Jibanananda Das's alluring poem "Dispassionate"
(Translation: A.H. Jaffor Ullah)
There happens to be a port for light-skinned gals on the shore of Malay Sea.
Seen many a sea all across the globe; been through Kuala Lumpur, Java,
Sumatra, Indochina, and Bali where the blue mist laden sunís ray had touched me.
Now it pains me to see a tan Malayan woman crying all day long.
She watches a blue hued desolate place on the shore of the sea.
There happens to be white colored cottages scattered inside a palm grove.
Those look whiter in the daylight just as fireflies would shine in the dark.
Light skinned couples milled around there just as crabs would hug a seashore,
They spend their times, the Malaya woman frets and flusters by mistake,
She cries watching this blue hued desolate place on the shore of the sea.
At the turn of the century, many ocean voyagers were heading this way,
towards this constricted harbor; thanks a million to the trade wind.
Because of the good fortune bestowed by trade wind, one day the wasteland
became filled with palm trees, opaque liquors, brothel, culverts, kerosene. Now she
zealously guards this blue hued desolate place on the shore of the sea all daylong.
She watched cloud-filled sunrays from a distance all day long with her lustful eyes;
she turned forty-nine now. The wind from a dispersed zephyr still blows;
They keep those white cottages cooled all daylong now.
Red dirt filled road perks up the red spire of a church is visible amidst greenery.
The blue hued desolate place now ceases to exist. Having done with my ledger of life
The original Bangla poem appeared in "The darkness of seven stars"
Dr. A.H. Jaffor Ullah, a researcher and columnist, writes from New Orleans, USA.
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