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Bishnu Dey


Wipe out the sky tonight,
Smear darkness on the stars,
Blot out the moon in the slough of sleeplessness.
Cover your eyes and come
Through the web of the wind,
Drown the noise
Of the strides of the night-veiled sea
To take my breath away
At each your soundless footfall.
In the quiet-quelled night
Let us meet mouth to mouth
Upon the summit of sleeplessness.
Shatter your world, scatter it in the sky,
And come to me in the dark.

The Alien

On either side the woods, in the middle the road
Gleamingly goes winding as nature beats the tune.
In the night-light, every now and then eyes glow,
young rabbits jump across dancing.
I have seen in the palasha bushes on rounded hillocks
Wild peacocks' Kathak in sudden joy,
By the shady tent on the golden sitar of the stream
I have counterpointed its grace.
They come in silence to the riverbank and lap their drink
I've heard the fawn-call of the Sindhumuni.
There goes the panther in greedy violent steps
Rousing the entire Kathakali temple of wild life
Where are the woods gone? Yet there are no settlements,
Only the bare plains, only the howl of the dry wind.
The jungles all cleared off, the villages dead, the critics
yet to be founded and the peacocks stuffed into commodities
Why in this land is man dumb and helpless?
Why are rivers, trees, hills so unimportant?
How long do we run about carrying our tents?
When does the alien set up his own home?

Translated by the poet


I am not your Pururoba! Hey, Urboshi,
A realm I erected here at mortal Aloka
Ephemeral, no doubt, inspired by my senses.
Come; won’t you join me here?
Unfurling the enthrallment the Kodombo offers.
Stay a while there,
The endless invitations your physique offers.
Bereft of time – won’t you stay a while,
In the fleeting moment of mirth
In the darkness of sky's colloquium
Burn, burn my body - the one lit by nudity
In cadence, brightened by Dewali.
Urboshi, won't you stay through the night?
Million stars would lit up the sky
in the deafness of night's silence.
As if, engulfed by Rahu,
Won’t you stay enveloped in my arms?
Much the same as earth's nymph,
Your tremulous figure quivers in awe filled with modesty!
I am not your Pururoba! Hey, Urboshi,
The endless lovemaking, which I lust for
Thus, I latch onto earth-sky,
Our love is like a rainbow;
that is all what matters to me.

Translated by A.H. Jaffor Ullah

Notes : Urboshi is the chief dancer of the heaven celebrated for her ageless youth and undying beauty. Pururoba was the King who rescued Urboshi from demons. Aloka is the kingdom of Kuvera, supposedly near Manosaravar in the High Himalaya. Kodombo flower blooms in monsoon season; a favorite of Krishna. Dewali, the festival of light celebrated on the day of new moon in the month of Kartik to honor Krishna who killed a demon to save the earth. Rahu is a truncated demon; an evil influence.

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