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Subhash Mukhopadhyay

Let Me Never See

Under the sky's cataract-blinded eyes
where ancient darkness stoops

its head sagging to its knees
a walking stick in its hand

All through the night
and through the day
where only drip drop

drip drop
leaves fall on the ground

Like a steam-boat's rating
where memory all the time
sounds with a line
life's water's depth

I know
the icy winds of winter
will one day
push me over there

Earth, let me never
see the face
of that day

Before that happens
please tie my eyes
to my two feet
like a pair of anklets

At Day's End

Flooding the western sky with a pool of blood,
like a highwayman
glaring at passersby,
to his own camp retreated
the Sun.
Long after,
for an investigation on the spot
to twist day into night,
as in a black police-van,
the evening.
And as soon as light was switched on
from window,
jumped out
the darkness.
No sooner had I drawn the curtain aside
than, like a frightened deer,
embraced me suddenly
the wind.

Translated by Shibdas Bannerji

Whether Flowers Bloom Or Not

Whether flowers bloom or not
its spring today

On the paved footpath
with feet dipped in stone
a rather wooden tree
laughs out loud
chest bursting with fresh green leaves
Whether flowers bloom or not
its spring today.

The days of masking the sun
and then unmasking it
of laying people down in the lap of death
of picking them up again
those days that have passed this way
let them not return
That lad of many voices
who for a coin or two
would chirp like a koel down the street
in the ceremonial yellow of twilight
those days have taken him away

With the sky like a red and yellow wedding invitation
on her head
clasping the railing to her breast
a dark and ugly unwed girl down this alley
played with such idle thoughts
Right then
there fluttered in, shamelessly, right onto her body,
oh damnation! A stupid, awful, foolish butterfly!*
Then the sound of a door slamming shut.
Hiding his face in the dark
that sinewy tree
was still laughing.

Translated by Antara Dev Sen

The Stride

Standing on one leg, arms reaching up
hair piled high in unkempt yogi knots
a tree peers down
and the more he sees the more he is amazed
The woman who goes door to door
baby on her hip
washing dishes
and at night
sleeps on a mat under a tree
the woman discarded by her husband
disdained even by death
Oh how shameful!
Shes pregnant again.
At the water tap
to cover up that shame
he toddles up carefully
to hand his mother the tattered sari
a tiny life crowned by shame
why, just the other day
he used to crawl on the pavement!
Which means
On this earth
one more pair of eyes
one more head held high
arms like the wings of a bird
swinging on either side
will stride through
feet firmly on the ground
Standing on one leg
forever in the same spot
the tree
with arms outstretched and hair in
yogi knots
peers down
and the more he sees the more he is amazed

Translated by Antara Dev Sen


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