Urban Wilderness

December 31, 2007 at 4:23 am 14 comments

Once again, a translation from my nameless Bengali original. As Puchkilla says so often, “reading a translation is like eating chewed food!” And I feel it now with this translation more than ever before. But I present this example of ineptitude anyway, under the guise of my urban wilderness:

Like the sweet wind carrying the
hints of Tamarisk love,
the unvaried wearisome stream of a million lives
keeps on floating and floating by,
but without the moisture, dry.

Like the allure of some distant memory
the din of rolling waves
of hundreds of unknown sounds, dreamily supernatant,
reach my ears.
Like the faint silhouette of a distant misty village,
it provides the glimpse of a fascinating hope,
but without the respite of a cry.

A mere stretch of arms, and in my palms
I hold the fretful clinker drone.
Like the foam of a well-known ocean.
As underneath two empty brackish hands
endless roars keep falling in unceasing thrashes,
at moment’s closing, they dissolve amongst
the scentless sky.

I sit on shore sands, solitary.
Colours of life fill my eyes.
I fill my heart with the inheritance
of all I have seen and all I have not
and all my silent sighs.

Has always been inept, the heart,
and steadily has moved apart.
Echoes of the roar stop, the din grows faint,
as if I comprehend the transience of foam
and all sound’s futile effort.

Wild, fathomless, unaccepting blue
at the hearts of the two people resides.
Spasms inflate the colours of forlorn.
One is a rainbow forgetfully hiding a love in its music.
The other, a dark black unmoving stone.

Like twigs floating by in a wearied stream,
with infinite gestures of a choiceless love
for an instant they lift their eyes to see
the absurdity of a poem
at moment’s closing in blissful Lethe
within the clinkers of foam.

Β© 2007 Ritwik Banerjee

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Urban Wilderness by
Ritwik Banerjee is licensed under a
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Entry filed under: adulthood, art, emotions, life, lifestyle, literature, Poetry, society. Tags: , .

Of Cellular Phones and Gogol – II Floating Dreams

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. PC  |  December 31, 2007 at 6:26 am

    hmm… it might be worth learning bengali, even if its only to appreciate this poem.

    Reply: πŸ™‚ It’s always worth learning Bengali! Lol . . . .


  • 2. Janice Thomson  |  January 3, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    I find the title to this to be quite apt. There is a river on our continent called the River Lethe – it is is in the wilderness of Alaska and your poem draws the same emotions (and implications) for me that this river does – not unlike the mythical Lethe I might add.
    Once again your imagery is astounding and I felt such a haunting aloneness (but not a loneliness) in this piece.
    “I sit on shore sands, solitary.
    Colours of life fill my eyes.
    I fill my heart with the inheritance
    of all I have seen and all I have not
    and all my silent sighs.” – I love this verse.
    There was much to think about here and I’m not sure it all sank in…

    Reply: I actually was referring only to the mythical Lethe. I used that river to denote the flow because the English word lethargy is derived from it. I am happy you know why? Because if you felt a haunting solitude in this poem, it means I have succeeded! πŸ™‚


  • 3. Kalliope Amorphous  |  January 3, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    This is so incredibly beautiful. Amazing work.

    Reply: Thanks! πŸ™‚


  • 4. sea of memories  |  January 5, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    For someone who doesn’t know Bengali, I think reading the “chewed food” is a treat in itself. As Janice quoted:
    “I sit on shore sands, solitary.
    Colours of life fill my eyes.
    I fill my heart with the inheritance
    of all I have seen and all I have not
    and all my silent sighs.”
    These lines hit home for me ………you succeeded Ritwik. Great work πŸ™‚

    Reply: Thank you. I am glad that both of you loved that stanza as it happens to be a favourite part of the poem for me too. In these lines, it so happened that neither the Bengali original nor the translation required any thought. The words and the rhythm just flowed out naturally. I guess that naturality shows through somehow.


  • 5. Pages tagged "fretful"  |  January 6, 2008 at 5:23 am

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  • 6. Shreekumar Varma  |  January 8, 2008 at 4:11 am

    dear ritwik, good to know poetry still thrives in you. i’ve left a comment in your “mind” blog.

    Reply: I just read your comment on the other (now forgotten) blog. I am quite glad to know that you remember me! I will be mailing you shortly . . . .


  • 7. Inam  |  January 11, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    The subtle movement of the imagery is something I liked a lot, almost like a gentle river. Do you have a Bangla blog where I could read the original version?

  • 8. sea of memories  |  January 15, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Oh My! You’re really “green”!

  • 9. Ritwik Banerjee  |  January 23, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    @ Inam: I don’t have a Bangla blog, I am afraid. Actually, till very recently, I did nit have a computer of my own . . . and I was unable to install Bangla fonts on the Linux machine in my office. That’s why the lack of a Bangla blog.

    @ Sea of Memories: I have changed colours again . . . . do pay a visit and take a look around. πŸ™‚

  • 10. Anuj Dasgupta  |  January 24, 2008 at 3:13 am

    I will be honest here about what I felt while reading your last poem (please do forgive me if u find any of it a bit hurtful, am trying to be honest here)… the concept of the poem I liked but I didn’t necessarily like the expression, as for the words didn’t sound naturally placed beside each other, like carefully thought of & picked out to the extent that they loose out their “flow”, so the reading kind of lost its rhythm …. i guess that’s because you translated it from Bengali … the main problem which I noticed is that each word was too heavy thus making the entire line sound overtly “poetic” (u know what I mean I guess)… when translating try to keep each word simple so that when the entire line is “rendered” under the assimilation of all the words, it gives a smooth yet subtle sense of the profoundity in it…. here I have to say that you may wanna refer to some of Neruda’s poems (or even Shelly’s) who explicate this simplicity of profoundity so eloquently, like Neruda would discover the most extraordinary perception in the most ordinary of all things, like eg. his poem “Ode to my Socks” or his many other sonnets…. regarding all this, I really like your “Perhaps Even Greed” poem and esp your “I cannot live with myself” from your other blog.

    Otherwise, I really like the way u think… kind of poetic without ever loosing any touch on reality, and your sense of logic is sharp… so am sure there’s much to read from you that will delight me and at times disappoint me (as is the case with all good writer/thinkers).

    Anyway, don’t mind my scathing criticism… after all, i hold u in high esteem bole ee naa eto crticise korlam…. as Nietzsche had once said, “I only attack victorious causes”… hehehe!

  • 11. sea of memories  |  January 27, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Miss the original Evergreen layout. Was more “you” somehow…:)

    Reply: I really liked that layout. But I also wanted my own header image and stuff like that. That’s why I switched to this one. I hope you don’t absolutely hate this! πŸ™‚


  • 12. sea of memories  |  February 1, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Header image?? Where?? No I don’t absolutely hate this but its kind of bland…

    Reply: The top image on a page (the space where “evergreen leaves” is written). That’s the header image. I need to think of a better image there . . . something that goes with the post themes.


  • 13. sea of memories  |  February 2, 2008 at 5:07 am

    I know I know but i meant: where image??? Its just blue.

    Reply: I hope you like the new image. I couldn’t adjust the raindrop picture to the required scale, so using this one. Thanks a bunch for the picture! πŸ™‚


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