Friday, July 15, 2005

Friday Verse Thingy (Redux) - 2

Non-English pomes. A bit maudlin' (some would go so far as to say Mawkish). Popular ones, but (as Mr. W.T.Srinivasan was wont to advise Master W.S.Swaminathan), it doesn't hurt to revise the syllabus ever so often.


Had never heard of the poet, till that fateful day when we watched a film in which Rani Mukherjee recites a few verses of another poem by him...umm...on (as it were) Kamal Haasan. The pome presented here is perhaps the poet's most famous, although he has written several others.

Banalata Sen
    - Jibanananda Das

For thousands of years I roamed the paths of this earth,
From waters round Ceylon in dead of night to Malayan seas.
Much have I wandered. I was there in the grey world of Asoka
And Bimbisara, pressed on through darkness to the city of Vidarbha.
I am a weary heart surrounded by life's frothy ocean.
To me she gave a moment's peace -- Banalata Sen from Natore.

Her hair was like an ancient darkling night in Vidisa,
Her face, the craftsmanship of Sravasti. As the helmsman,
His rudder broken, far out upon the sea adrift,
Sees the grass-green land of a cinnamon isle, just so
Through darkness I saw her. Said she, "Where have you been so long?"
And raised her bird's nest-like eyes -- Banalata Sen from Natore.

At day's end, like hush of dew
Comes evening. A hawk wipes the scent of sunlight fom its wings.
When earth's colors fade and some pale design is sketched,
Then glimmering fireflies paint in the story.
All birds come home, all rivers, all of this life's tasks finished.
Only darkness remains, as I sit there face to face with Banalata Sen.

The poem in Bengali is available, and a transliteration also exists. There is even a sequel to Banalata Sen, but not by Das.


Another old chestnut. See the movie, if you haven't already. Transliteration of this one, particularly hard to find, been, has.

Saddest Poem
    - Pablo Neruda

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.

Write, for instance: "The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance."

The night wind whirls in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this, I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her.
How could I not have loved her large, still eyes?

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
To think I don't have her. To feel that I've lost her.

To hear the immense night, more immense without her.
And the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.

What does it matter that my love couldn't keep her.
The night is full of stars and she is not with me.

That's all. Far away, someone sings. Far away.
My soul is lost without her.

As if to bring her near, my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her and she is not with me.

The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, we who were, we are the same no longer.

I no longer love her, true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched the wind to touch her ear.

Someone else's. She will be someone else's. As she once
belonged to my kisses.
Her voice, her light body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, true, but perhaps I love her.
Love is so short and oblivion so long.

Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is lost without her.

Although this may be the last pain she causes me,
and this may be the last poem I write for her.


Three rather interesting blokes ran their operations out of Persia and Anatolia. One poet/philosopher/mystic became the founder of his own sect/order. Another is apparently "...well known for inventing the method of solving cubic equations by intersecting a parabola with a circle..." and for his astronomical observations. Eventually, he made Eddie famous for translating his magnum opus into the English. Here, we deal with #3.

What Should We Do about that Moon?
    - Khwajeh Shams al-Din Muhammad Hafez-e Shirazi

A wine bottle fell from a wagon
And broke open in a field.

That night hundred beetles and all their cousins

And did some serious binge drinking.

They even found some seed husks nearby
And began to play them like drums and whirl.
This made God very happy.

Then the 'night candle' rose into the sky
And one drunk creature, laying down his instrument
Said to his friend - for no apparent

"What should we do about that moon?"

Seems to Hafiz
Most everyone has laid aside the music

Tackling such profoundly useless


Anonymous said...

awesome !

Emma said...
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Anonymous said...

Tell me, please, I haven't done something as stupid as this!!!!

-- Y!

Anonymous said...
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