This poem definitely plays on the reader’s imagination
Bangladesh has always had a yearning for poetry.
In fact, poetic language is used in folk lyrics as much as poems.
Over the years, writers and poets have taken inspiration from their surroundings to create beautiful verses that reflect hope, love and life.
DESIblitz picks out five beautiful Bangla poems that have been translated into English from the nation’s best poets and writers.
Closed Path by Rabindranath Tagore
I thought that my voyage had come to its end
at the last limit of my power,—that the path before me was closed,
that provisions were exhausted
and the time come to take shelter in a silent obscurity.
But I find that thy will knows no end in me.
And when old words die out on the tongue,
new melodies break forth from the heart;
and where the old tracks are lost,
new country is revealed with its wonders
A beautifully written and meaningful poem written by one of the most esteemed poets and philosophers, Rabindranath Tagore.
It hints that our current path must come to an end for us to see a new beginning. From which we can discover a new part of our life and from where we can be anew.
The Rebel by Kazi Nazrul Islam
Say: High is my head!
Looking at my head
Is cast down the great Himalayan peak!
Say: Ripping apart the wide sky of the universe,
Leaving behind the moon, the sun, the planets
and the stars
Piercing the earth and the heavens,
Pushing through Almighty’s sacred seat
Have I risen,
I, the perennial wonder of mother-earth!
The angry God shines on my forehead
Like some royal victory’s gorgeous emblem.
Ever high is my head!
[Translation by Kabir Chowdhury]
This a small extract of the poem ‘The Rebel’ by Kazi Nazrul Islam.
It depicts so much fight and anger. Nazrul is fighting with metaphors and the entire poem flows in this ‘rebel’ theme. The more into the poem, the more fight, anger and the more engulfed it is in the fire.
This is and will always remain one of his best poems. Read the full poem here.
A Kafi by Bishnu Dey
“Forests, trees, rocks and hills give me joy that my mind yearns for.
Each tree in the village speaks to me, it tells me, pure! complete!”
My mind too, escapes in late spring
to the branches of mango and palash trees
and relaxes in contentment for a couple of hours
in the young green and middle-aged reds of fields,
after all, all men are debtors to the earth.
The afternoon, lost in a daydream
stares mutely in the distance,
it’s in the past with no effort at all,
my distracted thoughts spin in the wind
and lose themselves in the call of doves
across deserted village rice-fields.
The evening, blushing with colours,
signs itself out on an exhilarating note,
in the deep tune of a song. Do you know that I yearn for that song
just like a parched chatak begs for water?
[Translated by Damini]
A remarkable poem, with a famous poet quoting a famous composer. A beginning to a poem which is so rare.
Bishnu appreciates the beauty that the Spring term brings into Bangladesh. While it is visually compelling, he appreciates mother nature’s existence and how without it at times we would be lost.
A relatable piece of art, for sometimes we all crave and yearn for a scenery of nature. To be away from worldly tasks and to be able to relax for a moment.
Stairs by Sukanta Bhattacharya
We are the stairs
In your quest to rise you trample on us everyday
Then you never stop and look back
Our hearts elate with the dust of your feet
We are kicked and assailed regularly
You know our agony
So you use the carpet to camouflage the lacerations of our heart
You try to mask the evidence of your tortures
And from this world you want to hide
The reverberation of your lofty foot steps.
But in our heart we all know
That your atrocities will not be hidden forever
Like emperor Humayan
You feet could also slip
[Translated by Barnali Saha]
This poem can be interpreted in more than one way. Our take is that, Sukanta could be writing from a personal experience and hinting at those above the civil servants and those with power in his time.
As the final verses approach, the words ‘atrocities’ and ‘Emperor Humayan’ follow one after the other. A Mughal Emperor who was killed by slipping down the stairs.
Possibly, Sukanta provides this to say no sin of man will go unpunished and they will find themselves humiliated.
A remarkable poem and one that carries a rhythmic flow.
We Both Are Here, Again by Jibanananda Das
We both are here, again,
in memory of sound bird’s river of light.
Thought we both are
Slumbering from morn to evening.
Sporting ourselves as a morning breeze,
swaying clusters of green leaves,
or becoming a twig of emblica, sal,
or even turning into silver hued falling rain,
pretending to be all of the above—
just you and me.
We died so many times over and over again
in many cities, bazaars, waterways,
amidst blood, fire, blurred decadence,
in the darkness of inauspicious moment.
Even then, we pined for light, courage, and life.
We cherished these in our heart
and be history-bound.
Our nest, we built somewhere.
It shattered into pieces and we cried.
On froth of the ocean, we giggled.
We loved our life.
Light—more light passed away!
If men depart today,
humankind will remain here,
curdled dewdrops will become
in the parlance of history, the capital
of man and woman.
[Translated by A.H. Jaffor Ullah]
Jibanananda Das was without a doubt one of the most popular poets. This particular poem could be expressing notions of history; the good and the bad that will always remain and repeat.
Das mentions ‘we died so many times’ which can be an expression of reincarnation or loss of all hope.
This poem most definitely plays on the reader’s imagination and makes some subtle hints to let the reader come up with a meaning.
We hope you enjoy these popular Bangla poems from some of the most prominent writers and creatives of Bangladesh.