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:
- 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 http://thedailypoet.blogspot.com/2014/02/bharot-xadhin-indias-freedom.html ;
- secondly, in the beautiful traditional Bengali script, attempting to reproduce the the standard spelling;
- and finally, in the Roman transcription (which I will refer to as the "machine transcription") provided by the software program at http://google.com/translate. A note on this transcription can be found at the very end of the current post.
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.)
Dupurer roder nice, rater ca~der aloe,
nace jo`khon xari xari d’heu,
ha~ti to`khon bixal, jhikmike xomudrer tire,
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)
দুপুরের রোদের নীচে, রাতের চাঁদের আলোয়,
নাচে যখন সারি সারি ঢেউ,
হাঁটি তখন বিশাল, ঝিক্মিকে সমুদ্রের তীরে,
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 http://google.com/translate)
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.
Dupurēr rōdēr nīcē, rātēr cām̐dēr ālōẏ,
nācē yakhan sāri sāri ḍhē'u,
hām̐ṭi takhan biśāl, jhikmikē samudrēr tīrē,
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 http://google.com/translate. 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 o 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 a 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 ẏ.) 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.
The circumflex forms of the dentals t, th, d, 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 ṛ. 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 m̐. 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 (ṅ) 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 (ẏ) 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 ẏ 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.