Written in May 1914, Tomar Shonkho Dhulay Porey (Your Conch lies in the Dust) was a part of Tagore’s poetry collection called Balaka (A flight of Swans, 1916).
How will I endure Your conch fallen in the dust? At this dreaded juncture, The breeze and light stop — stunned. Come fight with your flag, be strong. Sing out loud if you have a song. If you want to walk, walk along. Come forward, fearless, The conch of valour lies long In the dust, listless. I was going to pray with an offering of flowers. After toiling the whole day, I yearn for peaceful bowers. I had thought my wounded heart Would be a thing of the past. Washed, I would at last, Emerge unbruised, untouched. I saw again in the path Your great conch lying in the dust. Is this the lamp lit for orisons? Are these my dusk’s recourse? Is this red jaba* garland woven? Oh, for the chaste tuberose! I had hoped we could resolve, Our differences, dissolve The debts, sort, solve; Have the numbers accounted. And then, I heard the call-- Your conch resounded. Wake us with the elixir Of eternal youthfulness. Like a lamp, let your raga stir, Illuminate with blissfulness. Let the darkness fly, Celebrations reverberate in the sky. Chase the gloom away by Terrorising it to distant lands. We will hold your conch high Today with our two hands. I know sleep will not reign In my eyes any more. I know arrows will rain On my chest galore. Some will join us, weep Or breathe deep, Nightmares will chase sleep Away from cots. Today, joy will sweep To your great conch calls. I found myself shamed When I sought comfort from you. Now, adorn all of us with coats of mail And weapons of war anew. We will not flinch or bolt Under any kind of assault. Even if my heart vaults In grief, victory will still flow unstaunched. Our strength will be forged With the fearless call of your conch. *Hibiscus
This poem has been translated by Mitali Chakravarty with editorial input from Sohana Manzoor & Anasuya Bhar.
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