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Sankha Ghosh


For a long time I have been searching for an apartment
in my heart.
Some day I will be washed away in a flood of joy.

Have I found one ?

I have already found an apartment
in my heart :
But I want one out there in the world.

Translated by Sandip Sarkar

My Aunt

She left behind her room, her house, her backyard,
            she gently released her grip.
     With wet bare feet she crossed
                the bridge on the canal
                       and disappeared.

On the ground feathers lay,
            but no one knows where she went.

Translated by Sandip Sarkar

The Storm of Desire

In this hovering soundless solitude,
In the abundant lonesome winds of this dark evening,
You turn up
your white pale face
cold as a cloud, lightless like the moon
towards the enormous sky.

From a far-away land I tremble
with the unbearable agony of desire---
Bunched around your white stone of a face
thin wisps of hair tremble
in the dark wind
like so many fingers extended
in pain, in prayer.

The corner of the sky grows heavy
with clustering clouds,---
Flashes of longing tear through
with repeated ferocity,
Tidal waves of love seeking to burst forth
in tremendous ecstasy, agitate
the unbounded distances within the darkness,
the sombre complexion of a reflective unmoving land.
You turn up your face
cold as a cloud, lightless like the moon,
your breasts are like undulations of a land
that has wept itself to weary stillness
you stretch out your anxious wasted arms--- long-expectant,
prayer-tired, towards that furious enormous sky---

Around them cluster darkness,
wisps of hair,
a thousand musical notes,
in the boundless lonesome winds.

Slowly creation reaches readiness:
As if in one terrible blessedly-sweet moment,
the clouds of its desire break forth
in bolts of unbearable thunder piercing the middle
of your outspread breast, eager, upturned,
towards the total bliss of union---
Then, banishing all rubbish
from this wet dishevelled tumbledown world
a beautiful cool caressing

Translated by Nandini Gupta


Heartily I live, you'll find,
In a world of impostors, blind.

I touch him or her and say,
'Why turn this way, that way?

Throw off once your shroud,
Laugh out reckless, loud.'

They who hear me, cry,
'Who the devil's this spy?'

Even that kid from school,
Shaking his fingers cries 'Fool!'

Fool I've been since then,
Near Shyambazar, my den.

Translated by Nandini Gupta

White Tombstones

That night as I turned homewards,
in the heart of the city
scores and scores of nameless tombstones broke through the mist;

at first they seemed
to be rows and rows of kneeling nuns,---unmoving,
crystallised in prayer;

in the winter breeze
the world trembled guilt-laden to the fragrance
of the eucalyptus;

but then
the mist became a wall,
prayer turned to reproach, of those white stones,

smooth, epitaphless; as
I turned homewards.

Translated by Nandini Gupta

At the Bend

Today, it is not for me to speak,
yet, let me say:
Here I stand at the bend of the road,

before me
the long trunk shorn of its branches
cold and silent,

within the crevices of its ageing bark
the capitulations of many decades,

also, possibly,
the memories of having sheltered some,
the rise and the fall of the axe;

the sounds and prints of the many footsteps fading
towards the Ganga

leave me here,
age-wrecked, blind and

Translated by Nandini Gupta

The Holy

Here I lie at the crematorium. Tell them
Such rowdiness does not befit
The building of a pyre.

They, at my head, my feet, beside me,
Are all your serfs.
Tell them.

Tell them to let the infinite step on my chest
And let down her calf-length hair,
The stars blazing in her crown. Let them flee

And, from the unnamed skull-strung necklace
Let drip, let the holy drip,
on my cold face,
cold breast.

Translated by Nandini Gupta


On rare occasions we become profoundly intimate.
Afterwards no meeting for ages, no living relatedness,
not even touching, caressing. Yet, granting this
I beg you to accept, as spontaneous, unbidden:
we are all physical cripples in our intimacy;
yet come closer, for together we make a sturdy configuration.

Flocks of cranes are scattered
all over the fields like pieces of unstained glass.
Before taking flight
they will cluster together.

I watch them intently ; once released
they will coalesce into totality.
Less that should happen, I capture them
in my net at break of day.

Translated by Bharati Banerjee

I Take Refuge in the Buddha

At the very spot where James Meredith lies bullet-hit
Comedian Dick Gregory starts from there,
There he goes, why do we then
Die inside the house?
-- Negroes, we are Negroes.

The protest altar spreads over ten miles of street,
Flying flags of the Buddha,
Manís name fructifies in the life-blood of female mendicants;
Calcutta is in Vietnam --
The road is very long.

O Person! You are unique, thatís why you live,
Your death merges like a river with the Sun,
Mixing water with the Sun by mistake
The blood-letting continues --
A person is merely an idol.

Translated by Oneil Biswas

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