Banalata Sen

(A translation of the poem by Jibanananda Das)

For a thousand years I am walking the roads of earth,
From Ceylon seas to Malay ocean nights
Bimbisar-Ashoka’s far grey homes and hearths
I was there then; farther yet, among Vidarbha’s dark sights
I’m tired, around me life’s seas foam and strain,
A brief rest I had found with Banalata Sen.
Her hair a night of ancient Vidisha’s dark
Her face Shravasti’s sculpture; on far seas of yore
Like the lost sailor on his broken bark
Sees green realms of grass on a cinnamon shore,
I’ve seen her in darkness; “What took you so long?” she said then.
Her eyes like bird-nests lifted, – Banalata Sen.
At day’s end like the sound of dropping dew
Evening comes; the aroma of sun Kite washes off his wings;
The colours of Earth go out, and scripts then brew
Twilight tales with firefly-hued glimmerings
All birds fly home – all streams – all of life’s dealings are rested then,
Only the dark remains, and to sit along with Banalata Sen.

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