Once I used to address you in my letters
‘My dearest’ or ‘My dear’.
But I hear
Now-a-days the fashion has changed
Now it is the fashion to address by name –
Anyway, let me address you today
Without giving your name.
You demand poems from me
Written in perfect rhymes
In difficult rhythms
What my poems want from you is this –
Be pleased to look at them
With loving eyes.
What I want to say
It is best when I say it in simple words –
When I give you a call
On some pretence please do come
Go back if you have no time
Or if there is time to spare
You may sit face to face with me for a while.
Around your lovely feet
Your sari will nicely spread
Place its one end on your head
And its thin black borders on your cheek.
Let a tuft of your hair, quivering in the air,
Lie freely on your forehead
In your right curling forelock
Let a flower dangle and swing
Around your moody shoulders
With the warmth of your neck
May the buds of juthi flowers in your garland
You strung in the afternoon
Now in the evening fully bloom;
The fragrance they will secretly give off
Will send to my heart
The happy news of your approach.
Here let me somewhat rudely remind you
You have often forgotten to wear
Two little ear-rings of ruby I gave you –
Two teardrops like congealed blood.
Transcreation of the first two stanzas of the delightfully humourous poem Nimantran from the collection Bithika by Rabindranath Tagore. Written on 14th June, 1935 when the poet was 74, it is a very long poem and the humour it exudes is very difficult, if not impossible, to recapture in translation.
The original poem is at http://www.rabindra-rachanabali.nltr.org/node/14015