Sukumar Ray

Translated from the Bengali by Zinia Mitra

Innocent pen, innocent ink [and Muse]
On an innocent page scribbles abuse--
“Monkey, stupid, queer and dud,
Donkey, silly, diffuse, absurd,”
Again, writes the pen with equal care
Seemly, sweet words proper and fair--
“Soft, precious, sober, wise
Sweetie, cutie”, goodness surprise!
Words concealed within the mind
On paper do their expression find
Under twist and turn of alphabet’s bulk
Some cheer, the others sulk
Regular sequence of same old ink
Makes some laugh, takes others on tears' brink
Scripts do not strike, neither confine nor yell
Why then do men laugh or cry, just tell?
Black and white patterns, what magic do they know?
I rack my brains, but really am unable to follow!

© 2005 by Zinia Mitra

Published May, 2005

The original poem [Ashchorjyo! by Sukumar Ray] first appeared in the children's magazine Sandesh in Agrahayan-Paush, 1326 BE issue (1919-20), and later in the collection of poems Khai-Khai, first published in 1950 by Signet Press, Calcutta.

Translated by Zinia Mitra. Zinia Mitra teaches English at a college affiliated with the North Bengal University. She is currently doing research on ... (more)

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