Friday, February 27, 2015


By the ocean's side, when the tide is low
and the waves are lapping soft,
as the gulls are resting by the shore
and the clouds are sliding slow,
there’s a chance to hear the ocean’s call –
a whisper from the deep –
and you might pause to catch it, but
it’s rarely yours to keep.
But when the tide is coming in
and the waves are crashing loud,
as the gulls are wheeling o’er the sea
and the breeze is blowing strong,
you then can hear the waters fall
and rush towards the shore –
and what you hear will then be yours
for then and evermore.

2015 February 27th, Fri.
(walking back home late after work 

the school's Chinese New Year show)
Brooklyn, New York

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Street of Gold


At Heaven's Gates
“An ideal gated city” is advertised
with images appealing to the ones
who wouldn't want to mix with common folk –
as they might do in villages and towns
without the walls to keep such people out.

So if they seek the lifestyles that are shown,
with water-parks and air-conditioned gyms,
with shopping malls and tennis courts and more –
and also have the means, they’ll buy the dream
and enter then the gated paradise.
And where is this? Why, just a drive away
from anthills where the other humans live –
the same, who built that heaven here on Earth,
and surely might, by heaven’s dwellers, be
observed at duties heaven still will need.
2015 February 22nd, Sun, 2:10 am
Bath Avenue, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

This was written after completing many hours of job-related work at the Skyway dhaba, an eatery that stays open all 24 hours.  Pakistani TV shows were playing on a big screen, enticing émigrés and the affluent  with advertisements for “Bahria Town, Karachi”  and other such places, along with those for soaps, cosmetics, paints and, of course, cell phones being used by glamorous Indian filmstars speaking English with attempts at snooty or suave British accents.


Bahria Town, Karachi

Clicking on the image will yield an enlarged view.  Press the "escape" key or click on the white X at the top right of the black background to return to this post, if you wish to get back here from your viewing of  heaven.

The top two text-boxes in the image advertise high-rise towers in the old, public Karachi.  But the text in the bottom box is about one of the new, private Karachis being built for the select.  It promises not only "a completely gated community" with many luxuries but also "no load shedding"*.  Now who could secure that?  Surely, divinity is at work here.

"Load-shedding" is the term used in the subcontinent for a widespread practice there, in which electric-power utilities shut down electric power to parts of the local or national grid when the demand for power exceeds the supply capacities of these utilities.

As the demand for electricity has grown, with the supply unable to keep pace, this practice has become a common, daily occurrence.  Areas where more affluent and influential folk live may be spared the worst of this. Some private developments, such as the one whose ad is shown above, boast that they have their own large back-up generators. 


Thursday, February 19, 2015



When I was still a boy, I read
and thought and read yet more.
I gathered in what elders said,
as if their words were gold.
And in the place where I was born,
a city full of life,
I saw the misery and joy
and pondered on them both.
And though I then said little and
perhaps because of this,
it seemed I’d found a wisdom that
escaped my cousins, friends
and others that I met at school,
for they were girls and boys
and so were moved by blowing winds
and childhood’s joys and woes.

But then I grew to be a man
but in my mind regressed –
and went through what my friends and kin
had done in growing years.
And now I’m in my sixties and
I’m left with foolishness.
My stocks of wisdom are dissolved
by time and all it bears.


And even at the job I do,
my expertise has waned,
if ever it was there at all,
when sanity prevailed.
And strange it is, but those who’re new,
with but a year or two
of teaching, teach their elders now
and tell them what to do.
It’s said that wisdom grows with age,
so when we've done our years,
our inexperience is replaced
by what we've bought with tears.
But is it true?  I do not know
but only offer this –
if that were always so, then each
might pass away in bliss.

2015 February 19th Thu
at the Sloan Kettering center and
on the train back from Manhattan

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Jaldhaka Valley, Kalimpong subdivision, Darjeeling district, W. Bengal


(You can click on an image to see it enlarged. Use the esc key
or click the X in the black border to get back to this post – if
you still want to...;-)

Samthar Plateau, Kalimpong

While walking on a wooded path
beneath the Himalaya,
I came upon a cottage small
and glimpsed, within, a fire.
And there I paused, to chat awhile
and drink a bit of tea
that those within, of humble mien,
in kindness, offered me.
And then – I went my way, refreshed
from the warming drink and more...
And though I climbed those misty hills
as I had done before,
that little bit of friendliness,
that welcome sip of tea –
it altered all that I perceived
and even altered me.

And since that time, by currents moved,
I’ve wandered near and far
and seen the best and worst of men,
in peacetime and in war.
But still, that little interlude,
upon a mountain way,
remains with me, in memory,
in a corner, tucked away.
And when I’m down in spirits from
the things I witness, then
I reach within and so retrieve
that memory again.
And strangely, it restores my calm
and gives me back my sense –
that little chat, that sip of tea –
that taste of innocence.

2015 February 17th, Tue., 9:34 pm
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

Monday, February 16, 2015

On Winning and Sinning

On Winning and Sinning


We've had our castes, our classes, sects and tribes.
And all of these remain, along with bribes.
But now, as "winners", "losers", we're divided.
And all the "losers" ever win are jibes.

Our virtues old, we've long exchanged for vice.
To those who're young, we give this shrewd advice:
"When 'winning' is the only thing that counts,
Then who has use for those who still are nice?"
The race is on, and all are running fast.
The gentle folk are those who finish last.
"Produce, consume and sock away your stash."
That mantra is – and all the rest is past.
In every land, the workers rise at dawn
To race to work.  And others, every morn,
Return from working on the graveyard shift.
We work and work, until we're dead and gone.

How much of labor!  Yet the question, "Why?"
Is rarely asked, until it's time to die.
To pay the rent, to feed ourselves, our kids –
Are these the reasons?  Who perceives the lie?

There's food enough and room enough, indeed
To house us, feed us – more than what we need.
For we and our machines – we work enough
In half our time – for all but endless greed.

Ignore the corporatists and their rants.
We've harvested the labor of the plants –
The myriad seeds of grass, the fuels below –
And yet we labor at our jobs like ants.

So pause to trace the path that value takes
From where it's made, where human labor slakes
The thirst that drives the ancient feeding chains
To where it ends, within the bankers' lakes.

And see – from there, the cash, in cycles, flows
And hither, thither, 'round the planet goes
To everywhere that rent and debt are used
To lead the harried workers by the nose.

How many hopes arise and then are dashed,
As profits grow and bonuses are cashed.
To Mammon's anvil, humans bound are led –
The hammer falls – and skulls and lives are smashed.

And what's the cordage that has long sufficed
To bind the ones who're daily sacrificed?
Their blood is flowing dark along the drains,
But few are they, who've paused – and so surmised.
Make no mistake – the jets that scream on high,
The cloud that rises in the crystal sky,
The fire below, the screams and silence – all
Are gifts of those who will not question why.

"That's how it is." they say and shrug or grin
And so they clear the path for more of sin.
"The way it is" is not by Nature made,
Nor made by gods, but those, who always win.



The Pharaoh once had stood between the sun
And those that worshiped both of them as one.
They worked the land from which he drew his wealth.
Six thousand years – and still we haven't won.

The newest Pharaohs now bestride the land
And their intrigues are still the stories grand.
We workers toil – and ever faster run,
And though we lose, we rarely understand.

The game is rigged. The scam is always on.
And those, who're losing, cheer the winners on,
For we've been gypped, and so we only blame
Ourselves and luck for how our lives have gone.
And so this worker writes, perhaps in vain.
He writes, so each of you can ease the pain.
Arise and see, what mischief is about
And end it, so it does not start again.
It's time the winners tasted too of loss,
It's time for drudges to defy the boss.
But only when we rise together, will
There be a chance for us to win this toss.

There's fortune, blowing in the winds of chance,
And there are pipers, playing us the dance.
And we can go with wind or piper or
Resolve to stand and take our measured stance.

Let's call for revolution, of a kind
That opens eyes and ears and also mind.
Until we see and hear and understand,
We'll never pause, our value true, to find.

But only when we pause can we begin
To see that we, who've lost, can also win.
So here's a catch that's needs to be released –
So virtue is, where now there's only sin.

As long as vice is seen as what is needed,
So long will labor's voice remain unheeded.
To cynics and to parasites, we say,
The time will come, when you will be defeated.

For though the ignorance is broad and deep,
Beneath the murk, the sense will slowly seep
Until it flows, in currents, like a tide
That clears away the rotten garbage-heap.
Then "winning, losing" will no longer be
The chorus that we hear, the fog we see.
Then vice and sin will yield to vision, yes,
As rivers open to the boundless sea.

And for that time I wait.  And if I die
Before that hour, and on my deathbed sigh
Because I did not live to see it, then
Remember still to ask that question, "Why?"


When those like me are dead and gone, there still
Will come the ones who'll question, with a will.
And all the myths and lies and fakery
Will yield to those who dare to deeply drill.

"The way it is" is not by gods dictated.
This "winning, losing" we have overrated.
And this is what has led us into sin.
But sin is not the thing for which we're fated.

"The way it is" is not by gods designed,
To losing, workers long have been resigned...
But if, indeed, it's good, at times, to win,
Then by the gods, a win, we have in mind.
2015 February 16th, Mon. 9:36 pm
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

Sunday, February 15, 2015

நிறுத்து -- niṟuttu

You can translate this (crudely) into English (or other language) at Google's translation site. Instructions for this (for those who don't know how to do this and are curious) follow below.

First, select and copy the (Tamil-script) text below (not the Roman transcription).
Then follow one of the links: 
At the translation site, choose Tamil as the input language, using the pull-down menu above the input (left) box.
Also, choose English (or any other available language of your choice, from Afrikaans to Zulu) as the output language, using the pull-down menu above the output (right) box.
Finally, paste the text you had copied into the input (left) box.

If translation does not occur, click the "Translate" button above the output (right) box.

Note that audio versions (of varying quality) can be heard, for many input and output languages, using the speaker icon below the text boxes. For Tamil and for quite a few other languages where this capability is offered, this is still a weird robotic voice with very little resemblance to the feel of the spoken languages. But for English, Spanish and other major European languages, as well as some others, this is now an excellent feature. 
For Hindi, it's pretty good. But of course, in all cases, the spoken version still has the mistakes made in the initial machine-translation of the text. 

One noticeable problem that should be easily fixable, but hasn't been fixed, is that the speech is too rapid for those not fully conversant with a language. It would be good to have a feature that could insert short pauses between words or even between syllables.  The pauses needed at the ends of sentences (and at other places marked, where possible, by punctuation) are also too short in the voice version, for some languages.
By the way, if all the text at one of my blog posts were in English, you could also translate that into other languages, directly and so more simply, using the "Translate" icon at the top left of the (light-colored portion of) Daily Poet blog page. (This icon is just below and to the left of the date.) But then you would lose the line feeds in the text. For short pieces of text, that should not matter. For lengthy pieces, especially for those in verse, this would create difficulties.

At the blog site, after translating from English, selecting pieces of translated text also shows the corresponding original English text.

Blogger has been owned by Google for a while now. But
there is no audio (for text, in English or in translations) available as yet.

I believe Google's Chrome browser has a translation facility, but I haven't used that feature yet. I've been told that e-mail received via Microsoft's free Hotmail has a translation feature. If so, this should also be available in Microsoft's MSN -- which isn't free, last time I checked.
ஒரு நாய், இன்று ஒரு பையனைத் சீறிப் பாய்ந்தார்.
பின்னர் சிறுவன் நாய் கத்தினேன்.
மீண்டும், நாய் பையனால் சீறிப் பாய்ந்தார்.
இது சில நேரம் தொடர்ந்தது.
ஆனால் பின்னர் ஒரு சிறிய பெண் "நிறுத்து" என்றார்.

Oru nāy, iṉṟu oru paiyaṉait cīṟip pāyntār.
Piṉṉar ciṟuvaṉ nāy kattiṉēṉ.
Mīṇṭum, nāy paiyaṉāl cīṟip pāyntār.
Itu cila nēram toṭarntatu.
Āṉāl piṉṉar oru ciṟiya peṇ"niṟuttu" eṉṟār.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

For Just a Penny or for Naught

For Just a Penny or for Naught
Maula Baksh Shah or Maula Pagol,
a sadhok-singer in the Baul-Fakir
lineage of Delbar Sai


Who's keeping count of  all the good we do
And taking note of all the evil too?
The answer, though we wish it otherwise,
Is "No one's watching over me and you."

Who watches, when the ant or spider dies?
Who cares that wars begin and end with lies?
And yet, we humans hold to that conceit –
That only adds, to falsehoods, more deceit.

For when we're young, our elders, teachers see
The things we do, at least to some degree,
And others too might notice, while we age,
And at our actions cheer – or shrug or rage.

And when we work at jobs, our "bosses" see
The work we do – perhaps – and let us be,
Or often don't, or see a part – and so,
In time, their pleasure or their umbrage show.

But most of what we're doing still remains
From others hidden, be they losses, gains
To other humans or to all of life.
So saints are crucified for all their pains.

So rascals mount the ladders to the throne,
And few are they, who ever will atone
For all the misery their climbing wrought,
And all the work their malice set to naught.

So some believe that there's an eye divine
That watches over actions – yours and mine.
But this, I think, is just a fiction sweet
That gives us solace that we sorely need.

So when we care, as others shrug or sneer,
And when we see, despite the fog of fear,
We then will act, although we'll get what's due
In punishment – and none will this review.

For when you're caught within the lanes that speed,
Although you're mounted on a slower steed –
If then, from kindness, you should try to slow,
You'll pay – and swiftly – for your gross misdeed.

Who doesn't need, at times, a friendly glance,
A pat upon the back, a word, a chance?
And if we get this, then we're blessed indeed.
But if we don't, we still will fill the need.

To work for payment, now or later, might
Be fine at times.  At other times, the sight
That comes from mind and heart will tell us this –
"To do what's right, provides enough of bliss."

There's bliss in doing – in creating things.
The painter paints, the minstrel stands and sings.
And surely, if they're paid, they're grateful, yet
They'll paint and sing, no matter what they get.

There's no accountant, working in the sky,
Nor judge, who's waiting for the time we die.
The only judge we need is that within,
The one that is our watchful inner eye.

And so the parent, so the teacher too.
And so, the angel that's in me and you.
"For just a penny or for naught," it says,
"Proceed."  The one, who cares to hear, obeys.

But when we're tossed within the pit of snakes,
Our devil wakens and of soul partakes.
For all we do is turned to dust and worse –
And this remains the mortals' dreaded curse.

The one, who hisses with the viper's sound,
Is then the one, who still will be around,
When he or she, who was by nature kind,
Has long been lost, in body or in mind.

No matter.  Give the snakes but little heed.
They know not what they do or truly need.
Go quietly upon your chosen way,
Reward, rebuke should not deter the deed.

Maula Pagol, on a very cold January
morning in Alamdanga, Bangladesh.

He passed away on 16 August 2012.




2015 February 14th, Sat., 10:49 pm
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York


We'll Walk Together

We'll Walk Together
Rising moon above Lac-Temiscouata,  Quebec, Canada -- Dave Brosha


We walked again together, you and I,
While looking at the darkening evening sky –
And when the moon was slowly rising, then
I kissed you, on your cheek, a soft goodbye.
And then the parting, with the wistful smile –
And then, the distance – mile on speeding mile,
And then – the calls, the letters and the hope
That I’d return, in just a little while...
How often was the tape rewound, replayed –
How often was the heart, by time, dismayed –
As weeks were turned to months and then to years –
As backs were bowed and heads and hopes were grayed...
And yet, the love, the faith, the trust remained –
The embers glowing as the darkness reigned.
We walked, apart, the paths that duties drew,
While yet as one, as Luna waxed and waned.

And so, despite the years we spent apart,
We stayed together, heart to beating heart.
‘Twas no romance, no ups and downs, surprises...
The paths we took were plain, unspoiled by art.
But even when I finally did return,
We found that hell in which the workers burn.
As veterans find, who’re traumatized by wars,
Our lives are ashes in the urban urn...
But seeing that the years have grown in pain,
I look to those that still perhaps remain,
And with the remnants of my will I say,
Our friendship lasts – and so, we’ll smile again.
We’ll walk again together, you and I,
While looking at the brightening eastern sky.
And as the sun is slowly rising, then
I’ll hold you close and hear you softly sigh...
2015 January 31st, Sat., 8:15 pm
(3rd-to-last & 2nd-to-last stanzas
added February 14th, Sat.)
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

Sunday, February 8, 2015


When living in a city such as this,
One wonders where the virtues all have gone.
For here’s a source of much of all the vice
That darkens this, the planet we are on… 
And some will say, “This place is not the worst.”
And this might be, for famine, war, disease
Are horrors – that our burghers here are spared – 
Whose ravages, in places far, increase.
And surely, there are decent folk who live
In cities such as this, where Mammon rules.
But these are quiet. They accept the vice,
For those who don’t are treated here as fools.
What place is there, in such a city, for
The ones who dream – or even write in verse?
Along with those, who point to right and wrong,
Such folk receive the cynic’s shrug – or curse.
What space is there, in such a race as this,
For those who pause or even dare to stand?
For both of these require a state of mind
The racers shun and will not understand. 
There’s sugar piled in heaps along the streets
But even children do not pause to taste.
And only when the pavements too are glazed
Do passersby attempt to check their haste.
For this is New York City – as in towns,
Across the world, of industry, finance,
The citizens are racing.  Each awakes
To those alarms that start the fevered dance.
You’ll see them running, so’s to catch the train.
You’ll catch them napping, while they ride, because
They’re short of sleep. So workers feed the fire
In which they burn.  The mills can never pause.
Some race because they must, to just survive,
But others have the dollar in the eye.
“Accumulate, and in the hustle, thrive!
And shove aside the ones, who question why!”
So finer instincts yield to coarser ones
As each competes and pushes, pulls in turn.
So men and women turn to zombies crazed,
As spirit’s ashes fill the urban urn.
It’s winter.  So the heaps are fallen snow
That’s sullied by the city’s soot – with light
Reflecting still from crystals – in the day
From angled sun – and from the lamps at night. 
But soon enough, the snow will turn to slush
And people, as they wade the pools, will curse,
As poets too, whose shoes and socks are soaked
With fluids dark and chill, neglect their verse…
So beauty is ignored, until it turns
To ugliness that taxes weary souls.
For this is New York City – like its twins,
Around the globe, whose denizens are ghouls.
They came from places far, from villages
Where people had the time to sit, converse – 
Or even towns where paces might have been
A little slower, and the speech less terse.
What happened?  You can see it in the kids.
In places such as this, you’ll often find,
Among the ones who still are whole, the ones
Afflicted with the illnesses of mind.
2015 February 7th, Sat.
(with stanzas added Feb. 8th, Sun.)
Brooklyn, New York 

Mulk Chor Kar Aaya Tha -- ملک چھوڑ کر آیا تھا -- मुल्क छोर कर आया था

This is a translation, into Urdu-Hindi, of:

I Left My Country
which is itself a translation, from Bengali, of:

Dex Cher’e Elam-দেশ ছেড়ে এলাম
Mulk Chor Kar Aaya Tha

Parhne ke liye, mae~ mulk chor kar yah vilaayat me~ aaya tha.
Soc raha hu~, kuch paese ikat't'he hone ke baad, ghar laut' jaunga.
T'han'd'e gali pe baet'ha, mae~ ab bhiik maang raha hu~,
ta ke, bewakuufi siikhkar, mae~ apne mulk ko waapas ja saku~.
Dekhie, saahab -- mae sardi se kaa~p raha hu~.
Khuda ke naam se,
jeb se do kuart'ar dijiega.

budhvaar, 4-tha farvari, 2015 iisvi
(urdu me tarjama, iidvaar, 8-vi farvari)
(hindi me anuvaad, ravivaar, 8-vi farvari)
bruklin, nyu yo`rk

ملک چھوڑ کر آیا تھا
پڑھنے کے لئے، میں ملک چھوڑ کر یہ ولایت میں آیا تھا.
سوچ رہا ہوں، کچھ پیسا اکٹٹھے ہونے کے بعد ، میں گھر لوٹ جاؤنگا.
ٹھنڈی گلی پر بیٹھے، میں اب بھیک مانگ رہا ہوں،
تا کے، بیوکوفی  سیکھ کر، میں اپنے ملک کو واپس جا سکوں.
دیکھئے, صاحب, میں سردی سے کانپ رہا ہوں.
خدا کے نام سے ، دو کوارٹار دجیگا.
بدھ، ۴ فروری، ۲۰۱۵ ایسوی
(اردو میں ترجمہ،اتوار ۸ فروری)
بروک لین، نیویا
मुल्क छोर कर आया था
पढ़ने के लिए, मैं मुल्क छोर कर यह विलायत में आया था।
सोच रहा हूँ, कुछ पैसे इकट्ठे होने से बाद, घर लौट जाऊंगा।
ठंडी गली में बैठा, मैं अभ भीक मांग रहा हूँ,
ता के, बेवकूफी सीखकर, मे अपने मुल्क को वापस जा सकूँ।
देखिए, साहब -- मैं सर्दी से काँप रहा हूँ।
भगवान के नाम से,
जेब से दो क्वार्टर दीजिएगा।

बुधवार, ४था  फ़रवरी, २०१५ ईस्वी
(उर्दू-हिंदी में अनुवाद, रविवार, ८ वि फ़रवरी)
ब्रुकलिन, न्यू यॉर्क

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Ek Zaruuri Baat--ایک ضروری بات

Ek Zaruuri Baat
Aadaab, janaab!
Mulaqaat hui, bahot din ke baad.
Mehrbaani karke, thora t'hairie --
ta ke, is mauke par,
aap se ho jae
ek zaruuri baat.

Waqt nahi~ hae?
To rahega, woh afsos,
jo bahot roz se hae hamaare saath...
Jo bolna tha, woh dil me hi raha gaya.

Khuda hafiz!

Lekin, phir kab hogi
woh puraane dard ki baat?

hafte, 7-vi februari
bruklin, niu yark


ایک ضروری بات

آداب ، جناب!
ملاقات ہی ، بہوت دن  کے بعد.
مہربانی کرکے، تھوڑا ٹھیرے --
تا  کے، اس موقع پر،
آپ سے ہو جائے
ایک ضروری بات ...
وقت نہیں ہے ؟
تو رہیگا ، وہ افسوس ،
جو بہوت روز سے ہے ہمارے ساتھ ...
جو بولنا تھا ، وہ دل مے ہی رہا گیا .
خدا حافظ ! 
لیکن  پھر کب ہوگی
وہ پرانے درد کی بات ؟

ہفتے کے روز، ۷ فروری
بروک لین، نیویارک

Friday, February 6, 2015

I Left My Country

I Left My Country
(translation of  Dex Cher’e Elam-দেশ ছেড়ে এলাম)
I left my country to educate myself.
If I could save some money, I’d go home.
I sit on the cold pavement and beg,
so I can return to my land, having learned
Can’t you see I’m shivering, sir?
How about a couple of quarters?

2015 February 4th, Wed.
(translated into English Feb. 6th, Fri.)
Brooklyn, New York

This is a translation, from Bengali, of:

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Dex Chere Elam--দেশ ছেড়ে এলাম

দেশ ছেড়ে এলাম
দেশ ছেড়ে এলাম সেদিন, বিদেশে শিক্ষে নিতে৷
পয়সা জমলে পরে, ভাবছি ফিরব বাড়ি৷
ঠাণ্ডা ফুটপাতে বসে, বলছি ভিক্ষে দিতে,
যাতে মূর্খমি শিখে দেশে ফিরতে পারি৷
দেখছ ত সাহেব, বড় কাঁপছি শীতে৷
জেব থেকে দুটি কোযার্টার দেও তারাতারি৷
বুধবার, ৪ঠা ফেব্রুয়ারি, ২০১৫ খ্রি 
ব্রুক্লিন, নিউ যর্ক

Dex Chere Elam
Dex chere elam xedin, bidexe xikkhe nite.
Po`exa jomle po`re, bhabchi phirbo bari.
T’hand’a phut’pate boxe, bolchi bhikke dite,
jate murkhomi xikhe dexe phirte pari.
Dekcho to xaheb, bo`r’o ka~pchi xite.
Jeb theke dut’i kuart’ar de`o tara-tari.

budhbar, 4-t’ha phebruari. 2014 khri
bruklin, niu io`rk

for a guide to the Romanization scheme used in this
transcription, please see the preface at the link:
For an imperfect translation of this into English, please see:

I Left My Country