Jibanananda Das

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

In The Black-Out - Poem by Jibanananda Das

Once to the stars - once to the fields
I cast my winkless eyes.

The scent of paddy disappeared from life when who knows;
Like the meadows laden with haystacks here and there
Quietly; he feels dozy.
"What will happen if the stars glow - glow - glow and dim - and then dim forever? "
Cautioned, he wakes up again.
With straw scattered all over it feels sleepy,
Sleep engulfs.

The evening sky is studded with stars - this sky of night;
Here in the Falgoon shadow I sprawl on the turf of grass;
A gift of death right here, and these grasses will cling onto my body;
A galaxy of stars will forever remain close by.

Who sneezed there? - must be Hamid's
one-eyed moribund horse!
Enough he has worked, all day pulling the cart
Now in the moonlight he is bent upon eating grass
- no more tasks.
As if nothing hurts in this world - "Why then I think of death? "
The sky afar echoes, "Why you seek to die? "
A chuckle crosses her teasing lips.

Tamarisk fruits collect in the fold of grasses - I am lying now
upon the turf of grass, beneath the tamarisk tree.
Leaving behind the reeds, the stalk of love thorns
grasshoppers have retired back to the nest.
"Evening's star, will you show me the path to be picked?
A place where no drive is needed, passion will bug no more
Shall I get peace giving up hopes and dreams? "

"Go off to your own home", said the star with a subdued smile
"Or you can lie here on the grass, stare with love at my face;
"Or else, stretch your sight: the wheel-cart rolls
slowly in the dark - laden with golden straw
Giving up the skin of snakes, canal, laughter of darkness; - peace waits ahead;
Quietly it moves carrying the load of golden straw; -
Although all have succumbed - Gandarva, Kinnor, Yaksha included - yet it does not think of death.

[Translated by Faizul Latif Chowdhury]

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2009

Poem Edited: Friday, March 23, 2012

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