Abani, are you home?
(অবনী বাড়ি আছো?)

Shakti Chattopadhyay

Translated from the original Bengali by
Sutapa Chaudhuri

The neighbourhood sleeps, doors closed tight
Only I hear the frequent knocking at night
‘Abani are you home?’

It rains here the whole year round
Here the clouds graze like pregnant cows
Spiteful, the green reed-like grass is found
Pressing on the door, covering the house
‘Abani are you home?’

In my half-slumbering heart I fall asleep
Wrapped in a pain, distant and deep
Suddenly I hear the old Night knocking
‘Abani are you home?’

The original poem 'Abani, are you home?' (অবনী বাড়ি আছো?) is collected in Shakti's second book of poems 'Dhormeo achho, giraffe-o achho' (ধর্মেও আছো জিরাফেও আছো) published in October 1965 by Bikkhan Prakash Bhavan (বীক্ষণ প্রকাশ ভবন), Kolkata.

Parabaas, June 2017

Illustrated by Ananya Das. Author of several books and an illustrator, Ananya Das is based in Pennsylvania.