Theme: Neglect

Neglected Pen

The Editor’s pursuit hounds me every day,
Inspiration to write at heart – nay;
Neither in prose or poem;
My mum mind averse to both of them.
In the Ashoka trees of the yore
The fair maids’ touch would bloom sure,
As we fancy, flowers marvelous;
In age modern the Editor’s drive zealous
Drives the pen to bloom a stuff on the page –
Does it compare with the flowers of that age?
Humming songs I pass the days
Gazing at the winter field cozy* in sunrays;
Light blue sky, the tepid breeze,
Unfold my fancy as it’ll please –
That float to form the clouds light
In my mind’s corner to its delight;
The wayward thoughts lose configuration
There into the wayside aimless vegetation.
Now my pen left alone –
Had she been a poet ever,
Would narrate her desolation
As follows, in poesy clever.
O Poet, humbly my grievance I lodge,
Hoping you won’t try to dodge.
The pen that outlets your passion,
How she’ll bear exile to stagnation?
Dries up my heart –
Ink no more my thirst to quell;
Now I’m only to cull dirt.
Why for me such a vain ordeal?
Did ever for self liberty I harp?
My beak ever got blunt or sharp?
Did ever by mishap or inadvertence
I blot ink or cause any such offence?
On paper I’ll shape up your diction
Nothing more is my expectation.
At your service blue throated I’ve been;
My gullet bears caustic ink, as may be seen.
On your path of glory
I scribe on line after line,
About me none is wary
My name nowhere will shine.
Bhagirathi** earned his renown far and wide
But Gomukhi** is slighted as repute they will divide;
As you sign, the paper’s ego will boil;
I go thankless for my day’s toil.
Only in lying flat is his insolent pride,
While left to right is my ceaseless stride.
The paper carries your discourse and name,
Your motion pushes me minus any fame.
In unglorified service my physique will decay
To be thrown in waste basket one sad day.
On earth you are champion in chatter,
This letter is its mimic, pardon me Sir.
That’s all my complaint, so long
Yours obediently, to you I belong.

* The winter of Bengal is very cozy in contrast to that in Europe or America.
**  As per Indian mythology, Bhagirath brought down the Ganges from heaven while on earth its source is Gomukhi in the Himalayas. But Gomukhi is much less eulogized in connection with the Ganges than Bhagirathi.

Translator’s note:
Anadrita Lekhani (=Neglected Pen) of the book ‘Prahasini’ (=Satirist) in Bengali, written by the Rabindranath Tagore in 1937.
Human beings are by nature ungrateful, and so was Tagore. But, at least as an afterthought, he would repent much his failure to be grateful enough to people around him who helped him in his daily chores that enabled him to ride the crest of his literary fame much more smoothly than it would  have been otherwise. After the death of his wife he felt that he had never realized what a great support she had been to him during her lifetime and much regretted that. Similarly, his personal servant Banamali would much infuriate (as well as amuse) him by his off and on stupidity for which the Poet would chide him. But, I think, his poem ‘Puratan Vritya’ (=Vintage Servant) is manifestation of his recompense to Banamali. Here the servant character ‘Kesta’, while on a pilgrimage with his master, himself got infection of small pox from his ailing master while nursing him and died and the master had to return home alone on much mortification. Obviously, in the poem above the ‘pen’ represents this neglected class who are no more cared for when their use is over. They do bear with this slight all their life, but they are also human beings. So at times they also do let their steam off as the ‘pen’ does here. But, the question is, how many of us realize our failure in gratitude, at least to our spouses let alone others, like the Poet? The readers of the poem should better ask themselves.  


More By  :  Rajat Das Gupta

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