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Fire Air Water

Fire air water: the primitive deities in their snakish humor
Blessed you with beauty-
What a horrible solitary beauty they blessed you with;
And cursed the men in touch with you with the lust of flies.

Fire air water: the primitive deities in their punning humor
Pour passion on me to produce poetry:
As though I am fire air water too,
As though I am producing you,

As though your face is not blood, nor flesh, nor lust
But a nightly deodar island;
A desolate distant bluish island;

Nevertheless you are being used by the vulgar hands
And being dissolved across the earth of soil;
And I am being dissolved amid the shadow of stars over the distant island.

Fire air water: the primitive deities in their kaleidoscopic humor
Keep on spreading the seed of beauty,
The seed of dream on earth.

I ponder with surprise,
Where are you tonight?
Why can't beauty recognize the shadow of the stars over the solitary deodar island-
The beauty of that lady of the earth?
By the vulgar hands her beauty is being used- used- used- used- used-
Being used- used-
Fire air water: the primitive deities burst into laughter 'ho ho'
'Being used again and again and turning into pork? Ho ho'

'Ho ho ho' my troubled heart burst into laughter too! -
Amid this terrible laughter all around, the dark sea seemed to bloom
With a dead body of the enormous whale of darkness;
All the beauty of the universe stinks like the dead body of the enormous whale of darkness,
Wherever I go, among the comets over those seas and oceans
How normal, how natural!


Translation by S M Maniruzzaman

Submitted: Sunday, April 22, 2012
Edited: Sunday, April 22, 2012


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Poet's Notes about The Poem

I do not know why no anthology of Jibanananda Das' poems under the heading 'শ্রেষ্ঠ কবিতা' or 'Selected Poems' included this poem which is one of my favourites poems by Jibanananda Das- perhaps because of its misogynistic flavor. Then I decided to translate it myself. Anyway I can not say how much my translation represents the original poem but I have tried my best.

NB Originally the name of the poem is 'আদিম দেবতারা' (মহাপৃথিবী, জী.দা.) but as I think 'Fire Air Water' is snappier than 'The primitive deities' I have changed the name into 'Fire Air Water'. And the other changes made by me are also deliberate.

I have translated it from:
আদিম দেবতার (Adim Debatara)
Page: 187
KOBITA SAMAGRA [A Collection of Complete PoemS: Published and Unpublished] by Jibanananda Das. Compiled and Edited by Abdul Mannan Syed. Third Edition: Feb.1998
ISBN 984 - 446 - 008 - 5

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