Thursday, July 30, 2015

Nations Proud and Pure

Nations Proud and Pure (Draft)
Children cheering Axis leaders, Japanese poster, 1938
source: ?

“The strong should rule the weak,” she said,
“And those of sharper mind
Should govern those who're duller, so
We won't be left behind.
“But first, we have to purify
And cleanse our land, our race!
The parasites that we have borne
Are filth we must erase.”
“We need a state,” the prophet said,
“For every tribe and sect,
So each of these will then be pure
And cleansed of past defect.”

“The choicest lands should be reserved
For those of the highest races,
While all the vilest vermin are
Assigned to the blasted places.

"And if there is contention, let
The battles then begin,
Which those, who are the strongest and
The shrewdest, swiftly win.
“In countries blest there might of course
Be space for servants humble
Of lower races for the work
At which the high might grumble.

“So if by chance a nation lets
Another people stay,
It should be clear who rules the land
And who should just obey.

Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, 1930's-1940's
source: ?

“For the highest nations know they are,
In all the world, the best.
And if this is acknowledged, they
May tolerate the rest.

“Miscegenation is the root
Of every region’s woes.
Preserve your culture and your race
By shutting close your doors!

“Your strength is your security!
So use both arms and lies
To silence and to swindle those
Who matter less than flies.

“So set, upon a throne on high,
For worship, self divine.
And right below reserve a place
For those you call as ‘mine’.

“It isn’t just your family.
It’s more your culture, race
That should, by rights, be seated at
That special second place.

“Let ethics be a thing reserved
For those within your sphere.
For plants and beasts and races vile,
You shouldn’t waste a tear."

Spain's Francisco Franco
source: ?

And saying this she looked around
At all who’d raptly listened.
And she could see that every eye,
With zealous fervor, glistened.

“We need a state,” the prophet cried,
“For every human tribe!”
As everyone arose and cheered
Her rousing diatribe.

“But even in one race there are
The weaker and the stronger.
It's fit the strong should rule the weak,
For states would then last longer!”

In every head there danced, that day,
A vision: there’s a cure,
For all the ills of humankind,
In nations proud—and pure!

And each of them, returning home,
To kinsfolk near and dear,
Revealed that dream—that promise of
A future cleared of fear.

No more of persecutions or
Of slights or tolerating
The boorish ways of simians or
Yet more illicit mating!

And each of them was filled with joy
In fond anticipation
Of a nation pure, with limpets cleared
Or sent to their damnation.

Argentina's Jorge Rafael Videla
source: ?

Chile's Augusto Pinochet
source: ?

2015 July 30th Thu., 4:30 pm
Skyway dhaba, Bath Avenue
(1st, 2nd & 5th-from-last stanzas added

Aug 8th, Sat., along with the images)
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

Note:  The opinions expressed in this piece are not those of the writer. 

The Fooferaw

The Fooferaw

“A lollapalooza!” he announced, while opening wide his eyes.
That sockdolager knocked us out.  Then everyone nodded, “Yes!”
Except for two (who always were at odds with others there).
“It's catawampus!” one declared, “A puzzle most profound!”
“A hornswoggle!” the other spat.  He shook his head and frowned.
“Oh what a fooferaw it’s been!  But now I'm getting out!”

2015 July 30th, Thu. 1:04 pm
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Sun behind a cloud 
Brooklyn, 2015-08-01, © Arjun Janah


There are times, upon our journeys
On the trails of chance and choice,
When our work is dashed to pieces
And we're left without a voice.
When the world has lost its lightness
And our hurts and worries grow,
We might seek relief in drinking
As we drown in endless woe.

When our lives are filled with darkness,
And our hopes and dreams have fled,
We might hide in our addictions
Or be paralyzed with dread.

The birds of dawn may twitter
But our limbs have turned to lead.
Our mornings then are hopeless,
So we lie and rot in bed.
In trivial things, we fritter
Our precious lives away.
Our nights are crazed and restless
And so is every day.

In life and work despairing,
By those we loved betrayed,
We might yield then to the darkness,
With all our moorings frayed.

But if, amidst afflictions,
We quietly do resolve
To change our lives’ directions,
Our nightmares might dissolve.

When our sails are slack and drooping,
As our winds have ceased to blow,
We can wait and wait for breezes
Or settle down to row.


There are many things we can’t control.
There are just a few we can.
And if we walk a step each day,
That lets us know we can.

There are forces strong we can't resist;
There still are those we might.
And if we throw a punch a week,
We'll stay then in the fight.

There are times of joy and hopefulness,
There are times we’re robbed of hope.
In the worst of times, we still can strive
Or only sit and mope.

Out happiness and our sadness both
Are met in part by chance.
A forward step, a sideways step,
A backward—that's the dance.

It's cowardly to run away—
Unless we know we'll die.
Let's share the sprouts we've found of truth
And shield them from the lie.

It's neither wise to quickly yield,
Nor stay and fight to death.
We should remember our defeats
When victories are met.

Be humble then in victories.
Do not, on failures, dwell.
Successes small can give us strength
To bear those failures well.

The middle way is often best,
But each must find her own.
Through deep despair and hopelessness,
That median might be known.

The fever comes and rises and
It seems it will not go.
And yet in time it ebbs and leaves.
What's "hopeless" isn't so.

The darkness comes and we despair

At more and more of night.
But till the end, we still have hope
And memory of light.
2015 July 25th, Sat. 10:46 pm
(1st, 6th, 8th, 10th, 13th, 17th 
18th stanzas added Aug 1st, Sat.)
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

Sun behind a cloud
Brooklyn, 2015-08-01, © Arjun Janah

Friday, July 24, 2015

Our Greatest Enemies

Our Greatest Enemies 

I conferred with a local sage, to whom
I made complaints about the threats we face
from enemies.  But this is what he said.

“At times, our greatest enemies might be
ourselves.  And this is true of beings and
communities, of cities, nation states…

“A family can tear itself apart,
a neighborhood descend towards a hell,
an institution crumble from its weight.

“In civil wars, we murder neighbors, friends.
And our addictions are our lifelong jails,
in which we turn to mutilating selves.
“An entity that’s self-destructing can’t
withstand another’s blows that speed its death.
Defense begins with healing, first, ourselves.
“Oppression breeds resentments.  These will turn
to rubble every fort that serfdom builds.
So those who’re slavers might in time be slaves.
“Be vigilant towards yourself, far more
than towards another—yet be gentle, kind.
Who treats a being poorly must be blind.
“Reserve contempt for those whose evil is
unchecked by reason or remorse, but spare
the ones who err—as every being does.
“Look not abroad, nor look above for hope.
There’s hope in those around, though well concealed.
Begin with self—and nurture well that plant.

“And also do not judge, while ignorant,
the other tribes or nations.  Let them be.
Take care of what’s amiss, in where you live.”

I thanked him for his wisdom and I left.
But walking home I wondered why I’d gone
to hear this softie tell me all this shit.

Our enemies were real—Russia, China and Iran,
aligned to trick us and to do us in,
with dolts like Mr. Wise in government.

The current pope was none but Antichrist.
And Mexico was sending us their trash
that joined with Blacks to murder and to rape.

And I had enemies enough—at work,
among the neighbors—even family.
It’s best, I thought, to buy another gun.


Our greatest enemies, I’d say, are those
who make believe we really haven’t any—
except, of course, our own benighted selves.

But those like me will keep their basements stocked
with ammunition, guns and more supplies
we'll need to deal with all our enemies.

They all are jealous of the things we have.
They hate our freedoms and despise our faith.
And that is why we've got to bomb Iran.

We need to exercise our force abroad
Before they get a chance to come at us.
We've nukes enough that we should put to use.


We've got to show the world that we are tough
And will protect our global interests,
So they had better never mess with us.

I'm hearing now the tape of his "advice".
The more I hear, the angrier I get.
I'll put the bastard's name and more online.

2015 July 21st Tue & 23rd Thu
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York
Given the times we live in, I should state that the second half of this piece is satire.  Of course, some readers might say that of the first half.

Also, like all poems, this one, despite its imperfections, does need more than one quick reading.  Poems need some amount of reflection
not necessarily agreement, but comprehension and consideration.  I do realize that the times and pressures we live in may not be conducive to that.  
To some degree, poetry, like nature, by requiring or inducing this slowing down and reflection, can serve as an antidote to the speeding up we have been experiencing.  
This acceleration is a hallmark of commerce, especially of industry, which requires the worker to work at speed to produce maximum profit.  This attitude has been internalized by many of us, and shows itself in the impatience that often marks those who live or work in the cities.  I see this in myself and in those around me at work.
This hurry is, I believe, contrary to our own deeper nature and is detrimental to our survival and tranquility.  The mantra "Speed up. Time is money." perhaps needs replacing with "Slow down.  Life needs to be savored.  Attention needs to be paid."  
If more of us would follow this alternative, many of the unnecessary problems we facefrom conflicts at home and in the workplace to those between nations, might be greatly reduced, along with all the suffering these bring about.  
Of course, it is difficult to stop in the midst of a stampede without getting trampled.  But if sufficient numbers slow down around us, beginning, perhaps, with ourselves, we might be able to enjoy a bit of sanity and attend more to the things that really need attending to.  

The lecture ends here.  ;-) You don't have to re-read my stuff.  Thanks for reading till here.  
Go in peace.  Shaantih.  Salaam.  Shalom.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summer and Winter

Summer and Winter

The women of the winter’s lands and the women of the summer’s
Had gathered once to sing and dance to strings and flutes and drummers.
And one remarked how nice it was that winter had departed,
To which another then replied, she hated more the summers.
And others joined, as arguments on seasons’ merits started.

But one of them, who’d lived in both the regions that are heated
And those more often frozen, said, “The summers there are feted,
Where winter’s cold is bitter and the winter’s stay is long.
But summers there are hated, where, by June, we've been defeated,
So the rains, that end the summer’s heat, we greet with dance and song.”

Another, who had also known the polar and the tropic,
Arose and spoke with passion then upon this very topic.
“In places where the cloudy days are greeted with relief,
There winter is a season mild.  But where we all are phobic
Of winters that are long and harsh, there summers salve our grief.
“The arcing blue, the grays and whites of clouds whose edges glow,
The light upon the leaves that pointillism tried to show,
The shades of green, the sun and shade, the flowers in the breeze—
A summer, in a temperate zone, is all of these and more—
A passing dream of languor, lulling wearied souls to ease.

“The pores of skin are opened that in seasons past were closed.
The heat’s a suitor’s question.  The perspiration flows,
For that’s the body’s answer, as vessels tensed dilate.
“The summer is a cleansing.” a poet once proposed.
“It’s even more a coupling.” say the ones insatiate.
“As the rains are to the summer, in the heated tropic lands,
So the spring and then the summer are, to her, who understands
The moods of all the seasons where the winter’s reign is long.
The summer’s then her lover, and a lover makes demands,
As is known to those who revel when the rains are lashing strong.
“When fields are parched and dusty and the sun’s a blinding flame,
When all the land is thirsty and the jackal’s limping lame,
Then there, on the horizon, the wall of dark appears.
There’s thunder and there’s lightning, and the girls who’ve lost their shame
Are dancing, for it’s raining, as the gods throw down their spears.

“More gently comes the vernal, like a lover’s soft caress,
To the land that bore the winter’s yoke and groaned in its distress.
And summer, to that region, comes and stays for just a while,
And yet receives a welcome that is heartfelt, nonetheless,
For even when he’s left us—from his kisses, still, we smile.”

And when she finished speaking, the others laughed out loud.
For they had seen, inverted, what seasons were about.
“It’s time,” said one, “for dancing!”  And so began their dance.
And “Is it for the summer,” one could ask that swaying crowd,
“Or is it for the winter?” And the answer would be, “Dance!”
2015 July 22nd, Wed., 8:47 pm
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Probhater Pal—প্রভাতের পাল—The Distant Sails

This is written using verb conjugations and vocabulary that would now be considered archaic, but which were still in use in much of what we read when I was in elementary school in Bengal.  I have provided, again, two Roman transcriptions. The first follows the current standard pronunciation and is summarized in the preface to the post at  Bharot Xadhin (India Free).

I have inserted (in blue) after each stanza in that transcription, an approximation to a word-for-word translation into English.  When a reader whose first language belongs to the European mainstream tries to decipher those inserts, she/he might note how weird the syntax of Bengali appears to someone  encountering such a syntax for the first time.

The reader might then begin to appreciate how strange and difficult the syntax of an European language, such as English, seems to an Asian who is a native speaker of, say, Turkish, Hindi-Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Mongolian, Korean or Japanese—unless that speaker has been exposed, from an early age, to either that European tongue or to a syntactically similar language.
The second transcription is the "machine transcription" obtained via, which I have lightly edited, in the way that I had described in earlier posts. Notes on that transcription scheme are at the very end of the post at  Beside the Sea--Xagor Tire .

Finally, at the end of the current post, there is a translation into English, which is fairly literal.

প্রভাতের পাল

প্রভাতে নদীর কিনারে দাঁড়াইয়া,
দেখিলাম দূরে, পাল
মেলিয়া চলিতেছে, হাওয়ার বাহনে,
দূর দেশের সাম্পান৷

কোথা হইতে আসিয়াছে,
ভাবিয়া ভাবিয়া,
মনে মনে ভাসিয়া দূরে,
আসিলাম বন্দরে৷

দেখিলাম, বিদেশি শহর৷
পাসে ক্ষেত৷ দূরে,
বনে ঢাকা পর্বতমালা,
কুয়াশা চুড়ায়৷

ঢেউয়ের উপর দুলিতেছে জাহাজ৷
দূরে ও নিকটে পাল৷
দূর থেকে দেখা, পিপড়ার মত,
বিদেশী শ্রমিকের ঝাঁক৷
‘ইহা কি বর্মা, নাকি মালয়, ছিয়াম,
কাম্বোজ, ভিয়েত, চীন?’
স্বপ্নে যেন প্রশ্ন কাহার
কানে আসিল ধীর৷

‘জানি না,’ কহিয়া দিলাম জবাব,
‘জানি না, কোন দেশ৷’
বলাতে, দেখিলাম দৃশ্য যেন
নিমেষে হইল শেষ৷

ফিরিলাম নিজ দেশে,
শীতল সকালে৷
দেখিলাম, দূরে, সেই পাল
অদৃশ্য প্রায়৷

কোথা হইতে আসিয়াছিল সেই
দূরে দেখা পাল,
জানি না৷ জানি না, তাহা
কোথাকার সাম্পান৷

সকাল ১০:৩৮, শনিবার, ১৩ই জুন, ২০১৫ খ্রি 
ব্রুক্লিন, নিউয়র্ক

If you are looking for an English translation that is more easily comprehensible than what is given, directly below (in the blue inserts after each stanza), please see the very end of this post.

Note that the blue inserts provide close to word-for-word translations from the Bengali, preserving the original word order.  This is meant to help those who seek a better understanding of the words and syntax of the Bengali original.

For the Bengali postpositions -e and -te, I have uniformly used the (suffixed) English preposition "in", although -e and -te could also signify "at", "on", "into", etc., depending on the context.

Bengali has a principle of  "least redundancy", "economy of endings", "least effort" or "laziness" -- call it what you will -- through which (among other things) plural endings are dispensed with when not required for clarity.  So the word pal ("sail" or "flock/herd") could, depending on the context,  mean either "sail" or "sails "(or "herd" or "herds").  I have translated pal in the blue inserts as "sail".  In the more idiomatic translation, at the very end of the current post, I have written "sails" instead, envisioning a sampan (Chinese-style flat-bottomed  boat or small ship) with more than one sail.

In Hindi-Urdu, tense, person, number and gender are all reflected in the verb declensions. The form of a Bengali verb changes with tense and person, but not with number or gender.  The English verb form changes with tense, person and number, although for the last two the only form that still differs in standard modern English is the third person singular (in the present tense and, for the auxiliary verb, in the present perfect tense).  I have, in the blue inserts, used the singular forms of the English verbs.

In Bengali, the verb "to be" is usually omitted in the present tense.  I have followed this practice in the blue inserts.  So be ready for some verb-less sentences in these inserts.

If the blue inserts are incomprehensible even after several readings, please take recourse to the translation at the very end of this post.

Probhater Pal

Morning Sail

Probhate nodir kinare da~r’aiya,
dekhilam dure, pal
melia coliteche, haoar bahone,
dur dexer xampan.

morning-in river's edge-in standing,
saw-I far-in,  sail
unfurled moving-is, air’s carriage-in,
far country’s sampan.

Kotha hoite axiache,
bhabia bhabia,
mone mone bhaxia dure,
axilam bo`ndore.

Where from come-has,
pondered pondered,
mind-in mind-in floated far-in,
came-I port-in.

Dekhilam, bidexi xo`hor.
Paxe khet.  Dure,
bone d’haka parbatmala,
kuaxa curae.

Saw-i foreign city.
Side-in field.  Far-in,
woods-in covered mountain-necklace [chain],
mist peak-in.

D’heuer upo`r duliteche jahaj.
Dure o niko`t’e pal.
Dur theke de`kha, pipr’ar mo`to,
bidexi sromiker jha~k.

Wave's on swaying-is ship.
Far-in and near-in sail.
Far from seen, ant like,
foreign workers’ flock.

‘Iha ki Bo`rma, naki Malo`e, Chiam,
Kamboj, Bhiet, Cin?’
Xo`pne je`no prosno kahar
Kane axilo dhir.

"This-the ? Burma, not? Malaya, Siam,
Cambodia, Vietnam, China? "
Dream-in as if question whose
ear-in came slow.

‘Jani na,’ kohia dilam jo`bab,
‘Jani na, kon dex.’
Bo`late, dekhilam drixxo je`no
nimexe hoilo xex.

“Know-I not,” said gave-I reply,
Know-I not, which country.”
Said-in, saw-I vision as if
blink-in became end.

Phirilam nijo dexe,
xito`l xo`kale.
Dekhilam, dure, pal
o`drixxo prae.

Returned-I own country,
cool morning-in.
Saw-I, far-in, sail
invisible almost.

Kotha hoite axiachilo xei
dure de`kha pal,
jani na.   Jani na, taha
kothakar xampan.

Where from came that
far-in seen sail,
Know-I not.  Know-I not, that-the
which-place’s sampan.

xo`kal 10:38, Xonibar, 13i Jun, 2015 khri
Bruklin, Niu Io`rk

morning 10:38, Saturday, 13th June, 2015 AD
Brooklyn, New York   

Prabhātēr Pāl

Prabhātē nadīr kinārē dām̐ṛā'iẏā,
dēkhilām dūrē, pāl
mēliẏā calitēchē, hā'ōẏār bāhanē,
dūr dēśēr sāmpān.

Kōthā ha'itē āsiẏāchē,
bhābiẏā bhābiẏā,
manē manē bhāsiẏā dūrē,
āsilām bandarē.

Dēkhilām, bidēśi śahar.
Pāsē kṣēt.  Dūrē,
banē ḍhākā parbatmālā,
kuẏāśā cuṛāẏ.

ḍhē'uẏēr upar dulitēchē jāhāj.
Dūrē ō nikaṭē pāl.
Dūr thēkē dēkhā, pipṛār mata,
bidēśī śramikēr jhām̐k.

Ihā ki Barmā, nāki Mālaẏ, Chiẏām,
Kāmbōj, Bhiẏēt, Cīn?’
Sbapnē yēna praśna kāhār
kānē āsila dhīr.

‘Jāni nā,’ kahiẏā dilām jabāb,
‘Jāni nā, kōn dēś.’
Balātē, dēkhilām dr̥śya yēna
nimēṣē ha'ila śēṣ.

Phirilām nija dēśē,
śītal sakālē.
Dēkhilām, dūrē, sē'i pāl
adr̥śya prāẏ.

Kōthā ha'itē āsiẏāchila sē'i
dūrē dēkhā pāl,
jāni nā.  Jāni nā, tāhā
kōthākār sāmpān.

sakāl 10:38, Śanibār, 13i Jun, 2015 khri 
Bruklin, Ni'uẏark

The following English translation is fairly literal.  However, I have added, to this translation, an explanatory, somewhat repetitive,  concluding stanza that is absent in the original.
The Distant Sails
From the river’s shore, I saw, this morning,
far away, with sails unfurled,
a sampan, from a distant land,
driven by the wind.

I wondered where it came from,
and wondering, I floated in my mind,
it seemed, until I saw,
across the waves, a busy port.

I saw a city, in a foreign land.
Nearby were fields and farms.  Afar
were wooded mountains—and their peaks
were shrouded then in mist.

Ships were rolling on the waves.
Their sails were far and near.
And in the distance, I could see
the workers in the docks—like little ants.

“ Is this Burma?  Or is it Malaya, Siam,
Cambodia, Vietnam—or China?”
I heard this question, spoken soft and slow,
within my dream.

“I do not know,” I answered,
“I do not know this land.”
And as I spoke, the vision
came to its end.

I was back in my land,
in the cool of the morning.
I saw, afar, those sails
about to disappear.

I do not know from where it came—
that ship I saw in the distance.
I do not know.  I do not know
from where it came—

those sails of the morning,
that sampan
of my dreams—I do not know
from where they came.

2015 June 13th Sat, 10:38 am
(translated into English July 18th, Sat.
with a final stanza added to the translation)
Brooklyn, New York

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Nothing and Naught— লবডঙ্কা, কচু— Lo`bod’o`nka, Kocu— Diddlysquat, Zilch

The English original is followed by a translation into Bengali. This translation is given first in the traditional Bengali script, and then in a Romanization that follows the pronunciation rather than the traditional spelling. I have included, after each stanza in that Romanization, a literal, word-by-word translation back into English, preserving the Bengali syntax.

Finally, there is a Romanization that is the "machine transcription" available at  I have (once again) lightly edited this last transcription, as I had explained in earlier posts.

Nothing and Naught

For many years, I’ve spouted words—
An endless stream of froth.
And soon this foam might dissipate—
Leave nothing, naught of worth.
But if, by chance, a residue
Remains in those who’ve read,
I then will lie contentedly
Upon my final bed.
And if, as is more likely, naught
And nothing should remain,
Then dying I might only feel
A tiny twinge of pain.

For knowing well impermanence—
That all is flow—I’ll sigh,
And, smiling at my impudence
In scribing verse, I’ll die.
2015 July 15th, Wed, 8:47 pm
Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn, New York

Directly below is a translation into Bengali (Bangla), in the traditional Bengali script.  This script is closely related to that used for the Asomiya (Assamese) language spoken to the north of the Bengal region and to the Tirhuta or Mithilakshar script once used for the Maithili language spoken to its northwest.
লবডঙ্কা, কচু
পদ্য লিখেছি, বছর ধরে,
পাতার ওপর পাতা৷
ফেনার মত হবে হাওয়া,
রইবে কেবল ছাতা৷
কিছু যদি থাকে বাকি,
পাঠকগণের মনে,
খুশি হয়ে যাব আমি
ওই ওপারের বনে৷
কিন্তু যদি থাকে শুধু
লবডঙ্কা, শুন্য,
একটুখানি  ব্যাথার চোটেও,
মরব আমি ধন্য৷ 
চিরকালের জোয়ারভাটায়,
স্রোতে যাবে সবই৷
নিজের স্পর্ধায় মুচকি হেসে,
চলবে ক্রমে কবি৷
সন্ধ্যে ৮:৪৭, বুধবার, ১৫ই জুলাই
(বাংলায় অনুবাদ, বৃহস্পতিবার, ১৬ই জুলাই)
গ্রেভ্জেণ্ড বে, ব্রুক্লিন, নিউয়র্ক

The Romanization used directly below follows the pronunciation rather than the traditional spelling. To pronounce the words, please see the transcription scheme summarized in the preface to Bharot Xadhin (India, Free).
Lo`bod’o`nka, Kocu 

Diddlysquat, Zilch

Po`ddo likhechi, bo`chor dhore,
patar opor pata.
Phe`nar moto ho`be haoa,
roibe kebol chata.

Poems write-have-I, years through,
page upon page.
Foam’s like, become-will air,
remain-will only mold (dreck).
Kichu jodi thake baki,
pat’hokgo`ner mone,
khuxi hoe jabo ami
oi oparer bone.

Something if stays left,
readers’ mind(s)-in,
happy becomed go-will I,
that that (other) (river) bank’s woods-in.
Kintu jodi thake xudhu
lo`bodo`nka, xunno,
ekt’ukhani be`thar cot’eo,
morbo ami dhonno.

But if stays only
diddlysquat, zero,
a-little-bit pain’s spite-in-still,
die-will I blessed.
Cirokaler joarbhat’ae,
srote jabe xo`bi.
Nijer spo`rdhae mucki he~xe,
Colbe krome kobi.

Forever-eons’ rise-tide-ebb-tide-in,
current-in go-will all-[emphasis].
Self’s daring-at sly-smiled,
go-will time-in poet.
xondhe 8:47, Budhbar, 15i Julai, 2015 khri
(Banglae onubad, Brihoxpotibar, 16i Julai)
Grebhjend’ Be, Bruklin, Niu Io`rk 
evening 8:47, Mars-day, 15th July, 2015 C.E.
(Bengali-in translation, Jupiter(Thor)-day, 16th July)
Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn, New York

The Romanization below is the "machine transcription" available at  Please see the notes at the very end of the post Beside the Sea--Xagor Tire.
Labaḍaṅkā, Kacu

Padya likhēchi, bachar dharē,
pātār ōpar pātā.
Phēnār mata habē hā'ōẏā,
ra'ibē kēbal chātā.

Kichu yadi thākē bāki,
pāṭhakagaṇēr manē,
khuśi haẏē yāba āmi
ō'i ōpārēra banē.

Kintu yadi thākē śudhu
labaḍaṅkā, śun'ya,
ēkṭukhāni byāthār cōṭē'ō,
marba āmi dhan'ya.

Cirakālēr jōẏārbhāṭāẏ,
srōtē yābē sabi
nijēr spardhāẏ mucki hēsē,
calbē kramē kabi.

sandhyē 8:47, Budhbār, 15i Julā'i
(Bānlāẏ anubād, br̥haspatibār, 16i Julā'i)
Grēbhjēṇḍ Bē, Bruklin, Ni'uẏark

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tomar Ba~xir Xur—তোমার বাঁশির সুর—The Sound of Your Flute

Two Roman transcriptions are provided.  The first uses a scheme I had devised that follows the pronunciation rather than the standard spelling in the traditional script.  The second  is a machine transcription from  I have lightly edited the second to remove those short a's that are not pronounced.  To learn how to pronounce the words using these two transcription schemes, please see:
A translation into English is also given, at the end of the current post.
তোমার বাঁশির সুর

জীবনের সুখদুঃখের পথে,
কেঁদেও হেসেছি হাসি৷
শুনেছি নিকটে, দূরে,
তোমার বাজানো বাঁশি৷
যখনি এগিয়েছি পা,
ভেবেছি পেয়েছি প্রায়,
সংসার বলেছে, 'না!'
কখনো দেখিনি, হায়!
এসেছি পথের শেষে,
যুক্তি, শক্তি ছাড়া৷
তাও ত শুনছি দূরে
পুরোনো সুরের ধারা৷
জীবন ধরে, করেছি চাষ,
ডাকাত নিয়েছে ধান৷
রয়েছে কেবল, যতই দূরে,
তোমার বাঁশির গান৷
এই জীবনে হবেনা দেখা,
এই জীবনে, হায়!
তাও ত মর্ম, বাঁশির ডাকে,
তোমার খোঁজে যায়৷
দেহ মন মিশে যাবে যখন
বিশাল সমুদ্রের জলে,
ঢেউয়ের সাথে দুলব তখন,
তোমার বাঁশির সুরে৷ 
দুপুর ১:৪০, সোমবার, ১৩ই জুলাই, ২০১৫ খ্রি
বেন্সন্হার্স্ট, ব্রুক্লিন, নিউয়র্ক
Tomar Ba~xir Xur

Jiboner xukhdukkher po`the,
ke~deo hexechi haxi.
Xunechi niko`t’e, dure
tomar bajano baxi.

Jo`khoni egiechi pa,
bhebechi pe-echi prae,
xo`ngxar boleche, “Na!”
Ko`khono dekhini, hae!

Exechi po`ther xexe,
jukti, xokti char’a.
Tao to xunchi dure
purono xurer dhara.


Jibon dhore, korechi cax,
d’akat nieche dhan.
Roeche kebol, jo`toi dure,
tomar ba~xir gan.

Ei jibone ho`be na de`kha,
ei jibone, hae!
Tao to mo`rmo, ba~xir d’ake,
tomar kho~je jae.

Deho mon mixe jabe jo`khon
bixal xomudrer jo`le,
d’heuer xathe dulbo to`khon,
tomar ba~xir xure.

dupur 1:40, Xombar, 13i Julai, 2015 khri
Benso`nharst’, Bruklin, Niu Io`rk

Tōmār Bām̐śir Sur

Jībanēr sukhduḥkhēr pathē,
kēm̐dē'ō hēsēchi hāsi.
Śunēchi nikaṭē, dūrē,
tōmār bājānō bām̐śi.

Yakhani ēgiẏēchi pā,
bhēbēchi pēẏēchi prāẏ,
sansār balēchē, 'nā!'
Kakhanō dēkhini, hāẏ!

Ēsēchi pathēr śēṣē,
yukti, śakti chāṛā.
Tā'ō ta śunchi dūrē
purono surēr dhārā.


Jīban dharē, karēchi cāṣ,
ḍākāt niẏēchē dhān.
Raẏēchē kēbal, yata'i dūrē,
tōmār bām̐śir gān.
Ē'i jībanē habēnā dēkhā,
ē'i jībanē, hāẏ!
Tā'ō ta marma, bām̐śir ḍākē,
tōmār khōm̐jē yāẏ.

Dēha man miśē yābē yakhan
biśāl samudrēr jalē,
ḍhē'uẏēr sāthē dulba takhan,
tōmār bām̐śir surē .

dupur 1:40, Sōmbār, 13i Julā'i, 2015 khri
Bēnsanhārsṭ, Bruklin, Ni'uẏark
The Sound of Your Flute

While walking on the road of life,
amid the joys and woes,
I’ve heard, from near and far, your flute,
and smiled through all my tears.

Whenever I have sought you,
thought I’d almost found you,
the world has told me, “Stay!”
and so we’ve never met.

I’ve reached the end of the road,
bereft of strength and wit.
But still, I hear, in the distance,
that ancient, dancing tune.

The robbers always took the grain
from the fields on which I worked.
Now all that I have left is this—
the singing of your flute.

I will not see you in this life—
not in this life, alas!
And yet your flute is calling and
my soul, it seeks for you.

When mind and body are dissolved
within the ocean vast,
I then will dance, amidst the waves,
to that song divine—at last.
2015, July 13, Monday, 1:40 pm
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

Friday, July 10, 2015

Evening in Brooklyn

Evening in Brooklyn
The light has almost drained away, as all
The beings of the day are turning in—
Except for humans.  Even they have slowed,
And so the city’s hustle is subdued
As evening falls upon us like a leaf.

The humors ebb and surge within us all
As sunset yields to dusk and then to night.
The city’s lights hold back the stars and yet
The boldest now are twinkling and I see
What seemed a planet arc across the sky.
How often once, how rarely now, have I
Been one of those who watched the day depart.
So many memories of evenings past
Arise and flow—like ripples on a pond
That cede to stillness in the twilight's glow.


The dawn, the dusk, the turning of the tide
Are times when we are meant to be outdoors,
To see the changing light, to hear, to smell—
To taste of essence, feel the pulsing wave—
To be as one with time and space and god.

2015 July 10th Fri., 9:42 pm
(third stanza added July 11th, Sat. 8:58 pm)
Bensonhurst Park, Brooklyn, New York

Thursday, July 9, 2015

To Family Members Fleeing the City’s Summer

To Family Members Fleeing the City’s Summer

In summertime, we sweat a lot
And wonder, should we leave or not
The city, with its heated air,
Or stay, as if we didn't care.

And some depart, in buses, trains
And those with means in speeding 'planes
And others in their private cars,
While I remain.  It's in my stars.

So go, and let the gods give wings
To those like you.  The distance sings.
It calls—and you respond and go.
But some of us are always slow.

We flow like treacle and molasses.
We sit and slowly grow our asses
If we're women, or our bellies
If we're men—and watch our tellies.

But wait!  I'm sorry, I forget
That now it is the Internet.
I sit and type—and on my screen
Appear those images serene.

So you may hurry hence, while I
Am asking, whither, wherefore, why.
For using only keystrokes, see—
I'm down by the Aegean Sea.

And if I tire of boobs and muscle,
I then can very swiftly hustle
And lo!  I'm high up in the Andes
Or praying by the river Ganges.

So go, and have your bit of fun.
I know from what you need to run.
But I shall stay within this sauna,
Melding with the city’s fauna.

Perhaps I’ll wander to the shore,
As I have done in years before
And slowly walk by Gravesend Bay,
While all of you are far away.

And who of us has rested less
And had perhaps the greater stress,
We’ll see, when we are reunited
And all we’ve done is then recited.

And yes, I’m sure my own account
Might then be deemed as not to count.
So I, with yours, will be content.
Contentment is my main intent.

So whether on Virginia’s beaches
Or deep in DC’s inner reaches,
If you ever think of me,
Know, from wanderlust, I’m free.

I’ve climbed upon the Himalayas,
And whiskered tigers in their lairs.
I’ve done this, while within this city,
Which might or might not be a pity.

2015 July 9th, Thu, 12:49 am
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Worst of Times

The Worst of Times 
The seasons come; the seasons go.
But summer will be leaving slow.
He likes to stay, so sheets are wet
From skins that pour at night with sweat.
The summer’s swelter starts when spring
Departs.  He slips, on us, his ring.
And so, when summer’s in our bed,
We sigh and yield, for we are wed.
A marriage made in hell, indeed!
So summer rides upon his steed
That neighs, protesting, but in vain.
So each must bear the summer’s pain.
And some seek air-conditioned bliss,
While others, at their weakness, hiss.
And others yet, by ocean-side,
Then find relief, with wind and tide.
There’s June, but then there is July.
By August, we are asking, “Why?”
But even when September’s here,
Summer’s heated breath is near.
October comes, and he departs!
And some might grieve, with broken hearts,
But others then rejoice.  We’re free,
By autumn’s grace, from tyranny!
We know, alas, that he’ll return,
And even more, with ardor, burn.
From summer, we might seek divorce,
And yet he’d take us with his force.
And so we pray that he will alter
Predilections—or will falter.
But it seems he does not age,
And every year we bear his rage.
So summer comes with all his sin,
For summer’s sun can burn the skin,
And even when the midnight chimes,
We suffer, in these worst of times.
2015 July 8th, Wed., 1:10 pm
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York 

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Best of Times

The Best of Times
My summers, in these northern climes,
Have often been the best of times,
When I could nap again at noon
And wonder at the rising moon.
On summer afternoons, I’ve made
My way between the sun and shade.
I’ve reveled in the grasses green
And stared at clouds that float serene
Within that arcing summer sky
That I’ll remember till I die.
I’ve walked beside the shining sea
And learned again to simply be,
As, blowing cool, the ocean breeze
Has set my heart and mind at ease.
I’ve watched the waves and seagulls dance
And seen, afar, the storm’s advance.
I’ve seen the fiery lightning’s flash
And heard the booming thunder’s crash.
And time and time and time again
I’ve sheltered from the summer rain.
My summers in the northern zone
Were mostly spent while quite alone.
And yet, I hardly would complain
If I could live them, each, again.

My summers, I have taken slow,
With often nowhere else to go,
Except where I had worked the year.
And yet, those summers still were dear.
My summers, in these northern climes,
Have often been the best of times.

2015 July 6th, Mon., 7:05 pm
Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn, New York

Friday, July 3, 2015

দূরের থেকে প্রেম—Durer Theke Prem—Romance from Afar

These ditties are fiction.  My own experiences in the field of romantic love have been very limited, but I seem to be making up for that in these amours I am spinning in my dotage.

I seem to be doing this spinning, in the main, in two languages.  There might be some significance in that—or not.

One of these languages is my mother tongue, Bangla (Bengali).  My formal education in this language was poor and interrupted, and my reading in it has been very limited.  So my Bengali vocabulary remains, to a large extent, at the level of a student in elementary school.

The other language, English, was once, along with troops, armaments and more, a vehicle of colonial rule in my land of birth.  It is also the primary language of the country I have lived in for the past forty years.  But I still have my strong native accent and I still have to struggle to pronounce English words in either of the two main standard ways.  That is a handicap indeed when venturing to write poetry.

Nevertheless, here's yet more of the froth.

Once again, I have provided, following the piece in the traditional Bengali script, two Roman transcriptions (this time, with Google's version first) and then a translation into English.
দূরের থেকে প্রেম

দূরের থেকে ভালবাসা,
দূরের থেকে প্রেম —
রইবে কি সে বছর ধরে?
বল আমায়,  মেম৷

মাঝে মাঝে চোখাচোখি,
মাঝে মৃদু হাসি,
এই দিয়ে কি চলবে গাড়ি?
কহ,  প্রাচ্যবাসী৷

টানতে হবে, ঠেলতে হবে,
নইলে যাবে থেমে৷
সকল দেশে, পথের ওপর
খাটনি আছে,  প্রেমে৷

উত্তরে যাও, দক্ষিনে যাও,
পশ্চিমে বা পূর্বে,
ততই কথা সত্যি হবে,
যতই দূরে ঘুরবে৷

দূরের থেকে, প্রেমের বাঁধন
হবে ক্রমে ক্ষয়৷
ভালবাসা পেতে, সখী,
দিতেও কিছু হয়৷

বিকেল ৫:৩৪, শুক্রবার 
৩রা জুন, ২০১৫ খ্রি
ব্রুক্লিন, নিউয়র্ক 

The Roman transcription directly below was obtained via  I have lightly edited this "machine transcription".  This was done mainly to remove unnecessary short a's (those that should not be pronounced) and to put in capitalization and periods that had been left out.

Those who are not familiar with this transcription scheme, but wish to use it to learn (or at least correctly pronounce) Bengali, might want to read the note at the very end of the post at

Dūrēr Thēkē Prēm

Dūrēr thēkē bhālabāsā,
dūrēr thēkē prēm—
ra'ibē ki sē bachar dharē?
Bala āmāẏ, mēm.

Mājhē mājhē cōkhācōkhi,
mājhē mr̥du hāsi,
Ē'i diẏē ki calbē gāṛi?
Kaha, prācyabāsī.

ṭāntē habē, ṭhēltē habē,
na'ilē yābē thēmē
Sakal dēśē, pathēr ōpar
khāṭni āchē, prēmē.

Uttarē yā'ō, dakṣinē yā'ō,
paścimē bā pūrbē,
tata'i kathā satyi habē,
yata'i dūrē ghurbē.

Dūrēr thēkē, prēmēr bām̐dhan
habē kramē kṣaẏ.
Bhālabāsā pētē, sakhī,
ditē'ō kichu haẏ.

bikēl 5:34, Śukrabār 
3rā Jun, 2015 khri
Bruklin, Ni'uẏark

The transcription scheme used below is my own and is briefly summarized at

Durer Theke Prem
Durer theke bhalobaxa,
durer theke prem—
roibe ki xe bo`chor dhore?
Bo`lo amae, mem.

Majhe majhe cokhacokhi,
majhe mridu haxi,
ei die ki colbe gar’i?
Ko`ho, praccobaxi.

T’ante ho`be, t’helte ho`be,
Noile jabe theme.
Xo`kol dexe, po`ther opor
khat’ni ache, preme.

Uttore jao, dokkhine jao,
poxcime ba purbe,
to`toi ko`tha xotti ho`be,
jo`toi dure ghurbe.

Durer theke, premer ba~dhon
ho`be kro`me kho`e.
Bhalobaxa pete, xokhi,
diteo kichu ho`e.

bikel 5:34, Xukrubar
3ra Jun, 2015 khri
Bruklin, Niu Io`rk
Below this is a translation of the poem into English. In all but a few lines, the translation is fairly literal.   However, those attempting to decipher the Bengali from the translation should be warned that word-order in Bengali is radically different from that in English.

This is true, not only for Bengali, but for most Indian languages, and indeed, most Asian ones, (with the Sinic, Malay and Mon-Khmer tongues being notable exceptions) relative to most European languages (with Turkish and some of the Samoyedic and Uralic languages being the main exceptions to the European ordering).

In particular, postpositions are used rather than prepositions, and the standard word order is subject-object-verb, rather than subject-verb-object as is standard in most of Europe.  However, thanks to case-endings (usually case-postpositions), there is considerable flexibility in the word order, be this for emphasis or for other effect. This is a boon when writing in rhythmic verse.
Romance from Afar

The love that is from far away,
The warm, imagined kiss—
Can this remain, for years and years?
Do tell me, western miss.

The eyes that meet from time to time,
The shy and furtive smile—
Will this sustain, dear eastern maid,
Love’s train, for mile and mile?

Without the pull and push, the train
Will slow and then will stop.
In every land, there’s labor on
The tracks, for every love.

Go north or south or west or east.
You’ll find it’s always true.
The more you wander from your love,
The more the loss you’ll rue.

The distance wears away, in time,
The ties that let it live.
To get of love, my dearest, you
Will also have to give.

5:34 pm, Friday
June 3, 2015
Brooklyn, New York

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer’s Gold / The Lover Strong

For those who've always lived in the tropics, these chords might have little resonance.  But those who have spent years or decades in the high latitudes might buzz a bit when reading this.

Summer’s Gold / The Lover Strong
How pleasant is the summer’s touch
To those who’ve borne the winter long.
For them, the spring’s the suitor but
The summer is the lover strong.

Caressing is the summer’s warmth.
It licks and opens every pore.
In plant and beast, the honeyed sap,
The musk and oils and juices flow.

In winter’s chill, it’s fit for yin
To counsel us to hibernate.
Then spring arrives.  Perhaps it’s sin,
But yang then urges us to mate.

As flowers bud and bloom in sun,
So humans do—and much besides.
The seasons strum—and we vibrate.
So seas and beings pulse with tides.

So autumn whispers in our ears
And winter nips and we retreat.
The spring then coaxes us from fear
To summer’s arms and kisses sweet.


The summer, in the polar places,
Releases us from winter’s cold.
We can’t escape its warm embraces
Or shy from all its urgings bold.

Although we wish that summer stays,
Its time with us is often brief.
When autumn’s gone, with all its blaze,
Then memory is our sole relief.

As with seasons, so with fate:
When spring and summer both are past,
Our autumn comes—and then we wait
For winter, when we’ll breathe our last.

And though a season comes again,
We know that we will not return.
We die, as we are born, in pain,
Yet in-between we live and learn.
So when we’re in our final years
And shivering from those fingers cold,
As death, with winter’s visage, nears,
We still remember summer’s gold.
2015, July 1st, Wed., 6:07 pm
Bensonhurst Park
Brooklyn, New York

Beside the Sea—Xagor Tire—সাগর তীরে—Sāgar Tīrē

This is a curious piece, with some archaisms that might seem incongruous.  It is followed by a translation into Bengali, which is in three versions:
  1. firstly, in my own strange Roman transcription scheme, which follows the pronunciation rather than the standard spelling, as was briefly summarized in the preface at ; 
  2. secondly, in the beautiful traditional Bengali script, attempting to reproduce the the standard spelling;  
  3. and finally, in the Roman transcription (which I will refer to as the "machine transcription") provided by the software program at  A note on this transcription can be found at the very end of the current post.
Hopefully, these three versions, taken together with the English original, might be of some assistance to those attempting to learn Bengali.  However, for those with little or no prior knowledge of Bengali, nor of other Indian languages, a word-for-word translation might be needed, as the word-order is radically different between English and most Indian languages.  I have not provided this here.

It is often difficult to translate a poem in a literal fashion. But in this case, much (though not all) of the translation is quite literal, without, hopefully, too much harm to the sensibilities. Some might say that this is because of the seemingly absurd nature of the content. Nonsense translated literally might at times make just as fine a nonsense as the original!  Protesting feebly, I will leave you to judge.
Beside the Sea

When waves reflect the sun at noon
Or dance beneath the shining moon,
Beside the broad and shimmering sea,
I walk and watch and wait for thee.

When seagulls flee before the squall,
To thee, across the waves, I call.
When swells are heaving in the dark,
Thine answer comes.  I turn and hark.
But then I ask, “Is that the wind?”
So heaven tortureth those who’ve sinned.
Yet, unrepentant still, I cry,
“The gods’ commandments, I defy!”

As ants that crawl upon the land,
Can humans ever understand
The deep, the vast, the endless sea,
With all her trove of mystery?

How stormy was the sea that day,
When I saw thee go thy way.
But even when she's still, I see
Her whim hath cruelly taken thee.

By fortune met and separated,
Are those, who might perhaps have mated,
If chance and destiny had turned
And what the gods decreed had spurned.
And so, to where I last had seen thee,
On that day so gray and windy,
I return—to seek and pine,
By that shore, where thou wast mine.

At sunrise, when the air is chill,
Beside the sea, I’m walking still,
As I had been at sunset time,
With thoughts of thee—and this, my rhyme.
2015 June 21st, Mon., 6:57 pm
Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn, New York
(translated into Bengali, July 1st, Wed.)
Xagor Tire

Dupurer roder nice, rater ca~der aloe,
nace jo`khon xari xari d’heu,
ha~ti to`khon bixal, jhikmike xomudrer tire,
tomar o`pekkhae.

Xo`nkocil jo`khon palae jho`r’er theke,
to`khon tir theke d’aki tomae.
Rater o`ndhokare, d’heuer xaxer majhe,
Xuni je`no dure, tomar jo`bab.

To`be bhabi to`khon, “Ot’a ki haoa?”
Papir pir’o`n—nixt’hur debder xasti et’a!
Nachor’ ami, c~echie ut’hi tai,
“Manbo na ko`khono, tomader dabi!”

Pi~pr’er moto d’angae he~t’e be`r’ae manux.
Tara ki ko`beo bujhbe eke?
Ei gobhir, o`xim, o`par mo`haxagor?
Ei dha~dha-he~yali bho`ra mo`hol?

Jho`rer majhe gele tumi
ei xagorer buke.
Xagor jo`khon xanto, to`khon
tao to dekhi xet’a.

Je ko`pale jeta, xei ko`palei har!
Kon po`the je xanti chilo, dut’i be`lar xukh,
Janbo na go, janbo na go,
Janbo na go ta.

Ei o`kul, obiram xagorer tire,
pe-e-o, har’ie chilam tomae.
Tai to barbar axi—rate, dine.
Bhabi, tumi e`khon kothae?

Xondhe be`lae xurjo d’obe,
bhor be`late ot’he.
Dui belatei, tomar kho~je,
ha~t’i, xagor tire.

xondhe 6:57,  Xombar, 29e Jun
Grevzend’ Be, Bruklin, Niu Io`rk
(Banglae onubad, Budhbar, 1la Julai)
সাগর তীরে
দুপুরের রোদের নীচে, রাতের চাঁদের আলোয়,
নাচে যখন সারি সারি ঢেউ,
হাঁটি তখন বিশাল, ঝিক্মিকে সমুদ্রের তীরে,
তোমার অপেক্ষায়৷ 

শঙ্খচিল যখন পালায় ঝড়ের থেকে,
তখন তীর থেকে ডাকি তোমায়৷
রাতের অন্ধকারে, ঢেউ এর শ্বাসের মাঝে,
শুনি যেন দূরে, তোমার জবাব৷
তবে ভাবি তখন, "ওটা কি হাওয়া"?
পাপীর  পীড়ন—নিষ্ঠুর দেবদের শাস্তি এটা!
নাছোড় আমি, চেঁচিয়ে উঠি তাই,
"মানবো না কখনো, তোমাদের দাবি!"


পিঁপড়ের মত ডাঙায় হেঁটে বেড়ায় মানুষ৷
তারা কি কবেও বুঝবে একে?
এই গভীর, অসীম, অপার মহাসাগর?
এই ধাঁধা-হেঁয়ালি ভরা মহল?
ঝড়ের মাঝে গেলে তুমি
এই সাগরের বুকে৷
সাগর যখন শান্ত, তখন
তাও ত দেখি সেটা৷
যে কপালে জেতা, সেই কপালেই হার!
কোন পথে যে শান্তি ছিল, দুটি বেলার সুখ,
জানব না গো, জানব না গো,
জানব না গো তা৷
এই অকূল, অবিরাম সাগরের তীরে,
পেয়েও, হারিয়েছিলাম তোমায়৷
তাই ত বারবার আসি—রাতে, দিনে৷
ভাবি, তুমি এখন কোথায়?

সন্ধ্যে বেলায় সূর্য় ডোবে,
ভোর বেলাতে ওঠে৷
দুই বেলাতেই, তোমার খোঁজে,
হাঁটি, সাগর তীরে৷
সন্ধ্যে ৬:৫৭, সোমবার, ২৯এ জুন
গ্রেভ্সেণ্ড বে, ব্রুক্লিন, নিউয়র্ক
(বাংলায় অনুবাদ, বুধবার, ১লা জুলাই)

Directly below is the "machine transcription" (from
of the verses in Bengali script directly above.  A note on this machine transcription has been added at the end of the post.  I have lightly edited the transcription, as described at the start of that note.
Sāgar Tīrē

Dupurēr rōdēr nīcē, rātēr cām̐dēr ālōẏ,
nācē yakhan sāri sāri ḍhē'u,
hām̐ṭi takhan biśāl, jhikmikē samudrēr tīrē,
tōmār apēkṣāẏ.

Śaṅkhacil yakhan pālāẏ jhaṛēr thēkē,
takhan tīr thēkē ḍāki tōmāẏ.
Rātēr andhakārē, ḍhē'u ēr śbāsēr mājhē,
Śuni yēna dūrē, tōmār jabāb.

Tabē bhābi takhan, "Ōṭā ki hā'ōẏā"?
Pāpīr pīṛan—niṣṭhur dēbdēr śāsti ēṭā!
Nāchōṛ āmi, cēm̐ciẏē uṭhi tā'i,
"mānbō nā kakhanō, tōmādēr dābi!"


Pim̐pṛēr mata ḍāṅāẏ hēm̐ṭē bēṛāẏ mānuṣ.
Tārā ki kabē'ō bujhbē ēkē?
Ē'i gabhīr, asīm, apār mahāsāgar?
Ē'i dhām̐dhā-hēm̐ẏāli bharā mahal?

Jhaṛēr mājhē gēlē tumi
ē'i sāgarēr bukē.
Sāgar yakhan śānta, takhan
tā'ō ta dēkhi sēṭā.
Yē kapālē jētā, sē'i kapālē'i hār!
Kōn pathē yē śānti chila, duṭi bēlār sukh,
jānba nā gō, jānba nā gō,
jānba nā gō tā.

Ē'i akūl, abirām sāgarēr tīrē,
pēẏē'ō, hāriẏēchilām tōmāẏ.
Tā'i ta bārbār āsi—rātē, dinē.
Bhābi, tumi ēkhan kōthāẏ?

Sandhyē bēlāẏ sūrẏa ḍōbē,
bhōr bēlātē ōṭhē.
Du'i bēlātē'i, tōmār khōm̐jē,
hām̐ṭi, sāgar tīrē.

Sandhyē 6:57, Sōmbār, 29ē Jun
Grēbhsēṇḍ Bē, Bruklin, Ni'uẏark
(Bānlāẏ anubād, Budhbār, 1lā Julā'i)

Note on the "Machine Transcription"

I have lightly edited the machine transcription above, provided by the program on the server  at  I have done this mainly to delete the unnecessary short a's that should not be pronounced and to include periods and capitalization that were missed by the transcription program.

Note that the remaining short a's in this machine transcription are pronounced as a rounded vowel, intermediate in length between the vowels in standard (British) English "ball" and "pot".  In certain cases, it is rounded further and sounds like the in English "rose" (without the diphthong and having a somewhat shorter duration). The long ā (which has a bar on top in this transcription) is pronounced like the vowel in standard (British or U.S.)  English "far", but with less duration.

Although the traditional Bengali spelling (and so also the machine transcription) makes distinctions between short and long versions of the vowels i and u, these distinctions are no longer audible in standard spoken Bengali.  Hindi-Urdu and most other Indic (Indo-Aryan) languages do preserve these distinctions of vowel-length (duration), some of which go back at least to the Sanskrit, if not earlier.

With the above reservations in mind for the short and for the loss of distinction between long and short forms of i and u, the letters ā, e, i, o and u represent, in this transcription, the same vowel sounds that they do in standard Italian and Spanish.  The letters e and o are usually written, in this transcription, as their long forms, ē and ō.  Although their lengths would sound closer to long than short to an English ear, Bengali, like most Indic languages (but unlike Dravidian ones) does not distinguish between long and short forms of these two vowels.

There is also a vowel sound in Bengali that is the unrounded partner of the rounded open vowel represented by the short a.  This is like the vowel sounds in standard English "cat" and standard U.S. English "fast", being intermediate in length between the two.  However, as this vowel sound was absent in Sanskrit and might be a fairly recent development in Bengali, there is no letter in the traditional alphabet for it.

So this vowel is usually represented (inaccurately) either by an e or, for historical reasons having to do with changes in the pronunciation of Sanskrit words, by one other means involving an a or an ā followed by a special joined form of the ẏ. (See below for .)  So the machine transcription, following the traditional spelling, also does not indicate this sound properly.

(In my own Romanization scheme, I use e` to represent this sound, and o` to represent its rounded partner.)

Most of the consonant letters have the values that they most commonly have in English. But note that c has the sound represented by the (unaspirated) ch cluster of English "chum".

The letter h, when it follows a consonant, indicates aspiration--an added puff of air.
One should also note that, while the machine transcription displays all three forms (ś, ṣ and s) of the unvoiced sibilant consonant, all of these usually have the same sound in standard spoken Bengali, This is close to the sound of the English cluster sh, with the exceptions being when s precedes a dental t, th or n, or when s or ś precede the simple r.  In these cases, s and ś have the sound that s has in English "sell".  Examples of this can be heard in stiti, sthān, snān, srot and śri.

The circumflex forms of the dentals tthd, dh, n and of the basic r are indicated, in the machine transcription, by a dot below the letter: ṭ, ṭh, ḍ, ḍh, ṇ and .  However, in standard Bengali, these are all pronounced more by the tongue tip touching the upper gum ridge, as in English, than in the true circumflex way that prevails in much of the rest of the subcontinent. This is especially true in most of East Bengal, which is now Bangladesh.

This gives spoken Bengali (especially that of East Bengal) and Ahomiya, to some ears, a "softer" sound than their distant cousins to the west, such as Hindi, Marathi, Gujerati and Punjabi, and also their closer cousin, Oriya, all of which, like the Dravidian languages, make sharper distinctions between circumflex and dental stops, pronouncing the former very strongly.

The nasal is represented in the machine transcription, below, by .  This symbol indicates that the preceding vowel should be nasalized.  In standard spoken Bengali, the nasalization is faint.

(In my own Romanization,  located above, between the English original and the translation in the traditional Bengali script, I have indicated nasalization with a tilde, ~, following the vowel to be nasalized.)

The n with a dot above () usually stands for the ng sound in English "singer, song, lungs" (but at times, and almost always in the East Bengal variant of the standard pronunciation, for its sound in English "finger, anger").

For those not familiar with certain historical issues in Bengali spelling, one should point out that the Sanskrit y is pronounced, in Bengali, as is j, both having the sound of the first consonant in English "jam".  The Sanskrit w, which has migrated, in many Indic languages, into v, has changed, in Bengali and some other eastern Indic languages, into b. This w turned b is no longer pronounced when it follows a sibilant.  So śbās is pronounced as "shahsh" would be in English.

The y with a dot on top () represents cases where the change to j has not taken place (usually between vowels) or is used with a vowel to indicate certain diphthongs.  In either of these situations, this is usually sounded as a short e (as in English "net").

There are a host of other things that could be discussed, including the "vowel harmony", especially evident in the central and western dialects of Bengali.  This can strongly alter the pronunciation of a vowel, because of the presence of a succeeding vowel (even when this second vowel has now vanished, due to contractions that have occurred in the past). This is only imperfectly represented in the spelling.  But I will stop here.