Jibanananda Das (17 February 1899 – 22 October 1954 / Barisal / Bangladesh)
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?
Translated by Faizul Latif Chowdhury
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