Sukumar Ray

Was a duck, porcupine (to grammar I bow not)
Became Duckupine, but how I know not.

Stork tells turtle, “Indeed it’s a delight--
Our Stortle shape is exactly right!”

Parrot-Head Lizard feels decidedly silly:
Must he spurn all bugs for a raw green chili?

The goat now hatches a plan to wed--
Mounts scorpion’s neck--body unites with head!

The giraffe’s reluctant to wander nearby
With his grasshopper wings, he longs to fly.

Says the cow, “What disease has entered the pen
That my rear belongs to a rascally hen?”

Observe the Whalephant: whale wants the sea;
Elephant says, “It’s the jungle for you and me.”

The lion has no horns, that’s his woe--
He joins with a deer; and now antlers grow!

© 2003 by Prasenjit Gupta

Khichuri: a common dish all over India and among the Indian diaspora, a flavorful mixture of rice and dal cooked with spices; also used figuratively to mean a hodgepodge or mixture. The Anglicized spelling was kedgeree.

Translation Published March 15, 2003

The original poem [khichuRi by Sukumar Ray] first appeared in the children's magazine Sandesh in Magh, 1322 BE (1916), and later in the collection of poems Abol Tabol, first published in 1923.

Translated by Prasenjit Gupta [Proshenjit Gupto ]. Prasenjit Gupta is a translator and writer living in Iowa City. (more)

Illustrations by Sukumar Ray.

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