Lost Poets Series| Hungryalist poets translated by Arunava Sinha| Part 3

We present to you English translations of poems by four lesser-known Hungry Generation poets. All the poems have been translated by the acclaimed translator, Arunava Sinha.
A painting by Hungryalist painter Anil Karanjai
Source: Facebook page (with permission from his wife Juliet Reynolds)

Utpal Kumar Basu

1) The Ogre 

The other day I met loneliness on Suren Banerjee Road
I said: here's a letter with your address I was about to post
Can you read minds? Which train did you take? Actually
It wasn't loneliness, but a silent comb bought on the pavement
With a woman's long hair still caught in its teeth

So much suppressed rage hidden in the luggage, packed into the bedding
Without being caught during checking, slipping through the electronic scan 
They traverse the airport with ease, even avoiding the cordon of bodyguards
To confront a line of flabbergasted presidents and ministers and commissioners
And ask them, 'You, what the hell do you think you're doing?'
Soldiers fire their guns in vain, the daggers fight on their own
The rage remains invisible through it all

‎Bhaskar Chakrabarty

1) Things that happen

The days aren’t passing badly for the two of us
Though it’s true we haven’t been to the hills,
We haven’t been to the seaside, for three years now
And poverty, it’s no small annoyance
Constantly borrowing money and asking my sister for help
Still, one or two interesting things do happen 
Tonight for instance you exclaimed: there, it’s raining
We went up to the window
But it was only the sound of someone pissing on the roof next door
Or, the other night, when I was writing in the tiny room
With the light on - someone from the street said loudly
Go to sleep, motherfucker

2) Calcutta

I really shall run away from this Calcutta one day
There’s only the sound of breaking glass in Calcutta
The clang of knives and forks being flung on the floor
I shan’t stay here
Here women knit all day and all night beneath a strange clock.

‎Mahadeb Saha‬ 

There's a chance that you might come back
That's why the monsoon is here before spring
That's why all the flowers have bloomed early
And morning has arrived before morning.

You show me the distant sky
A faraway world
But I want to see life round the corner
You want to show me inaccessible stars
Far-flung seashores
An extended horizon, remote mountains
You want to show me, even further away, 
A romantic island, a tranquil lagoon
I only want to see this familiar lake
The river nearby
You want to show me the enormous universe,
To take me close to eternity
My vision is limited
My eyes cannot see so far away
I only want to see the regions
That border on life
Leave the distant stars alone, show me
The map of proximity
Show me the river bank, the vine on the roof
The front yard
Not distant mysteries, I only want to unravel.

Parthapratim Kanjilal

1) To you, Bhaskar-da: 

I have known you for thirty-nine years
Since 1963, when people were already aware
Of your pen. You never
Considered me a trusted friend or supportive writer
But you loved chatting over a cup of coffee
In a tiny tea-shop.
But I used to love you
As a companion, friend, writer. I never
Felt discomfort talking to you
Just as James Corbett was the ideal Vaishnav even without being Hindu
You too were the ideal Christian though a Chakraborty
In every word of yours the bishop’s silver candlestick
Lived and loved, in the sounds of your conversation. Oh and
The reason I wrote the letter
So THAT happened on July 23, 2005. I was thinking 
We spoke so much, but I never told you about your work
In my own words, Bhaskar-da
You are the brightest and whitest among Bangla writers
That was when Gautam Basu from Annapurna and Shubhakal
Came to me with a folder – we looked at you for the last time 
Together, looked at your array of words in the folder once more
All of them white sapphires, I’m not exaggerating one bit, Bhaskar-da
Dazzling here, darkened there, flecked with gold or with silver
But white sapphires, all. How on earth was it possible.
I do not know. But I’m saying, there will never be another
Not even in Bangla.

2) The history of sunlight

In brothels there's little light and plenty of darkness, in which
Lechers appear like heavenly bodies and peep through
The bars to find the stars of the whores lying in bed...

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