Say, you love
(বলো, ভালোবাসো)

Shakti Chattopadhyay

Translated from the original Bengali by
Nandini Gupta

In this hospital it’s just me who is ill.
All others are healthy, full of life,
They walk through the corridors---
They go everywhere, stand at windows watching birds,
They talk to birds; there are no newspapers here.
Who cares about news, oil prices?
Not gold. Here, healthy people are prized, more.

I am ill. Only I, am unhappy, So I am here.
I lie in bed, I sit up, I stand in front
Of the mirror.
Speak to me, you
Be spirit or spectre, speak within me.
Be your words cruel contrary like needle pricks,
Speak, love, within me. Speak like the rain,
Speak of lightning, speak of roots.

Say, you are well, and you are cured
Say, because you love, you are cured.

The original poem 'Balo, bhalobaso' (বলো, ভালোবাসো) was included in the book ('Jete pari kintu keno jabo', যেতে পারি কিন্তু কেন যাবো) published first in March 1982 by Ananda Publishers (আনন্দ পাবলিশার্স).

Parabaas, October, 2020

Illustrated by Nilanjana Basu. Nilanjana has been regularly illustrating for Parabaas. She is currently based in California.