Four Poems from Panjore DanRer Shabda ('Oars in My Ribs')

Sankha Ghosh


Oars in my ribs, waters splash in my blood,
The waxing moon emerges from the boat's hull,
Mosses and reeds weigh my body down,
I have no past--- no future either.


Storm-uprooted, the lamp-post lies lonely in the fields,
Fireflies at its head, and above, Orion's sword,
The battle is done, the hour still, all around
The night looms like an immense, opaque sea.


He who had been bent small with insults and injuries,
Whose days had dropped away with each hour, each tide,
To him when you came, your touch feather to his ribs,
In your fingers, last night, I witnessed god.


The ground lies very still. But within fires rage,
A sudden explosion has shattered the rocks.
Fling to the insensible dust words that will not
Throb with fever, with lava, or with curse.

The original poem [paa.Njare daa.N.Der shabda* by sha~Nkha ghoshh*] appeared in the collection of poems under the same title *,in 1980. The poems in this collection were written during 1976-78.

Translated by Nandini Gupta [nandinI gupta*] - Nandini Gupta is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands, working on ... (more)

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* To learn more about the ITRANS script for Bengali, click here.