by Jibanananda Das
Translation by Arka Mukhopadhyay
And one day we will go to sleep, tired, under this sky, these stars – like
A white, northern ocean of snow.
These nights, these days, this light, all the patterns of life –
Under the sky, we’ll forget all these.
I have known the taste of the body, washing it
In oceanic waters. Desiring, I’ve realized what the heart is like.
Waking, I have watched all the clamour of life.
What the light whispers to the dark, what the night whispers to the day –
I have heard. This watching, this waking will yet one day end, – like the crops upon the field
There is a time, too, for our fruition.
Once we have bloomed, we can desire the touch of death.
Like those asleep, she gathers us into her embrace,
One by one, she comes and gathers us into her embrace; —
When time runs out, her taste is desirable above all else!
Arka Mukhopadhyay is the founder of The Arshinagar Project, a Kolkata based physical performance collective. A past winner of the TFA award for creative writing (2008), his poetry has appeared in Drunken Boat, New Quest, Pyrta and other online and print publications. From time to time, he loves attempting translations of Jibanananda Das’s poetry.