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Sunil Gangopadhyay


Neera, sometimes, it seems
you are more distant
than even the day I was born.
You walk alone --
in the autumn-woods.
The rustle of leaves
under your tender feet,
fill the air!
The mountains, sloped like a bullock's neck
meet the horizon,
and the evening sun
resounding its victory-cymbals
sets behind those hills.
All these, Neera, seem more distant
than even the day I was born.

Sometimes, when I've looked at the sky,
I've seen a dying star.
I feel a shiver in my heart,
my eyes come down to the earth
and to the world all around.
At those times, Neera,
I feel a strong desire
to fight all that is born to die!
I wish to place the flag of the Heavens
in your almond-hued palm,
and tell the whole world,
that the ray of mystical light
falling on your chin,
shall stay arrested, forever.
At that moment,
in the distant leafstrewn woods,
I see your enigmatic smile!

You know Neera,
that the white pigeons that fly in the evening sky,
even they are obscured by darkness!
like the light of our eyes,
and like all worldly sorrows!
It's only the misery of man
that stretches beyond his lifetime.

Translated by Sheila Sengupta

A Truth Bound Sentiment

This hand has touched Neera's face,
could I use this hand to commit a sin,
ever again?
In the late evening glow
swathing the hanging balcony,
a 'daring' light had fallen on her face,
and like a telegram,
had instantly revealed Neera's grace!
A hint of a smile had merged
on her brows and eyes,
or was it the shine of mica-fines?
At such times,
I so long to call that lady, just a 'babe'.
I raise my right hand
and with my muscles flexed,
I whisper to myself --
'Be worthy of her,
Be worthy and rise'
I touch Neera's chin --
This hand has touched Neera's face,
could I use this hand to commit a sin,
ever again?

These lips have told Neera,
'I love you', once,
could a deceit play on these lips
ever again?
Coming down the steps
I remember, all of a sudden,
that the most important words
were yet to be said!
A breeze from the alien shores
would one day, soon,
carry this lady away
as nimble and graceful as a swan!
And the stairs would all give way
to the surge of a sudden quake!
I stop,
and look deep into Neera's eyes ...
I realize,
love is such an ardent pledge,
a deep emotional bondage,
and a sentiment bound in truth.
My eyes begin to burn ...
standing on the steps,
these lips had told Neera,
'I love you', once,
could a deceit play on these lips,
ever again?

Translated by Sheila Sengupta

This Hand Has Touched

This golden figurine--- oh dear, will she ceaselessly crumble away,
In the night , in the sun, in the rain in the arms of another man?
Her nipples two bared switches,--- switches? Hands tremble at their touch.
This hand has touched worms, pillows bound to chest, blood,
In a greedless drowning to death in the blood's mucus,
This hand has touched the shriek of tearless eyes
This hand has touched
This hand
A tunnel-like alley--- running through it lightning-fast,
small change clutched....sounds of boots behind, a cigarette
in the sleeping mirror's mouth, this hand!

No steam builds in my heart. Yet,
we meet in the darkness of a mist, eyes flash
like a gold coin hid in an ancient chest.
The nipples two bared switches, hands tremble at their touch,
Even this hand!

There are some billion doctors on this earth.
Like Parashuram I shall kill them all
and wake to life in a pool of their blood.
Moonlight, like shadows of trees.
Within it none alive. Anymore.
Trees under the sky. Darkness, leaves bunch.
A stream within the leaves.
Within the stream's every vein cruelty;
For the present, cruelty gathers her aachal away and says,
There are the lights, my cousin waiting at the gate, I have to go now....

Go, but never again alone in the dark
turn your neck to me, go, I shall for long
stand in watch here and hold the dogs at bay,
go today without fear, but never again. Today,
go without fear. I shall stand in watch.

Translated by Nandini Gupta

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