Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Soft and gentle was that music,
Soothing to the souls who’d sinned,
Healing to the ones they’d wounded,
Like a whisper in the wind.

Faint and fading though it sounded,
Seeming close, yet seeming far,
Yet it still was soothing, healing,
After all the sounds of war.

Whence this music of the angels,
Floating in the summer breeze?
Who were they, who made that music,
Setting tortured souls to ease?

So we wondered, while that music
Lasted, captured by its art.
How and why this blessing, fashioned
So to touch and heal the heart?

Just as it had risen, softly,
So it ebbed and then was gone.
Years have passed, and yet within
Our minds it still is playing on.

Some have said it was a mitzvah,
A message from a source divine.
All I know was that I heard it,
And it now is yours and mine.

If a human hand had made it,
Guided by a gentler god,
Then I thank the maker for it,
And I’m grateful for that god.

2016 April 20th, Tue. 
Brooklyn, New York 

Yemenite Jew blowing the shofar (ram's horn), circa 1935
U.S. Library of Congress archives

Boy playing flute, Peru
Werner Bischof
Yemenite Jews studying the Torah in Sana'a, Yemen

Sitting Buddha

Monday, April 18, 2016

Phirbe Na Go—ফিরবে না গো—Could Words Bring Back?

My niece, Malini  Chakravarty,  had posted, on Facebook, these lines from a Bob Dylan song:

"And take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time
Far past the frozen leaves
The haunted frightened trees
Out to the windy bench
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky
With one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea
Circled by the circus sands
With all memory of fate
Driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow"
At an antipode to that intoxication and revelation in the turbulence of youth, I came upon this hangover and realization in the doldrums of age:  *

Phirbe Na Go

Chot'obe`lar khe`lae ami mo`tto chilam jo`khon,
Jantam ki ei xexer diner dukkho ami to`khon?
Bur'o belae ut'hi e`khon, diner alo dekhi.
Mone po`r'e ko`to ko`tha, bhabi boxe likhi.
Ho`e na lekha. Jibon srote bhexe ge`lo ja,
Jo`toi likhi, phirbe na go kono mo`te ta.

xo`kal 4:19, 18-oi Epril, 2016 khri.
Bruklin, Niu Io`rk


To hear the audio recording in Google' Chrome browser:
 1) first, click the triangular play button on the right, above;
 2 then click  either
   a) that button again to play the audio in the background (on this page); 
   b) or the rectangular button on the left, above, for audio at the Vocaroo site.
The procedure in other browsers might be slightly different.
Vocaroo:  Record music and voice >>
* For a brief explanation of the Roman transcription scheme used above (and a guide to the pronunciation), please see:

The version in the traditional Bengali script is directly below.  A translation into English follows--at the bottom of this post.  The translation is fairly literal, except that the last sentence has been changed into a question.


ফিরবে না গো

ছোটবেলার খেলায় আমি মত্ত ছিলাম যখন,
জানতাম কি এই শেষের দিনের দুঃখ আমি তখন?
বুড়ো বেলায় উঠি এখন, দিনের আলো দেখি৷
মনে পড়ে কত কথা, ভাবি বসে লিখি৷
হয় ন লেখা৷ জীবন স্রোতে ভেসে গেল যা,
যতই লিখি, ফিরবে না গো কোনো মতে তা৷

সকাল ৪:১৯, ১৮ ই এপ্রিল, ২০১৬ খ্রি
ব্রুক্লিন, নিউয়র্ক
2016 April 18th, 4:19 am
Brooklyn, New York
Could Words Bring Back?

When I was busy with my childhood games,
What did I know of the woes of age?
Now, when I wake to the light of the day,
There are things I remember that I think I should write.
They never are written. But could words ever bring
The return of the things that have floated away?

translation added:

2016 May 13th, Fri
Brooklyn, New York