thugs and Crooks

Thugs and Crooks

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.

2014 August 31st, Sun.
Brooklyn, New York

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Pebble

A Pebble

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.

2014 August 28th, Thu.
Brooklyn, New York

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Reflections on Dukkha

Reflections on Dukkha

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. with Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk, 1960's
image source:
We see, around us, things that make us sad
and angry, while there’s little we can do –
injustice, needless pain and suffering –
and we ourselves may be affected too.

And seeing this, some sink in dark despair,
or simply shrug and go about their life.
There’s only so much we can fix, repair –
or vainly seek to stem the tides of strife.
And some of us might see and yet not see –
or turn away from what discomforts them.
And others might find refuge in their gods –
or take recourse to lie or stratagem.

Philosophies exist, in ancient lands,
and even newer ones, that seem to help.
“It’s fortune, karma.” or “That’s how it is.”
Acceptance helps the sad, beleaguered self.

And some would say, "There's night that follows day.
There's hunger and there's satisfaction, and
without the first, would food retain its taste?"
We suffer – and we start to understand...

And others yet may speak or write – and some
may even act – in ways they think are best
or can imagine and achieve – and then
may fail or may succeed upon their quest.

And some see villains, whom they seek to crush,
and others relish being rescuers.
But few are they, who try to understand
the causes and connections, seeking cures.
For much of what we see, the sorrow spread
by actions, words and thoughts compulsive, are
pathologies that stem from ignorance –
or vision clouded by the smoke of war.

Gotama woke from this, our lifelong sleep,
and saw our sorrow and the root of it.
And so he bid us to awake and watch
the fog arise and leave – dissolving it.

But who can do it?  We are trapped by self
and all that’s built around to cage us in.
So passions rule, or calculations cold,
and newest sin is heaped on older sin.
But if we are aware, that all is not
as we imagine it – and that there’s light
within the deepest darkness, then we’ll pause –
and in that pausing, find the gift of sight.

“The other cheek” is what the gospel says
we should be turning to the ones who strike.
Yet who can do this, who is not a saint,
when death and utter devastation strike?

Of all that is compulsive, be aware.
Amidst the madness and the rushing, pause.
Release the breath and feel again the heart.
Let kindness be, without a need for cause.
2014 August 26th, Tue & 27th, Wed.
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

Bhut (ভুত -- Ghosts -- translation of Shadows)

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.

Pocche deho, durgo`ndho, khacche machi-poka,
Tari majhe ghure ber`ai, kothae jabo ami?

Xo`bai mo`ra, jo`gho`nno, amio tader majhe.
Tao to de`kho – khelche xixu, korche nako bho`e.

Oi je de`kho – megher khe`la.  Dulche haoae phul.
Xo`rgo abar ekhane elo, jekhane no`rok chilo.

Chele-me-era haxche, xono – chot’obe`lar haxi.
Amra e`khon chaya je`no – bhuter rupe bhaxi.

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.


I saw the sky was laughing,
I saw the clouds that blew.
I saw the sun was shining,
Amidst the white and blue.
I saw the flowers blooming
Beneath that sky above.
It seemed the Earth was singing
Of happiness and love.
And then my eyes were blinded,
By light, more bright than sun.
And then, my ears were bleeding
And I, with death, was one.
I see the bodies scattered
Beneath the roiling smoke –
And am I dead or living –
And is this just a joke?
A man, at me, is grinning –
His head is all that’s left.
A smoldering girl is writhing –
Of face and skin bereft…
The flies and maggots feasted
As corpses rotted slow.
And I, among them, wandered,
Not knowing where to go.
But now I’m dead and gruesome,
With all who once lived here.
And yet – a child is playing
And showing naught of fear.
For see – the sun is shining,
As flowers toss in wind –
And so, it’s back to heaven,
Where humans once had sinned.
The children here are laughing –
The innocence of youth –
And I and mine are shadows,
Unwanted and uncouth.

2014 August 27th, Wed.
Brooklyn, New York

A translation into Bangla (Bengali) can be 

found at Bhut (Ghosts).

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Twilight Therapy

Twilight Therapy

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


Saturday, August 23, 2014


We’re born in such a world, where beasts like us
must kill to live.  For even fruits, though meant
for eating, still have life until they rot –
and then they teem with myriad other forms.

We take of life to live.  If this is sin,
then all of us are sinners from our birth.
But there are those among us, who have slain
their fellow humans, singly or en masse.

And does it matter, when we give it thought,
whether we have killed a bleating lamb
or slain a human child, that likewise cries –
or trusts us as we coldly end its life?

And some would shout out, “Yes!” and others, “No!”.
But let’s press further. Ending sentient life
within the womb, and ending it outside –
are these not equal?  Hear the angry cries…

And further yet. To take your children’s lives –
is that a greater crime than slaughtering
another’s children?  Who can loudly say
that one is worse – and justify that stand?

At end, it isn’t reason that decides
what’s moral or immoral, right or wrong –
but instincts, of which conscience is but one –
too often silenced by the clamor ‘round.

And instincts have evolved through eons – conscience too.
So every instinct has a purpose, that
has helped us to survive, both singly and
together – as a species and as more.

But instincts operate within a sphere –
for only saints, perhaps, can view what’s far
with equal weight to near, or feel as much
of pain and love for “others” as for “own”.

And so we’re locals, through our genes and more.
And furthermore, the circle that we draw
around ourselves may widen or contract, but there
are always those who fall within, without.

To those within, morality applies –
but not to those without, or so it seems…
For men may slaughter others in the morn
and gently play with toddlers in the eve.

Religion, laws may serve to widen or
contract the region that is covered by
our instincts (of which conscience should be prime),
whose fields are mainly local in their scope.

And so it is, the soldier is condemned,
who bayonets a child, in midst of war,
but he is blameless, who has set aflame
a village or a city from afar.

2014 August 23rd, Sat.
Brooklyn, New York

The Weave

The Weave
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.
2014 August 23rd, Sat.
Brooklyn, New York

Sunday, August 17, 2014


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

Thursday, August 14, 2014


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.
2014 August 14th, Thu.
Brooklyn, New York

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

In the Eye of the Cyclone

In the Eye of the Cyclone

We’ve had a stormy night and now the leaves
Are scattered, dead and dying, on the streets.

The winds of war are blowing strong again,
And in their eddies, dead and living swirl.

The wars of men had ended, they were told,
And yet, they’re lying wounded, dying, dead…

When caught between the sides, they ran or hid –
And when those paths were closed, they turned and fought.

The end result appears to be the same –
The odds are for injustice, darkness, death…

The great typhoon, the hurricane, destroys –
And spawns tornadoes that assist its work.

I walk the city streets, that now have sun,
And wonder where to hide and where to run.

For even though we’ve long been in the eye,
The whirling wall is moving hourly nigh…

I look upon a little leaf and see
A little girl, who will no longer be.

2014 August 13th, Wed.
Brooklyn, New York

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

অন্ধকারে (O`ndhokare -- In the Darkness)


মনে পড়ে সেদিনের কথা,
ছোটবেলায়ে শোনা গান৷
মেঘ ভেসে যায়, জোয়ার-ভাটা
জীবন-মরন চলে৷

জ্বালাই তবু, সন্ধ্যা-বেলায়ে,
প্রদীপটুকু, জান --
রাত্রি আসে, অন্ধকারে
কে যে কথা বলে৷
In the Darkness

I remember the past, the songs I heard when small…
The clouds fly by, the tides of life and death go on…

And yet, at dusk, I light the little oil-lamp.
In the darkness, someone speaks.

Mone po`re xediner ko`tha,
chot'obe`lae xona gan.
Megh bhexe jae, joar-bhat'a
jibo`n-mo`ron co`le.

Jalai tobu, xondhe be`lae,
prodip-t'uku, jan --
ratri axe, o`ndhokare
ke je ko`tha bo`le...

Mongol, 12-oi O`gast, 2014 kri.
Bruklin, Notun Io`rk

For a brief guide to the transcription
used above, and 
to the pronunciation, please see the preface at:

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Another Leaf

Another Leaf
In the city’s loneliness,
alone, among the crowds,
she spent her final years and then
she sickened and was gone.
And only one or two were there
who called, before the message
said, “disconnected”. That was that.
Her e-mail goes unanswered.
How many like her? “Well, that’s life.”
the city dweller says.
“We meet at work and on the streets
and go upon our ways.”
Relatives?  She did have some,
but all in distant places.
Friends?  She’d some. But then they died,
or moved to better climates.
The super threw out all her stuff.
What else was he to do?
And walking on the sidewalk, I
picked up a thing or two.
A picture.  She was with a boy.
“Her son, perhaps?” I wondered.
“But where was he?” An idle thought.
I left it on the sidewalk.
I’d seen her walking, slowly, by.
I used to say hello.
She sometimes would respond and pause
to lean upon her walker.
The summers, autumns, winters pass.
The springs are celebrated.
But who remembers her, who so
to live and die was fated?
The autumn nears, and brittle leaves
are drifting on the road.
I step upon a leaf and hear
it crunching underfoot.
I stop and with regret I look
at the little leaf I crushed.
But then I think, “That leaf was dead.”
and leave its bits behind.
2014  August 10th, Sun.
Brooklyn, New York

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Markings on the Moon

Markings on the Moon
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

Friday, August 8, 2014




I’ve read at times the poetry you sent,
And even figured out the things you meant.
But honestly, your stanzas, tired and old,
Might need refreshment, of a nature bold…
So leave awhile your peace and love, my friend,
And write instead of wars without an end –
And hatreds too – for that Reality
Cannot be cloaked by all your poetry.
However much you dress her in your fashion
Or rouge her with your powder of compassion,
Her nature, to your efforts, will not yield.
The thing she truly is will be revealed.
So rather than attempting to disguise
That lady with your veils of silken lies,
Let's strip away those layers of attire
And gaze upon her, as she might desire...
And now you see she’s Death and Destiny,
Of visage cold that brooks no mutiny.
Her lips are set, she’s resolute and grim.
She’ll not be swayed by prayer or by whim.
The figure says – a woman, yet it seems
No lover touched those breasts, no eager child
Has ever reached to drink from them…  Those hips
Have never moved in throes of passions wild…
This woman has a twin – they look alike,
And that one is, we’ve heard, a virgin too,
Who still has heart.  She cares and gives of love...
But not this maid, the harsher of the two.
Untouched by sex – and cold, devoid of love,
She has, instead, a thirst for human blood.
For hatred burns within her breast.  Her lust
Will not be sated by a meager flood…
And as you watch, you’ll see how she transforms
And takes on, one by one, her hideous forms.
You’ll see the fire burning in her eye,
You’ll see it light on who is next to die.
Engulfing east and west and north and south –
She opens wide her fanged and monstrous mouth.
And you might glimpse, within her throat, that hell,
Of which you poets rarely dare to tell.

And watch her gaze, directed at the city.
It scans the streets, without a trace of pity.
She sees – and she destroys – a family.
A little girl remains – and you and me...
Behold, how human form dissolves and leaves
The desolation where the orphan grieves…
But even then, that child gets no respite,               \1
As booms resound from more explosions bright...

And in the rubble of the smoking ruin,
We see a form that struggles, still alive –
That child again, disfigured, maimed and torn –
Who once, from parents' love and toil, did thrive...

So from within that vestal throat divine
There springs this hell of mortal agony...
But you've been watching, with your "love and peace",
Your verses marching still in prosody...
So speak to her, whose skin is stripped away –
Who lies there, burned and blinded.  Find a way
To let that deafened child hear meter, rhyme –
If that is how you'd utilize your time…
But see, if you have inner vision, that
Which rises from the corpse it leaves behind…
The one who dies becomes the one who slays.
She now can see, who lay there dying, blind…
2014 August 8th, Fri.
Brooklyn, New York

1.   Returning from divinity to mundane matters,
      the word “respite” here is meant to rhyme with
     “bright”, as in one of its pronunciations in standard
      British English.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Gentle God

The Gentle God
The tongues and faiths of men and women are
As myriad as our faces.  Each of us
Is born, by chance, in one or other tribe.
Yet over this, we build our heaps of fuss.

We’re riven by religions, languages,
By “races”, classes, occupations, more...
We raise our fences, barb our borders and
We’re never done with all our ruthless gore...

Our families are sundered by our strife –
Our clans dispersed – our tribes, by tempests, blown…
We meet the “strangers”, know that they are us –
And yet pretend that they are not our own...

The nation-states and empires work their ruin –
Our inner demons turned to genies great,
As you and I express our discontent
By heaping blame on those we love to hate.

We humans still have satisfactions small –
But these appear no longer good enough.
Ambition, ego, greed and worse demand
Yet more acclaim, achievement, power, stuff…

There’s Nature, wondrous, bountiful and yet
At times enraged or sullen in her moods...
Then all of our entreaties are as naught,
As death and sorrow mark those interludes...

But then, we’ve men – and women, not outdone.
They've grown in hubris and in violence,
With empires, corporations, warrior-states –
Their mobs and armies and their borders tense...

Our minds have opened up the universe,
Wrung secrets from the stars and atoms, yet
Our wisdom lags, as men create such things
As even devils wish they could forget.

From fear we murder, and from greed we die –
And vice versa, as the wheel revolves.
And yet we claim that this is not a lie –
That humankind, towards betterment, evolves...

Among the gods to whom we turn to pray,
Is there, perhaps, a god of gentleness –
Or goddess of the same – of tranquil ways –
Who’ll answer yet our pleas to end this mess?

Is there a god or goddess, who
Can whisper in a tyrant’s ear, can soothe
The raging mob, can softly touch a heart
Or make a furrowed brow, with a gesture, smooth?

Alas, the gods are our projections too.
Divinities are limited in scope.
Their knowledge, power hardly cover all.
A lesson there – perhaps a bit of hope…

The gentleness within us waits to speak –
But when it does, it speaks with silences.
For when we feel it fill and heal our hearts,
We’ve no more need for all our sentences…

The gentle god is there in all of us.
The gentle goddess – she is smiling too,
As tears are flowing down her cheeks, for she
Is Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jew…

2014 August 3rd, Mon.
Brooklyn, New York

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Exo Ei Philistine (এসো এই ফিলিস্তিনে)

(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:


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.