How many poets, in how many tongues,
Have written verses, squeezing into lines,
That fit within a page, the wisdom, grief
Regret and joy they'd gathered, each, through lives
That soon would end? How few are known today?
How many precious notebooks thrown away?
How many theses, labored on for years,
Reside in folders, doomed to dust, decay?
How many painters never sold a piece?
How many Einsteins couldn't get their chance?
How much of labor and of beauty lost?
How much of truth that never saw the day?
And yet—a labor is its own reward:
A poem or a a painting, done, fulfills
A need no praise or payment ever can.
A shelter, in an attic or a ditch,
From all the ravages of peace and war—
Plus time—are all a being asks for this.
A parent or a teacher, nurse or aide
Can spend a life in caring and in toil.
The worker in the mine or factory,
The peasant who must labor for his lord,
For all their work, receive a recompense
That rarely matches what the labor's worth.
What enterprise or government could do
Without the labor that the beings do—
Employed, enslaved or doing of their own
What can't be set to rules or supervised
Without reducing it to lifeless form—
The labor of the dead that's dull and dark.
The spirit that is calling us to work—
Be this to feed ourselves or far beyond—
It functions, in constraints, in spite of these.
But those who seek to tame it never will,
For it's by nature wild. It lets us give
What can't be got by pay or punishment.
2016 February 21st, Sun. 4:47 am Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York --------------------------------------------------------- Related:
How much of pain and suffering can living things endure?
How much of harsh injustice can our fellow humans bear?
The cruelties surround us, yet we seem to be immured.
Perhaps we could not bear them, if we cared to see and hear.
We each have our survival and the cares of those we feed.
But even one, who’s lucky and has leisure, rarely pauses
To listen and to look with care, to read and understand.
So rarely does he correlate effects with hidden causes.
It never will be governments—except for just awhile—
Or financiers who will provide the things that beings need.
They must procure these by themselves, together and alone.
They can, if they are left to be—not mauled by fear and greed.
Though Nature can be cruel, as it also can be giving,
The structures that we’ve built that prey on us are clearly worse.
They’re hard enough, though still with joys—our journeys, each, of living,
Without enslavements, gilt or not. With that, I’ll end my verse.
That site also has a literal translation that preserves the syntax of Bengali, and a link to an audio-recording. That recording should be useful to those who do not know Bengali but are interested in at least knowing how it sounds, as well as to those who are learning the language. -- Arjun
কোথার থেকে এসেছিলি, কোথায় চলে গেলি, সারা জীবন ভেবেও আমি বুঝব না ক তা৷ আমিও যাব, তোর-ই মতন৷ রইবে বাকি ছাই৷ বলবে, যারা জানত আমায়, ‘বিদায় নিল, ভাই৷’ রাস্তা দিয়ে হাঁটি যখন, শহর-পাড়াগাঁয়, দূর থেকে তোর মুখটা দেখি, চেঁচিয়ে উঠি প্রায়৷ কাছে এসে দেখি যখন, বুঝি অন্য কেও৷ কত বছর বাদেও, তোকে মরীচিকায় দেখি৷ যাব যখন দেহ ছেড়ে, রইব কি আর ‘আমি’? রইব জানি অবুঝ তখন, যেমনি এখন আছি৷ বুধবার, ৩রা ফেব্রুয়ারি, ২০১৬ খ্রি ব্রুক্লিন, নিউয়র্ক
He goes among the tribes in the forests.
He goes among the tribesmen in the hills.
He sees the things they make and what they do.
He gazes out from mountaintops. He sees
The mists that rise when touched by morning sun.
He tastes of beauty. He is gentled by
The lullabies that mothers sing, by children's smiles.
He walks among the tribes in forests, hills.
And there he finds again his innocence.
But even in the city's wilderness,
Where strangers rush by strangers, shunning eyes,
He finds the ones who nurture innocence,
And those who still are gentle, slow and kind,
Who speak in cadences that hesitate,
Who turn to beauty in the ugliness,
Who still can breathe in calm and live in grace.