Patri 3

I translated some poems from Purnendu Patri’s Kathapakathan II.

33.
You might laugh
but I swear wherever I see licks of flame
these days I am prostrate as if watching a movie.
Let me tell you the reason.
A couple of days ago I read somewhere
that on an unfortunate day of the national movement
Nandalal Basu had drawn a bunch of posters
to make invincible
anti-imperialism and the emergence of tortured people.
But in fear of police raids
all incendiary posters are in the belly of fire.
Immediately having read the news
In the fire stony faces of proud humans feeling fury
In the fire incessant glee for chain shattering
In the fire the shining magazines of Chattagram.
On one side applauding youth march toward a hangman’s platform
on the other side behind naked soldiers
in the blaze of my own chest, a rib-enflamed bone-skeleton.
It was like this for some days.
Then I forgot everything.
Suddenly several days ago another impact.
Lorca’s life’s-worth of sonnets were tucked
in a soldier friend’s pocket.
Within Franco’s butcher-fire
Both soldier and sonnet burnt to ashes in a day.
After having read the news
In the fire blood wedding’s sprinting horse
Behind the horse a crooked blade of unbridled lust
Behind the knife a blue moon’s red blood hunger
And the green guitar’s endless yellow mourning.
Believe me, Amitava
Now whenever I look at fire
I see the various alphabets of
Lorca’s sonnets burnt to ash, or these:
Heaven, death, murder, blood, wing,
mountain, love, rock, dagger, root,
urine, hate, laughter, breast,
liberty.

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1 Comment

  1. I love this. This line, too: “Lorca’s life’s-worth of sonnets were tucked / in a soldier friend’s pocket”- such a strong line, I can’t imagine that bit sounding better in Bengali (you should remove ‘were,’ though!). I think I’ll read about Patri on Wikipedia now and save your translations – thanks, I wonder if I’d ever come across him w/o coming across your posts


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