Sorrowing for leaves
(পাতার শোকে)

Shakti Chattopadhyay

Translated from the original Bengali by
Nandini Gupta

When, how long ago were you a young poet?
Stopping at what age, you’d be handsome still?
Deep within you, are verdant leaves and wild deer.
In a crowd, in company: you are forlorn, alone.

When, how long ago were you a young poet?
Now they’re quick to label you old. Ancient, rusted,
A bagful of deceipt. The flowers fell off, everyone.
Were they sorrowing for the leaves?

The original poem 'Paataar shokey' (পাতার শোকে) was included in the book ('Bhaat nei, pathor royechhe', ভাত নেই, পাথর রয়েছে) published first in July 1979 by Dey's Publishers (দে'জ পাবলিশার্স).

Parabaas, October, 2020

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