• Parabaas
    Parabaas : পরবাস : বাংলা ভাষা, সাহিত্য ও সংস্কৃতি
  • পরবাস | সংখ্যা ৮১ | জানুয়ারি ২০২১ | Poem
  • O What is the News?(with insincere apologies to W. H. Auden) : Joseph Samuel

    O What is the News that so fills me with fear
    Of people in Wuhan dying, dying?
    Only a passing fever dear
    Only a fever passing.

    O what of the terrible news I hear
    Of wards crammed to bursting, to bursting?
    Only a mischievous rumour dear
    Only the Fake News lying.

    O what of the corpse I saw on a bier
    trailed by children crying, crying?
    Only the seasonal flu my dear
    As you well know, it’s catching.

    O what is this plague that’s spreading this year
    whose clutches do so enmire us?
    Only the seasonal flu my dear
    Or perhaps some new virus.

    But do we have masks and protective gear
    To shield our nurses so caring, so caring?
    We’ve thought of that my dear
    We’ve been preparing.

    O where do I go for our Doctor’s care?
    I feel a fever rising, rising
    He cannot see you now, my dear
    Relax, you’ll be fine in the morning.

    O who is it that goes by here
    in a cortege slowly passing
    Why, that was just our Doctor dear
    And his widow dressed in mourning.

    O my brain is on fire, pounding my ear
    My breath is short and heaving.
    Try hydroxychloroquine my dear
    I must be leaving.

    O the reaper stalks the old and young
    The spades are digging, digging
    A frothing fluid fills my lungs
    And stills my breathing.

    (Try your hand at translating this poem into Bengali. We will publish selected translation(s) in later issue(s).)

    Joseph Samuel is a theoretical physicist working at the Raman Research Institute. In his own words: I have an interest in music and literature. My favourite poets are John Donne, Sylvia Plath and W.H. Auden. I do not normally write poetry. But in the early days of the pandemic, an Auden poem kept ringing in my ears and I woke up early to write the poem below. It was scrubbed and polished later.

    অলংকরণ (Artwork) : from internet
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