Two Poems from Bandir Bandana

Buddhadeva Bose

Love and Life


As a poor boy standing in front of a theatreís gates,
one foot on the street, the other on marble steps,
with sad eyes of longing stares at the lovely palace
and curses his own indigence under his breath:
the hours pass, the auditoriumís plunged in darkness,
the stage is lit, the air throbs with poetry and music -
through his eager ears the melodies reach his spirit
like a dream overture, and his mindís in joyís high tide: -

even so, love, all Iíve had so far in life
is just a glimpse of you, your fingerís touch!
Yet already the earthís at my feet, the firmamentís my fingerís ring,
and amazed, I think: that thing whose faintest hint
brings births and deaths in instants, and in tears raises seas -
its complete revelation - what a miracle that must be!

3 February 1929, night


You are of this life, yet you are more than life.
Lifeís sufferingís sandbankís girt with the sea of sleep -
on its sand your teeming footprints you leave
and with those marks lifeís insignia you inscribe.
Where all is transient, unreal - you are the pole starís light.
Those who, in the cave of death, have discovered God,
whose fragile lives hang on the insupportable, on roots of hope -
you, steady and stable, are the truth on their rostrum of lies.

A lump of flesh is man - a pot of slime, a pile of primal urges,
until you come and charge him up, make him quiver;
itís when you pour your wine that his crystal form appears -
all over the rim of lifeís cup that wine fizzes.
Foamy madness - waste without compare -
till at last in bloodís darkness heaven sparks, and a fire blazes.

27 March 1929, morning