Jibanananda Das

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

I Have Seen Bengal’s Face


I have seen Bengal’s face, that is why I do not seek
Beauty of the earth any more: I wake up in the dark
And see the dawn’s magpie-robin perched under the parasol-like huge leaf
Of the fig tree – on all sides I see mounds of leaves of
Black plum – banyan – jackfruit – oak – pipal lying still;
Their shadows fall on the spurge bushes on zedoary clumps;
Who knows when Chand near Champa from his madhukar boat
Saw such oaks – banyans – gamboge’s blue shades
Bengal’s beauty incomparable.


Behula too someday floating on raft on Gangur’s water –
When the fullmoon of the tenebrous twelfth night died on the river’s shoal –
Saw countless pipals and banyans beside the golden corn,
Alas, heard the tender songs of shama – and one day going to Amara.
When she danced like a torn wagtail in Indra’s court
Bengal’s river field, wild violets wept at her feet like anklet bells.

(Sonnet 4, Rupashi Bangla)

Submitted: Tuesday, March 13, 2012

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