Jibanananda Das

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

I Remember, I Was There


I remember I used to be a king of Babylonia
You were my slave girl,
In the night, the Vesper made the minaret wore a wan _expression
In the day, my palace was covered with pigeons
It all evaporated into blue sky as smoke always does,
I am bound to meet you again,
That I knew all along?I heard you say
“I will come, I will come”
from the cavity of time for thousands of years.

This morning when the time came for commensal birds
to come, I saw in the blue Egypt sky
those birds, they all are familiar to me,
As white as milk.
They fly out. I console myself by saying, “I love you.”

The one who I lost thousands of years ago
now she frolics with her symbol on the ocean of reason,
on frothy surface, trembling- I almost can hear it!
I blow my Babylonian flute even though I am infirm.
To get her out of the deep dark place towards light…more light
I am calling her again and again.

Who are all these women standing so close next to me?
My eyes, hair, hand, all can feel their presence.
They came with the tide of silence.
They remind me halfheartedly our acquaintances.
But then, they get lost somewhere without ever winking
(in the night) just as an awakened child does: huddle back to sleep!

[Taken from ungrouped poems. Translation by: A.H. Jaffor Ullah]

Submitted: Tuesday, March 13, 2012

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