Sunday, February 16, 2020

Inam Hussain Mullick writes

"at night I roam with Jibanananda"

at night
I roam with Jibanananda

(my feline malaise)

touching the fabric of a melancholy tune

I catapult a word
to its destiny

my heart
is an Eskimo

I need an audience
for my madness

all we have is this operatic winter night. 
 The most widely used portrait of Jibanananda Das (date unknown)

1 comment:

  1. Jībanānanda Das was a 20th-century poet, novelist, and essayist from what eventually became Bangladesh. Popularly called "Rupashi Banglar Kabi" (Poet of Beautiful Bengal), he is the most read Bengali poet after Rabindranath Tagore and Nazrul Islam. He published his 1st poem anaonymously (as "Sri," an honorific)in 1919, the year he graduated from college. Though a prolific writer he published little (only 7 volumes, containing 162 poems, during his lifetime), but left behind 21 unpublished novels and 108 short stories, as well as 107 other poems. He taught at many colleges but never achieved tenure. Though he became one of his generation's most admired poets in his last years, in 1954 he apparently killed himself at 55 by allowing himself to be struck by a tramcar in Kolkata. Allen Ginsburg noted: "One poet now dead, killed near his fiftieth year ... did introduce what for India would be "the modern spirit" – bitterness, self-doubt, sex, street diction, personal confession, frankness, Calcutta beggars etc – into Bengali letters."

    Here is Faizul Latif Chowdhury's translation of the poet's "Along the Tram Line":

    I walk along the tram line: night now deep
    I hear the teasing of some life of the past:
    "You are like a broken tram -—
    there is no depot, you don’t need wage
    Alas, when has this occurred!"
    That old life sinks behind
    The star in the sky, in darkness.

    Which way to go? The quiet city has not answer.
    She is just spread over,
    Like the God of the believer.

    I bury my face in her lap -— I want to
    believe, I wish
    If my soul could walk away leaving
    Aside the city avenues.

    Light from the gas lamps beacons
    At the entrance of the saddened lanes
    They resonate with Sankha’s wailing cries
    I know them -— like me they also know everything
    That’s why so much dark, tired, cold
    All these lanes.

    Yet they do not move -- lost in
    slumber, behind the stars
    they take a break.
    Who else will offer a recess?


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