Rain-Drenched Winds In My Sleep Poem by Joy Goswami

Rain-Drenched Winds In My Sleep

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['In my youth, one day, love came to me'
Rabindranath, Arogya No. 13]


When did light string me to sleep’s dark branches,
O Tamal,
When did peacocks enter
night's township
go from door to door peddling songs!
You carefree soul,
Let the wayfarer give alms today let her give
all your best wishes to lovers
Gladly let her give to paupers like you---
Only a fistful of grass only a handful
of desolate sand may she offer to the river, enough,
You the destitute
Do not linger any longer thinking
Aid is on the way aid will be here wait no more
Waste no more time
Someone has sent out a call to every village, every hamlet
Beyond my thoughts all forests, groves, trees
have gone crazy in the wind in the wind
like a crazy girl walking down the street
unheeding uncaring shoeless.

And seeing that
from all directions waves swell distant vistas
come flying in
And wondrously, now in Chaitra, what a furore
“Sraban has come, Sraban has come”,
The sky grows eager with dense deep clouds
A fierce gale tears since morning
Its madness knows no bounds
Drunken trees sway their heads now
now they begin to fly
And over the flying forest clang cymbals,
Drums beat again again kohl-black rain clouds
rain clouds mine.


For me, only the walking
All night
within the cloud-hued black dreams beneath sleep
All night a bewitching snakebite in my head
Never to be forgotten
O seven seas, however did I, a wayward fishing boat
Blithely ride your various heaving billowing waves
Who was it, a coral island, that stopped me midway
made me set up house
My meagre shelter for a few days----------
That too I left behind when in dream one dawn I heard
The command
Left behind family friends and a lap to put my head in
without a word I came away
My fishing boat hurtles from one hill to another
Suddenly my boat sinks
Rises again, and then
Heedless of my protests my reluctance
She takes me on the sandbanks
on the fishing boat
She took me unknown woman.....


Days die. O dusk trailing the dusty soil
If you have known me
Then come, take me back home
Hold me by the hand and take me
In the steps of a ballad I have come
this far
Now I know not where I am
My eyes were fixed
on its watery footprints
I no more know what comes
Watching the road so long
my eyes are blinded
Today I hesitate,
My own words sound strange
Yet one day in the darkness
Feet had pressed down on my feet, lips
desperately found my lips
Clasped my head to breasts, drowning it,
Two waves, two meagre waves....

And over my newly hatched throbbing youthful words
someone had deliriously rubbed her face
again and again and said, “No peace
no peace not a moment’s respite will this man let me.”

The days died.
O dusk trailing the dusty soil
O dusk shadowy behind trees
I hold your both hands and say---can you
not take me once, just once
back to that long-done kiss
of those faraway days?

I promise you:
I shall begin to write you afresh
Right from scratch
In a brand new tongue…………


Come death’s simple words
Sleeping waters in wind’s way
On the water, death’s simple words

The divine perches on a branch
Along night’s way with the morning sun
Come death’s simple words

A sparrow perches on his shoulders
He forgets the divine
stares at flowers

A dewdrop on the grass-blade
another a teardrop in his eye
Flowersprig, flowersprig
Touch him gently while he sleeps.

Speak, death’s simple words,
Of the land begun in fire
Of the sowing in that land

This song will outlive death
What river this beneath your feet
Where its bends and meanders

There the women tend the garden
Sprinkle on their hearts in the morning
moist words

He who has never known love
Let him go and lie beside the red river

Burn simple words mine
On that tree where
Every leaf cups fire

A beggar-woman’s lost child
Falls asleep by the roadside
Touch him gently, o flowersprig,
Leave all else aside,
come gently touch.

[Translated from 'Sbapne Paaoyaa Baadal Haaoyaa' (Bangla) by Nandini Gupta]

Joy Goswami

Joy Goswami

Kolkata / India
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