Come cyclone
(হোক ঝড়-বৃষ্টি)

Shakti Chattopadhyay

Translated from the original Bengali by
Nandini Gupta

Four debdaru trees with their drooping leaves,
                           Some rambling portulaca;
The juin that clutching air climbs upstairs, as does the madhabi;
Below, a pebbled path cuts through the garden—
On the left in a row, beli, lily, rangan,
White jawbaa flower in profusion.
With all these in my small garden I sit on the grass—
                           like a customary statue.
With a dish of Koi with choi on my mind
                           I’ve planted the betel look-alike,
Brought home the choicest bulbs from the nursery.
I am afraid. That a squall will jab at them one day.
And yet we need a storm, we need rain, to stay alive,
Come a cyclone, I shall hold tight in my safe embrace—
My trees, my family.

debdaru—Indian Fir tree
jnui—Jasmine creeper
madhabi—Rangoon creeper
beli—Arabian jasmine plant
rangan—Ixora flower
jawbaa—China rose
Koi—Anabas fish
choi—Piper chaba vine used in food

The original poem 'Hok jhaR-brishTi' (হোক ঝড়-বৃষ্টি) was published in periodical 'Desh' (দেশ) in 1992.

Parabaas, June, 2020

Illustrated by Sanchari Mukherjee.