Comments on this Poem
Your translation is very good. Thanks for reading and commenting and above all for trying to present Tagore before people who cannot read him in the original Bengali.
6 October 2011|
TO: Mr. Kumud Biswas.
Dear Mr. Biswas,
I was thrilled to discover you, another Tagore translator whose oeuvre obviously excels mine of 63 poems and 41 Rabindrasangeets and 3 essays.. My book of Tagore translation ‘The Eclipsed Sun’ (TES) was published in Calcutta in January 2002 and wef 15th April 2011 its Internet version was released from Jakarta the link of which you’ll get in any of the few poems I so far uploaded in Boloji.com if you’ll just open up my attached Bio-Data with it.
Anyway, Tagore translators are few in number and our “Rabi’ (=Sun) , therefore remains by and large eclipsed to the world outside the narrow Bengali circle. Only translators can un-eclipse him and we still need scores of them. I’m happy, therefore to discover you.
I have just started perusing your uploaded works in Boloji.com. Interestingly, the poem Patra, which you have translated, is a part of TES. I append my version of it.
Rajat Das Gupta
Translation from Bengali works of Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel Laureate of 1913.
Translator: RAJAT DAS GUPTA (KOLKATA, India). Adopted from his book of Tagore translation “THE ECLIPSED SUN” – published in January 2002. Link for the Internet edition released from Jakarta (Indonesia) w.e.f. 15th April 2011 –
Poem: Patra (=Letter) in the book Punascha (=Again). Written by Tagore in the early thirties of the twentieth Century.
[Translator’s note: “What is the life if full of care / There is no time to stand and stare ….” Lamented the English poet. In this poem Tagore shows the plight of the modern aesthetes having to enjoy ‘packaged literature’ in contrast with their forerunners at the time of Kalidas, the poet laureate in the court of King Vikramaditya (600 A.D.), when literature/poetry flourished out of man’s deepest perception of beauty and truth which the then leisurely life permitted, and had not pruned it down to a ‘commodity’.]
I send you my writings
A bookful of poems –
Chock-a-block in a cage,
So offering everything
But the gaps in between.
The blue sky of leisure
Where bloomed poems once upon a time,
Itself lags behind.
If the stars of the night
Could be plucked and stitched into a garland,
It might fetch a high price
At the jewelry shop of the universe.
Yet, the connoisseur knows the shortfall –
Which is the void of the sky,
That cannot be weighed
But is full of compassion.
Suppose, a song is struck up
At the heart of the silent Time –
A single sapphire;
Should it be admired
Captive in a jewel-box?
In the court of Vikramaditya,
The poet sang day after day,
The monstrous press did not then blemish
The poem’s sky of leisure;
The mulch of literature
Processed in the hydraulic press
Would not be gobbled down the throat;
Its joy would surge in full leisure.
Alas, the poem for the ear
Has been fettered for the eye,
Banished to the library;
The darling of all time
Hassled in the publishers’ market.
But there is no way out,
This being the age of mess.
The poem has to take omnibus ride
For a tryst with the reader.
The heart sighs,
Had I been born in the time of Kalidas!
And you were the king Vikramaditya,
And I were – alas, futile is this fantasy!
I have been born Kalidas of the press –
You modern blooms –
To read in your armchair.
You do not give ear
To poetry with closed eyes;
You do not garland the poet after the session;
But go scot-free only poorer by a few bucks.
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