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Theme: Lullabies Share This Page
Nursery Rhymes
by Kumud Biswas
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  Today it seems to me
The sounds of words have become fully free
Imprisoned long in the fortress of grammar
They have become rebellious
Without any rest
For ages parading in goose steps
They have become restive.
Defying the rules of syntax
They have taken their position at a vantage post
Where everything is meaningless
Where speech is free
Breaking the manacles of meanings
They ridicule the standard poems.
Striking strange poses
And leaving out everything else
They aim to capture
Only the ears!
They say
We are the progenies
Of the sound of the very first wind
That was breathed on this earth
We came into being
Soon after life, yet to have a mind,
Quickened into consciousness.
We have brought the first rhapsody of existence
Uttered in his poem by the primordial child.
We are the fountains
Cascading on mountain peaks
We have a kinship with the messengers of rains
We have come to the populous plains
Singing creation's sacred hymns.
Our symphony echoes in the forest foliage,
Measures the rhythms of storms
And with the departure of the night
Raises a crescendo at the break of day.
Men took sound by force like a wild pony
Bound it with ropes of complex rules
And made it a beast of burden
To bear their messages far and wide.
Mounting this muzzled horse
Men have made all slow clocks fast.
With their thought
Overcoming the barrier of inert matter
They have gone to unknown mysterious lands
Disposing sound in various formations
They always win their wars with the idiots.
Sometimes like thieves
They sneak into the kingdom of dreams
Nothing can stop them
When they drift along the ebb tide of sleep  -
Collecting a lot of flotsam and jetsam
They arrange them in order
With the help of rhythms
The mind of men
Unmindfully creates artistic things
Loosely strung
And far removed from the creation of God.
Like a large litter of dogs
Playing in a melee
Without any rule
One getting on another
Or biting each other
And barking in quarrelsome storms
They are full of sound and fury
But not ferocious at all.
Whole day long I only see
Breaking the manacles of meanings
Sounds in crowds go to and fro
Filling the whole sky
With meaningless words.

Translation of poem 20 from the collection Janmadine by Rabindranath Tagore. The original in Bengali script may be viewed at

http://www.rabindra-rachanabali.nltr.org/node/13876.


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June 28, 2009
More By: Kumud Biswas
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