Sukumar Ray

(30 October 1887 - 10 September 1923 / Calcutta / India)

The Sons of Ramgaroo


To the sons of Ramgaroo
Laughter is taboo
A funny tale will make them wail:
“We're not amused, boo - hoo!”

They live in constant fear
Of chuckles far and near
And start and bound at every sound
That brings a breath of cheer.

Their peace of mind forfeiting
They sit and keep repeating:
'We believe in only grieving;
Happiness is fleeting.'

They shun the summer breeze
That whispers through the trees
For fear the stir of leaf and bur
Their funny bones should tease.

They keep a wary eye
On the autumn sky
For signs of mirth above the earth
In foaming cumuli.

The darkness of the night
Brings them no respite
As fireflies extemporise
Their dances of delight.

Those of you who are jolly
And feel to woe is folly
Must not refuse the Ramgaroos
Their right to melancholy.

The Ramgaroosian lair
Bereft of sun and air
Is doomed to be a monastery
Of permanent despair.

[Original: 'Ragaroorer Sana' (Bengali), Translated by: Satyajit Ray (the able son of Sukumar Roy)]

Submitted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Edited: Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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