Jibanananda Das

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

Windy Night

Last night it was an intensely windy night—
a night of countless stars;
An expansive wind played around my mosquito net;
At times billowing it like the belly of a monsoon sea,
At times tearing it off the bed as if to cast to the stars;
Sometimes I felt—may be in half-sleep—that there was
no net on my bed,
That it was drifting like a white heron
in an ocean of blue winds alongside the Swati star.

It was such a wonderful night, last night—

All the dead stars awakened
the sky became capacity packed;
I could spot the faces of the dead ones—
obscure and beloved, among those stars;
In the dark of night, the stars sparkled like the dew-drenched eyes
of a hero kite sitting atop the Aswattha tree;
An expansive sky dazzled like the moonlit shiny shawl
from leopard’s skin— spread around
the shoulders of the queen of Babylon!

Last night was such an amazing night.

Stars that had vanished from the sky thousands of years ago
They too showed up,
gleaned through the window many a dead sky;
The beauty queens whom I saw pass away
in Assyria, Egypt, Vidisha
As if they had filed up in columns last night
with long spears in hand
along the foggy outline of the distant sky—

To overcome the inevitability of death?
To assert the invincible triumph of life?
To erect a scary solemn monument of love?

I was benumbed—totally overcome
I was almost torn asunder under last night’s blue torture;
Within the endless expansive wings of the sky
the earth was vanquished like an insect!
And came down from the core of the sky turbulent wind
through my windows, gushing in,
Like a bevy of zebras in the green pasture
bewildered by the lion’s uproar.

My heart is overwhelmed with the scent of green grass
across the sprawling veldt,
With the essence of extensive sunlight
that inundates the horizon,
With the restless robust lively furry exuberance of darkness,
like growls of an aroused tigress,
In life’s tempestuous blue intoxication!

My heart tore apart and flew away leaving the earth behind
It flew like a drunken balloon inflated in the blue sea of winds
chasing the mast of a distant constellation, from star to star
like an indomitable vulture.

Translated by Faizul Latif Chowdhury

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2009

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