The End of Exile: Sunil Gangopadhyay

Take my hand, Jamuna, we’re going to heaven
Come, lock your mouth, your eyes, your body, with mine
Come as pure as a fresh leaf
Heaven isn’t very far, like the voices that waft in from
The North Sea when spring is in exile, like the warmth of winter
From the arm that owes a debt to another’s breasts. Take my hand, Jamuna, We’re going to heaven.

My time abroad ended today, such a sweet parting
Man has never known. Jamuna is my companion – a thousand handkerchiefs
Wave towards heaven, Jamuna, I ensure you’re a close neighbour to the constellations,
Are you actually not the legendary tears of the star
Named Swati?
Are you not the moonlit night in the fragrance of the lime leaf left behind?
Are you not a slender stick of incense? You’re no one
You’re forgetfulness, you’re made of sounds, the colour of woman, in your breasts and thighs
You are woman
In travel and in rest you are the thirst for love in every book
Woman to trusting eyes, in sweat and hair, in the dirt under cracked nails
In every molecule you are woman, woman within woman, beauty laughing in emptiness,
You are the heretic Manisha’s taunt, every young poet’s
Neera, touching your sweetness through error and sleep,
All the rants and angry greed become river currents
Because you kiss sinners, the sentries unlock heaven’s gates
Is this what you’re like? You’re no one
Except my Jamuna.
Take my hand, let us add the rhythm of dance to descriptions
Of embarrassed scenes from life, come, take my hand
I have suffered too much on this earth, in distrust
I am a murderer, I am a cheat in the underground city, a fugitive
In the forest, a debtor at the meatshop, I disrupt celebrations as
A spy in disguise!
But despite my doubts I have not forgotten the way to paradise, like my former homeland
You know nothing, neither love nor a low-hung heaven, which is just as well
You are the adolescent river, the currents of forgetfulness, the reward of evening…

Come, little girl, let’s play in the garden of heaven today

[ Original: Probasher Sheshe ]

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