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Jibanananda Das

(17 February 1899 – 22 October 1954 / Barisal / Bangladesh)

A Magpie


At a slightly slothful pace
A silent man quietly walks across the meadows
His autumn passes by mostly propped on two legs
With a mouthful of still shadow of a plough and ox.

To his own water, the Bhagirathi is a close relative.
He responds to none from his secret den.
A magpie robin whistles out of mind-
cold from the earth's last afternoon

perched on the roof of a post-mortem cell.
Whose corpse was it? Who dissected?
Why the world today bleeds so much?
The violin goes on playing the chorus.

Twilight though, the rustic man walks as if basking in the sun
Nonexistent, yet a woman becomes visible.
When the magpie blows away the dissected corpse
I can feel the advent of a primordial magpie.

[Translated by Faizul Latif Chowdhury]

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2009
Edited: Thursday, March 15, 2012

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