Translated from Bengali by Professor Fakrul Alam
Jibananada Das (1899-1954) was a Bengali writer, who now is named as one of the greats. During his life he wrote beautiful poetry, novels, essays and more. He believed: “Poetry and life are two different outpouring of the same thing; life as we usually conceive it contains what we normally accept as reality, but the spectacle of this incoherent and disorderly life can satisfy neither the poet’s talent nor the reader’s imagination … poetry does not contain a complete reconstruction of what we call reality; we have entered a new world.”
ONE DAY IN THE FOG... (“Akdin Kuashai” from Ruposhi Bangla) I well know a day will come when you won’t find me in this foggy field Having ended its walks, the heart will move on to a silent, icy room then Or perhaps it will be a while before it can be consoled. It may take time For it to forget this earthly field. In astonishment, I’ll keep looking At the shaliks of the field from my bed in darkness. Will golden eagles Still unfurl their wings and waft their way to this fog-filled field from afar? To this day they head for bare ashwath branches as evening turns golden. While through the soft rice stalks field mice still keep looking at the stars As evening descends. Do bees still not build hives in intense dense darkness? Having their fill of honey, don’t they fly away in the foggy, evening wind? So far they must fly to, alas…or perhaps hemmed by chalta leaves Some get trapped under hives. The flies fly away…drop… die in the grass—.
Fakrul Alam is an academic, translator and writer from Bangladesh. He has translated works of Jibanananda Das and Rabindranath Tagore into English and is the recipient of Bangla Academy Literary Award (2012) for translation and SAARC Literary Award (2012).