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    Parabaas : পরবাস : বাংলা ভাষা, সাহিত্য ও সংস্কৃতি
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  • Things Recalled at Night: A Poem By Joy Goswami [Parabaas Translation] : Joy Goswami
    translated from Bengali to English by Prasenjit Gupta


    Things Recalled at Night

    Joy Goswami

    Translated from Bengali by Prasenjit Gupta


    All that rainfall
    Laid out in the rainfall, all those dead bodies
    Beating at the dead bodies, all that wind
    Trembling with the wind but not billowing out, all those
                                                          encompassing shrouds
    Thrusting their muzzles in, tugging at the cloth, all those night-time dogs
    Shouting, driving the dogs away, all those attendants
    Half-naked, squatting attendants
    Laid down beside the attendants, all those wooden staves
    Those clay pipes not burning, in the rain
    Those not-burning pyres
    Spaced apart, all those not-burning pyres

    Behind the pyres, the ragged river-bank
    And on all those ragged edges, risen from the water,
    All their mothers sit
    Their heads covered with uncolored cloth
    Risen up from the water after long years, climbed down from the rain,
    All their mothers sit like small white bundles
    So that at burning time
    They can be close to their sons--
    At burning time when the dead will remember
                                               a wife left behind
    An only daughter who ran away with her lover
    Unresolved property and a friend's treachery
    The dead man will remember the first day at school and
    Unseen for so long,
                          unresisted, the cause of his own death
    When he tries, flustered, to sit up on the pyre
                                               one last time
    And the attendant's stave strikes hard,
                                                breaking him, laying him out--
    Then she can touch that fire-burnt skull
    With her age-old kitchen-weary pot-scrubbing shriveled hand
    And, spreading the end of her sari over those molten eyes,
                                                                        the widow can say
    Don't fret, baba, my son, here I am, here, I'm your mother,
                                                            here, right at your side!

    Published February 1, 2003



    The original poem [raatre kI kI mane pa.Dechhilo by Joy Goswami] appeared in the collection of poems paataar poshhaak, first published in 1997.

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