Saturday, February 27, 2016

Sing the Songs of Tenderness

Sing the Songs of Tenderness

The mother whispers lullabies
To soothe her child to sleep—
For there's a time to wake and then
A time to slumber deep.

The piper leads the men to war;
The drums are beating loud.
But when the men return, we see—
Of war, they're rarely proud.

There is a time for speeding and
There is a time to slow.
Too much of one or other leads
To sorrows, more and more.

We've spent our lives in rushing and
We've fed the fires of war.
Let's sing the songs of peace, so we
Remember who we are.

We aren't only soldiers; we
Are not just worker ants.
We also need to smile, to weep,
To kiss and gently dance.

So sing the songs of gentleness;
Sing the songs of love.
Sing the songs of mellow times,
Of languor and of joy.
The profits and the wounding grow.
It's healing that we lack.
From Mars and Mammon, let us take
Our Muse and Music back..
There's grief enough to fill the world—
The wars that do not end
And all the cruelties of men
That rend our bodies, hearts.
There's separation, illness, death,
The dashing of our dreams,
The waste of labor and of lives,
The loss of treasured stores.

We do not wish to only hear
The pistons and the guns,
The screams, the paeans to the self,
The cacophonous blasts.

So keep from us the bang, the screech,
The speeding, pounding beat
And all the noise that emulates
The wars and factories.


We go to work as if to war.
The struggles never end—
For each competes with others and,
To orders, must attend.
There's little time to draw a breath
And let it out in peace—
To watch the child or kitten play,
To visit aunt or niece.

We rush about in vehicles—
In cars, in buses, trains.
How rarely can we slowly walk,
So all the madness wanes?

Why waste our time in meanness and
In giving more of pain?
Why spend our lives in earning, when
We only lose from gain?
What point is there in battles that
Destroy the heart and soul?
There's need for more of healing and
For all that makes us whole.

So sing the songs of tenderness,
Of softness and of love,
To smooth the furrowed brow awhile
And soothe the hurt within.
There's time enough for speeding, yet
There's little time to slow.
So sing the songs that slow the pace
Before it's time to go.
2016 February 27th, Sat.
Brooklyn, New York

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Cowards--Those Who Love the Lie

Cowards / Those Who Love the Lie
They might rouse you with their shouted slogans
And their marches to their bands,
Make you feel that you are special,
Living in the best of lands.
They might frighten you with warnings,
Slander you with shameless lies,
Beat you till they see surrender,
Or till light departs from eyes.
So many ways to rouse the passions,
So many means to have their way!
So many ways to scare and threaten,
To hide the truth from the light of day!
And yet, it's clear it's they who're frightened,
Even as they shout in rage,
Even as they beat and bludgeon— 
Frightened of the turning page.
For see—to east, the sun is rising
And light is dawning in the minds
Of all of those whose lives were darkened,
As all the spool of lies unwinds.

Courage then!  Be cautious, friends,
But bravely think and speak and act.
There's naught to lose that won't be taken,
And much to gain for those attacked. 

Our ones and twos, their mobs can silence
And the courts can do their will.
But when our thousands speak our minds,
Then who can stop the dawning still?

Cowards thrive the best in darkness;
Yet, a thousand times they die.
Boldly seek the truth. The risk is
Most for those who love the lie.
2016 February 23rd, Tue.
Brooklyn, New York


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Love’s Labor Lost? – II

Love’s Labor Lost? – II
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  


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Love's Labor Lost--Broverbs for Valentine's Day

Love's Labor Lost?
(Broverbs for Valentine's Day)
We can sit and scribe our verses
From now until we die,
But who, if asked to read them,
Will find a reason why?
We can sow our seeds of wisdom--
And weep, that all our toil
Was wasted, since the seedings
Were all on barren soil.
We can spend our waking lifetimes
In struggles, pay the cost
From what we left neglected,
Yet see our labors lost.
We can teach and we can nurture;
We can fuss, as carers must.
We can build, with patience, structures--
And see them turn to dust.
So when we're in the twilight,
With darkness drawing near,
We then might slow from slaving
And pause to shed a tear.
But then it's time to wipe it
And wistfully to smile,
For if, with heart, we labored,
It was surely worth our while.
And if some satisfaction,
Some pleasure in the task,
For a year or for an instant,
Was ours--what's left to ask?
Let's leave what's past to others,
And what's to come to fate.
The present time is precious
And not for waste in hate.
There's joy in our creations,
However small they be.
We bring them through gestations
And then we set them free.
Like children, they may flourish.
Like seedlings, they may die.
How many are our hatchlings--
How few will live to fly?
We seek for recognition.
A smidgen should suffice.
We warm our hands with praises--
For soon, we'll meet with ice.
Our children may be stolen.
With broken hearts, we cry.
But if we know they're tended,
With souls content, we die.
We labor for the joy of it.
We labor for our bread.
We labor for the smile we get,
From duty and from dread.
And when we shirk our labor,
We're often in torment.
Some say they live for pleasure,
Yet rarely are content.
Our lives are often muddles.
What hubris, then, to say
It's pleasure, love or duty
Or work that clears the way.
We can live for just this instant;
We can live for what we lost;
We can live to build the future.
In each, there's always cost.
And those, who're truly humble,
Of their virtues, might be proud,
But equally, of those failings
That they rarely speak of loud.
For those, who see no failings
In themselves, are surely blind,
And those, who see them clearest,
Are souls of deepest mind.
A vice that's partly conquered
Is like a foe defeated;
It's best to leave it extant,
Lest hubris be repeated.
The greatest pride of humans,
We're told, is that of pride.
Yet pride, in honest labor,
Is a lion each can ride.

In all things, there's a balance;
There's yang that waits in yin.
Too little--and we're tortured;
Too much--and we're in sin.
What's savored best at leisure
Is rarely sensed in haste.
Who never knows of hunger,
Can scarcely know of taste.

So too, a length of failure
Lends flavor to success.
And each is best, not scanty
But neither in excess.
Let's take what we are given--
And that, with gratitude.
Why pine for what was owed us?
We owe, in plenitude.
2016 February 14th, Sun.
Brooklyn, New York

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Left to Be

Left to Be

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.

2016 February 9th, Tue.
Brooklyn, New York

Sunday, February 7, 2016


I had ventured out, on errands,
On a sunlit winter day,
And the curbside snow had melted
As I walked upon my way.
And turning ‘round a corner,
Of a sudden, I could hear
Some little birds conversing,
With loud and spring-like cheer.

The sparrows all were talking
As they sat upon their trees.
They gossiped, as they chattered
In their speech of chirps and tweets.

And I, who had been walking,
Alone, except for thoughts,
Had heard their pulsing twitter—
As if of ones and naughts.
But this was ancient nature—
And yet forever young,
Not digits coldly streaming—
But notes, with ardor sung.
And so I stopped and listened
And wondered what was said—
As I’d done with hieroglyphics
In books I once had read.
Of what were they then talking
Upon that winter day?
I stood awhile in sunshine
And went upon my way.

I walked along the streets then
And I heard the pigeons call,
As the sparrows flew from branches
To the streets, as leaves might fall.

But then, unlike the leaflets,
They would hasten back on high.
For all the sparrows' actions,
There are surely reasons why.

Their time to live is shorter;
They move at faster speed.
They notice things that humans
Might rarely know to heed.

And so they swooped and darted.
They chirped; they tweeted, trilled—
At all of which, the pigeons
Were not the least bit thrilled.

But some of these were cooing,
As if the spring was here.
They bobbed their heads and strutted,
And flew when I got near.

So all around was chatter.
The birds were giving voice
To things, perhaps, that matter—
Of weather or of choice.
So humans might have spoken,
When gathered by a stream,
Of what they’d hunted, gathered
Or what they’d chanced to dream.
The sun had brought the pigeons
And the sparrows out that day.
And I, for one, was lucky
To hear their serenades.
Or so I could imagine,
Although it wasn’t me
To whom the birds were calling,
From pavement, roof and tree.
And then, the skies grew cloudy.
I heard the birdsong fade.
The pigeons ceased their cooing;
The sparrows flew away.
I shivered, as the winter
Sent winds to chill my chest.
It’s time, I thought, for turning
Towards home—and warmth and rest.

I’d ventured, sad and lonely,
To brave the winter’s cold,
To carry out my errands,
Though weary, sore and old.

I hurried through those errands
And then, enlivened, back.
The birds, to me, had given
The company I’d lacked.
2016 February 7th, Sun
Brooklyn, New York

Friday, February 5, 2016



We can long for what’s no longer.
We can pine for loves we’ve lost.
We can wish we were with kinsfolk
Or friends we had when young.

We can love our native country.
We can miss its speech and song.
We can yearn, when we’re in exile,
To be back where we belong.

And then, upon returning,
And seeing a nephew smile,
Within our native city,
We might rejoice a while.

But then there are the conflicts
That even roil one’s clan.
And we learn of crime, corruption—
So we’re back where we began.

Yet we see that all is changing—
That nothing’s ever still.
For some, the change is better,
For more, it’s more of ill.

The fantasy that distance
And time created goes.
We’re in our native country
And it still is full of woes.

For those like us who left it
And never could return,
Such thoughts arise in dreaming
And then we wake and turn.

2016 February 5th, Fri, 6:51 am
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York
Related posts:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


For Roman transcriptions and a "free translation" into English, in tabular format, set side-by-side with the original in Bengali script, please see:`bujh--tabular.html

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,
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

Please see/hear also:`bujh--tabular.html

Tuesday, February 2, 2016



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.

2016 February 2nd, Tue.
Brooklyn, New York

Monday, February 1, 2016

Diamonds in the Dirt

Diamonds in the Dirt

Partake, if you wish, of these helpings of verse
That have in them bitches and ditches and worse.
But know, if you do, that the whispers of witches
Will bother you so, that you'll holler and curse.

So now that you're warned of what you ingest,
You can nibble or gobble and seek to digest
These stanzas that follow, with horrors for rhymes,
While giggling and hoping they're only in jest.

But wait! If you giggle for long, you should know
That giggling can lead to a death that is slow
And is painful—which surely is also called "life".
So read, if you must, till you can't any more!

We have visits, when dozing or when we're alert,
From demons and muses. Some often are curt.
But others can drone till we wish they would leave,
So then we can scrabble for diamonds in the dirt.

2016  February 1st, Mon. evening
Brooklyn, New York

We Went to War in the Morning

We Went to War in the Morning

We Went to War in the Morning

We saw the sun was sinking
Towards  our planet’s west.
We were soldiers, tired and seeking
For a place in which to rest.

It was evening, when we struggled
To hide ourselves within
A ditch, all wet and muddy—
And dark—like clinging sin.

We were woken, in the nighttime,
By the crying of a bitch
And then the cries of puppies,
As we hid within the ditch.

We cursed then at those puppies
And at that bitch that cried.
We tried to sleep but couldn’t,
Until that crying died.

We could see, where clouds had parted,
The stars that shone on high.
We saw those stars were shining
And hoped we would not die.


We went to war in the morning.
We went to war at dawn.
When the sun had not yet risen,
We'd woken and we’d gone.

We'd left behind the puppies,
We'd left the dying bitch.
We'd heard a stray pup crying,
Who’d fallen in that ditch.

But we were off to battle.
So who had time to spare
For her, that dying mother,
Or could, for puppies, care?
And when the day was over—
How many mothers dead?
How many children dying—
Or better killed instead?

We wake, when day is breaking.
In time, we sleep again.
We're born to go to battle,
To give and take of pain.

We then had followed orders
Or fought like devils might.
We’d lived in death and dying,
In horror and in fright.

We'd seen the sun at noontime,
We’d seen it blazing bright.
We’d seen, through squinting eyelids,
A planet filled with light.

We’d heard the cries, the shrieking.
We’d heard the boom, the roar.
But then there came a silence
That told us what’s in store.

We saw the sun to westward.
We saw it sink and go.
And where we next were going,
By then, we’d come to know.

We’d seen the elders burning.
We’d seen the children burn.
We felt the planet turning
And knew it was our turn.


We’d seen the sun arising,
We’d seen the sun on high.
And as that sun was sinking,
We  knew that we would die.

And so, as shadows lengthened
And someone softly cried,
We struggled still to live then,
As one by one we died.

And who would find salvation
And who would end in hell,
That evening, after sunset,
It was hard for us to tell.

We're born, it seems, to suffer.
We're born to die in pain.
We rise, to join the rushing,
Till time to slow again.

We went to war on our planet.
We went to war at dawn.
But when the day had ended,
What planet were we on?

2016 February 1st, Mon. morning
Brooklyn, New York