Scheherazade Lost

Wrote this poem a few days back in English and then translated to my mother tongue Axomiya(Assamese). Posting both versions below as written.

Scheherazade Lost

I drank from the
goblet of your youth,
and enslaved for eternity
by your passion;
My soul, thirsty,
roams the streets of
Damascus of yore,
Sightless eyes explore
the meandering streets of
a Baghdad lost
to hubris of war;
Ears yarn for
endless stories of the
thousand nights
under a desert moon;
Alas, all I see
dancing on the skull of
a beheaded victim
of an undeclared war,
Silhouette of an
emaciated Scheherazade
lamenting for her freedom
and forgotten nights.

হেৰাই যোৱা শ্বেহেৰজাদী

পান কৰি তোমাৰ
যৌৱনৰ পিয়লাৰ পৰা,
অনন্ত কাললৈ হ’লো মই
তোমাৰ কামনাৰ ক্ৰীতদাস;
তৃষ্ণাতুৰ মোৰ আত্মাই
ফুৰে ঘূৰি
অতীতৰ দামাস্কাছৰ আলিবাটত
তোমাৰ সন্ধানত,
দৃষ্টিহীন চকুদুটিয়ে
যুদ্ধত হেৰাই যোৱা
বাগদাদৰ অলিয়ে গলিয়ে ফুৰে
তোমাকেই বিচাৰি,
কাণ দুখনে শুনিব বিচাৰে
মৰুভূমিৰ জোনাকৰ ছত্ৰছায়াত,
তোমাৰ মুখত
হেজাৰ নিশাৰ কাহিনী;
হায়, দেখো মাথোঁ মই,
অঘোষিত যুদ্ধৰ বলি
কোনো মৃতকৰ
ছিন্ন মস্তকৰ লাওখোলাত
নাচি থকা
শ্বেহেৰজাদীৰ ক্ষীণকায় ছায়াৰ

কৰুণ আৰ্তনাদ,
হেৰোৱা স্বাধীনতা আৰু
হেৰাই যোৱা হেজাৰ নিশাৰ
স্মৃতি সুৱঁৰি।


Featured image from Google

From Vault of Memories Past – (Continued)

[I wrote this poem over a span of one month. As the poem is long , I shall post it in parts every Friday. It’s a poem about love but some may find the content semi-erotic. Lest their finer senses be disturbed, be aware and proceed at your own risk.]

Link to the previous part : https://wp.me/p73yZZ-4lh

Part I

You came!
It’s been ages since you left,
And all I could do was wonder,
What went wrong?
Spent days and night,
Seeking an answer,
What took you so long?
[1]

Time has left its mark,
My cataract eyes unfocused,
Let me get my glasses,
Let me get an eyeful,
And ascertain,
The image that I have,
Is the same.
[2]

What, forget my glasses,
Keep my eyes shut?
Then let me feel you,
The way I felt you,
An eon ago,
On that sun-lit meadow,
Under the trees.
[3]

Let me touch your lips,
Does it still quiver,
And speak without speaking,
The meanings of
Your unspoken words,
Rushing through my veins,
Radiating warmth
During nights of
The coldest moon.
[4]

[November 25, 2020]

© Pranabendra Sarma, 2021

My dog one-upped me

It was a lazy summer day yesterday. After lunch I was sitting languidly on the sofa, dozing off from time to time, trying to decide if I should take a nap on the sofa or do something else like going to bed. In one of those blissfully sub-conscious moment my concentration was broken by the notification sound from my cell phone. Though I had made a promise to myself that I would not keep my phone anywhere near me while sleeping, I didn’t realize that the cell phone would find a loophole on that promise. Afterall  a nap is not sleep, so the phone attached itself to my hand as I was dozing on and off.

That notification was a message in our family WhatsApp group from my daughter who was sitting on another sofa near mine and was doing what girls normally do, scrolling through social media, texting, watching TV and more social media while engaging in her obsession during her stay at home. She takes photos of our dog Skooby constantly and then shares it wherever she can. Yesterday was no exception.

The summer heat must have contributed to my fuzzy logic, otherwise I can’t think of any reason why I succumbed to my temptation. That notification from my cell phone was of a message in Whatsapp with a photo my daughter had taken of our dog Skooby as he slept blissfully next to us. He didn’t have a cellphone to disturb his beauty sleep, a process in which I had enormous contributions from taking him out every morning and evening on his long walk and cooking his delicious dinner every evening. Well, to make a long story short, I uploaded that photo to my Facebook story with an one word comment and then forgot about it. So far so good, no issues. I went back to my dozing and Skooby kept on sleeping.

Come morning and my eyes were wide open. That photo of Skooby overnight garnered 10x more views that any of my Facebook posts ever got in a day. So unfair. I spend hours on writing a post and all Skooby did was just sleep. He didn’t even bother to take his selfie nor post his photo.

What do we call this? A picture worth a thousand words? Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder? Brief attention span of purveyors of the internet? I am having hard time to accept that photo of a sleeping Skooby beat my thoughtful compositions. Unless of course the world has gone to the dogs, a possibility I can’t ignore.

Meanwhile I am trying to explore ways how to train Skooby to write my blog to attract more traffic. Any suggestions?

From Vault of Memories Past

I wrote this poem over a span of one month. As the poem is long , I shall post it in parts every Friday. It’s a poem about love but some may find the content semi-erotic. Lest their finer senses be disturbed, be aware and proceed at your own risk

Introduction

Thirty six years back, on a hot summer night I left my home and boarded a train to my alma mater in Varanasi, India on my way to a land and future unknown. With lots of dream in my eyes and a nearly empty pocket, with a passport and visa on hand, I left the comfort of a secure job for an uncertain future.

That I will write something, that too poetry, was furthest from my mind on that day. Fast forward thirty years, I was writing poems, had a blog going and before I knew it six years have passed. However I was restless. I just couldn’t sit still for hours on and keep on writing. So my poems were short, some really short. I was even afraid to attempt to write short stories. Then the pandemic happened and the world turned on its head. Who thought that people would be stuck in their homes for months with nowhere to go, basically grounded by a microscopic virus.

Through all the sufferings and loss, people coped with the situation in their own way. At the end of November of 2020, I sat down to attempt writing a long poem with a consistent theme. I kept at it for nearly four weeks, writing atleast a stanza every day. The result was a poem in six parts with fifty three stanzas and nearly five thousand five hundred words with a prologue and an epilogue.

Now came the hard part. I was sure that this long poem would need editing before being published. Editing was not my forte. So first I requested my daughter, who had a knack for writing, to read and edit the poem, but when I discussed with her the theme of the poem she refused. Maybe she felt that I lost my nuts. I then approached my eldest son to review and edit. After much hemming and hawing, he did few stanzas and then he stopped. There it languished for more than six months till I decided today to post it in parts, couple of stanzas every week on Fridays for next few weeks.

So, here it is. I start with the prologue and from next Friday will start with the first two stanzas of part I. Appreciate my readers constructive criticism.

Prologue

The voice was mellifluous;
The magic was still there;
Maybe age had softened it a little;
A little tired, little sad,
But the first “Hello, Love”,
Lit the fiery passion in my heart,
A fire that was kept well hidden,
Dormant for so long;
Blood rushed to my head,
I wanted to shout with joy,
Words rushing choked my throat,
Wanted to hug her hard,
And smother her with warm kisses,
But before I could say a word,
The voice from the past
Whispered in my ears,
Love of mine, keeper of my
Heart and soul,
Did you guard my youth well;
Because today I have come
To ask it back,
To recreate the magic of eons ago,
When on a meadow far away
As the sun set, and
Under a moonlit sky,
Inhibitions were shed,
Lust vanquished,
Passion calmed,
Love reigned,
I gave myself to you,
Carried you in me always,
A flower blossomed,
And we became one.
[December 17, 2020]

© Pranabendra Sarma 2021

Martyr to Truth

The path to truth
is a lonely one;
One not littered by
carcass of sycophants;
The day you step
on that path,
Rest assured that misery
shall keep you company
till your last breath;
Careful, lest you fall prey
To intolerance that you despise;
The day you step aside from truth,
and step gingerly,
Fearful of hurting feelings, and
Practice political correctness,
You die.

From that moment onward,
with an aching heart,
Lonely and miserable,
Your skeleton marches,
The rotting bones whisper
in your ears,
Words of wisdom
that you feel are true;
Alas,
No longer alive,
Your silence speaks for you;
And soon,
Another martyr to truth
bites the dust.

My Soul Waits

I walk the lonely trail,
Sun beating down on my head,
Cool breeze caresses and
Dries the sweat trickling down my face,
There suddenly in the middle of the
Sun baked trail,
I find myself,
Bare naked in my clothes,
My soul revealed for a fleeting moment.

Alas, I forget Frost, and
Shun the path less traveled,
Eternity beckons, but
The well marked trails lead me home;
My soul waits for another day.

An illusion named Time

One that cannot be purchased,
Neither saved nor spent,
Cannot be owned nor enslaved,
Cannot be donated,
Nor received as gift,
What difference does it make,
On or in our hands,
An illusion
We think we have,
We measure and be precise,
We boast and we prance,
How much we saved or spent,
And then boom,
It stands still,
Eternity embraces,
Fragments of fossilized bones
Tell stories of
End of an illusion.

Impatience of Youth: Tender and Who

This poem is written in response to Ronovan’s weekly haiku challenge, the words for this week being “Tender and Who”. In addition to that Ronovan introduced a new twist to his challenge that he called Shi Rensa Haiku. Check it out by clicking on the link (Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku #364).

Asked tender rose bud,
Who are you and why running,
Wait, smell the roses.

Wait, smell the roses,
Said old man by the roadside,
Who you running from?

Who you running from?
Youth I met on the road asked;
To find me I run.

To find me I run;
Cries the child, a life ruined;
Impatience of youth.


(Ronovan Writes Weekly Haikus #364)

Sanity in a World Gone Mad

I have been writing sporadically during last year or so and have been absent from my blog for long time at a stretch. Hopefully in a few months things start to be normal, whatever the new normal means. After a long time I translated a poem that I wrote yesterday to my mother tongue Axomiya (অসমীয়া / Assamese), Bengali and Hindi. I have no formal training in Bengali or Hindi and I do feel that I am getting rusty. I only wish that the poem was more uplifting. Oh well, maybe it is the sign of the times. I post the poem and the translations in the order written.

Sanity in a World Gone Mad

Soothed by faith,
Lulled into submission,
Mortgaged my brain
and I followed,
This path leads to
the sacrificial altar,
Blind followers
to be ordained,
And the blood of
meeks shall flow.

For a dollop of peace,
For promise of security,
I sold my heart;
To stop the incessant shrieks
of an wounded heart
ringing in my ears,
I cut open my heart,
and let it bleed;
A call for action subdued,
I followed,
An easy path
that leads to the gallows;
I sacrificed my humanity.

Don’t ask for your rights,
Lest you be labeled
a mental case,
Don’t ever dare to question,
Lest you be called
a traitor,
Sword of faith, or
Guillotine of nationalism,
Dangles over your head,
Off with yours,
The blind followers chant.

Dare not look for one,
To lead you from
darkness to light,
For one who comes
from amongst you
shall ask for sacrifice
that you are not
ready to make;
For you have already
mortgaged your brain,
bartered your heart,
To the merchants who promised,
Peace, prosperity and security,
For blind faith;
And delivered death.

I met the mad man
sitting alone in the street corner,
I extended my hand and assured,
I shall take him to the healers
and he shall be
sane again;
Our eyes met in silence,
Mockingly his asked,
Caged in a world gone mad,
You are promising insanity
to one who is sane?
Are you God,
Or his broker?

এখন পাগল পৃথিৱীত মানসিক সুস্থতা

ধৰ্ম-বিশ্বাসৰ সান্ত্বনাৰ
নিচুকণিত বশ গৈ,
বিবেকক থৈ বন্ধকত,
অনুগামী হ’লো;
এই পথে লৈ যাব
বলিশালৰ বেদীলৈ
য’ত অন্ধ ভক্ত সকলৰ
হ’ব অভিষেক,
আৰু হ’ব
বিনীত জনৰ ৰক্তপাত।

এটুপি শান্তিৰ বাবে,
সুৰক্ষাৰ প্ৰতিশ্ৰুতিৰ বিনিময়ত,
বেচি দিলোঁ মোৰ অন্তৰখন;
মোৰ ক্ষত-বিক্ষত হৃদয়ত
অহৰহ বাজি থকা চিঞৰে
অতিষ্ঠ কৰা মোৰ কৰ্ণ কুহৰৰ
অবিৰত শব্দ ৰুধিবলৈ,
কাটি পেলালো কলিজা মোৰ,
বৈ যাব দিলোঁ কলিজাৰ তেজ;
ক্ৰান্তিৰ আহ্বান কৰি দমন,
অনুগামী হ’লো ম‌ই,
সহজ পথৰ কৰিলোঁ অনুসৰণ
ফাঁচিকাঠৰ অভিমুখে;
মানৱতাৰ মোৰ কৰিলোঁ বলিদান।

হ’ব যদি খোজা নাই অভিহিত
মানসিক ৰোগগ্ৰস্ত বুলি,
নুখুজিবা প্ৰাপ্য তোমাৰ;
নকৰিবা প্ৰয়াস কৰিবলৈ প্ৰশ্ন,
নহ’লে জানোচা হোৱা পৰিচিত
দেশদ্ৰোহী বুলি;
ধৰ্মৰ তৰোৱালখন নাইবা
দেশপ্ৰেমৰ গিলোটিন,
আছে ওলমি তোমাৰ শিৰৰ ওপৰত,
শিৰচ্ছেদ, শিৰচ্ছেদ,
গৰ্জে অন্ধ ভক্তগণ।

নিবিচাৰিবা এনে এজন,
তিমিৰৰ পৰা আলোকলৈ
যিজনে কৰিব পাৰে দিকদৰ্শন,
আহিব যিজন ওলাই
জনতাৰ মাজৰ পৰা,
বিচাৰিব স্বাৰ্থ বলিদান,
অপাৰগ তোমালোক কৰিবলৈ ত্যাগ;
কিয়নো ৰাখিছা বন্ধকত
বিবেক তোমালোকৰ,
হৃদয়ক কৰিছা বিক্ৰী
বণিকৰ ওচৰত, যিয়ে
অন্ধ ভক্তিৰ বিনিময়ত দিয়ে
শান্তি, সমৃদ্ধি, সুৰক্ষাৰ প্ৰতিশ্ৰুতি,
আৰু মৃত্যুৰ কৰে বিতৰণ।

আলিবাটৰ দাতিত
বহি থকা পগলাজনক
পাইছিলো লগ মই ,
আগবঢ়াই সাহায্যৰ হাত
দিলোঁ আশ্বাস,
লৈ যাম তেওঁক ম‌ই
বৈদ্যৰ ওচৰলৈ,
নিৰাময় হ’ব তেওঁ, হ’ব সুস্থ;
নিৰৱে মিলন হ’ল চকুৰ আমাৰ,
উপলুঙাৰ দৃষ্টিৰে কৰিলে প্ৰশ্ন,
পগলা হৈ যোৱা পৃথিৱীত
পিঞ্জৰাবদ্ধ তুমি,
মানসিক বিকাৰৰ প্ৰতিশ্ৰুতি
আহিছা দিবলৈ সুস্থ মানৱক?
তুমি ভগবান, নে
তেওঁৰ দালাল?

এক পাগল পৃথিবীতে মানসিক সুস্থতা

ধর্ম-বিশ্বাসের আশ্বাসনে
নতি স্বীকার করে পরলাম ঘুমিয়ে,
মস্তিষ্ক বন্ধকী রেখে
হলাম অনুগামী,
এই পথ নিয়ে যাবে
কোরবানির বেদিতে,
যেখানে অন্ধ ভক্তগণের
হবে অভিষেক,
এবং প্রবাহিত হবে রক্ত
বিনম্র জনের।

একটুখানি শান্তির জন্যে,
সুরক্ষার প্রতিশ্রুতির বিনিময়ে,
বেচে দিলাম চিত্ত আমার;
আমার ক্ষত-বিক্ষত চিত্তের
অহরহ চিৎকারে
অতীষ্ঠ হয়ে উঠা কর্ণপটহের
অবিরত শব্দ করতে অবরুদ্ধ,
কেটে ফেললাম হৃদয় আমার,
বয়ে যাক রক্ত হৃদয়ের;
ক্ৰান্তির ডাক করিয়া দমন,
অনুগামী হয়ে করেছি অনুসরণ
সহজ পথের,
যে পথ নিয়ে যায়
ফাঁসির দিকে;
মানবতার আমার দিয়েছি কোরবানি।

চাওনা যদি ডাকে কেও তোমাকে
পাগল বলে,
করোনা দাবি অধিকার তোমার;
হতে যদি চাওনা অভিহিত
দেশদ্রোহী বলে,
করোনা সাহস প্রশ্ন করতে;
ধর্মের তরোয়াল বা
জাতীয়তাবাদের গিলোটিন,
ঝুলছে তোমার মাথার উপর,
কেটে ফেলো মাথা, কেটে ফেলো মাথা,
গর্জায় অন্ধ ভক্তগণ।

করোনা সাহস খুঁজতে এমন জনের
দেখাবে যে পথ তোমাদের
অন্ধকার থেকে আলোয়,
আসবে যে তার জন্য
তোমাদের মাঝ থেকে,
কোরবানী চাইবে সে,
প্রস্তুত নয় তোমরা
স্বীকার করতে ত্যাগ;
তোমাদের তো আছে ইতিমধ্যে
মস্তিষ্ক বন্ধকী,
চিত্ত করেছো বিক্রি,
বণিকদের কাছে,
অন্ধ বিশ্বাসের বিনিময়ে যারা
দিয়েছিলো প্রতিশ্রুতি
শান্তি, সমৃদ্ধি এবং সুরক্ষার;
এবং মৃত্যু করেছেন দান।

রাস্তার কোণে একা বসে থাকা
এক পাগলের সাথে
হয়েছিল দেখা আমার,
হাত বাড়িয়ে দিয়েছিলাম আশ্বাস,
নিয়ে যাব তাকে আমি
বৈদ্যের কাছে,
এবং সে হবে নিরাময়,
আবার সুস্থ;
চোখাচোখি হলো নীরবে আমাদের,
চোখে যেন একটু তার
জিজ্ঞাসা বিদ্রুপের,
পাগল হয়ে গেছে এমন এক পৃথিবীতে
খাঁচাবন্দি তুমি,
দিচ্ছো প্রতিশ্রুতি পাগল হওয়ার
এক সুস্থ মানুষ কে?
তুমি কি ঈশ্বর,
না দালাল ঈশ্বরের?

पागल दुनिया में अक्लमंदी

धर्म विश्वास से आश्वस्त
वशीभूत शान्त,
गिरवी रख दी दिमाग,
और हो गई अनुयायी;
ले जाता है यह मार्ग
कुर्बानी के वेदी की ओर,
अंध भक्तो को होगा दीक्षा,
और बिनम्र जनता के
बहेगा खून।

थोड़ी सी शांति के लिए,
सुरक्षा के वादे के बदले में,
बेच दी दिल अपना;
अवरुद्ध करने के लिए
मेरे जख्मी दिल का
निरंतर चीख,
असहनीय वे आवाज
हर वक्त में‌रे कानों में,
मैंने अपनी दिल की
कोटल कर दि,
बहने दिया लहु को;
अनुयायि हो गया
एक सहज मार्ग का,
ले जा रहा है रास्ता यह
फांसी के और;
मैंने अपनी मानवता को
दिया कुर्बानी।

अगर चाहते नहीं
कोई कहे तुम्हें पागल,
दावा न करो
अपने अधिकारों का;
यदि चाहते नहीं
देशद्रोही कहें तुम्हे कोई,
हिम्मत ना करो
सवाल करने की;
धर्म की तलवार या
राष्ट्रवाद की गिलोटिन,
लटके हुए है
सिर पर तुम्हारे;
काट दो सिर, सिर काट दो,
दहाड़ते अंधे भक्त।

करो ना हिम्मत तलाश की,
कोई जो मार्ग दिखाते हैं
अंधकार से प्रकाश की ओर,
जनता के बीच से आयेगा जो
उसका लिए,
मांगेगा कुर्बानी वह,
तैयार नहीं हैं कोई
करने को स्वार्थ त्याग;
गिरवी है दिमाग पहले से,
बेच दिए हो दिल
उस बनियों को, जो
अंधभक्ति के बदले में
किया वादा
शांति, समृद्धि और सुरक्षा के;
और दिया मृत्यु के बरदान।

मिले एक पागल से,
अकेले बैठा हुआ
गली के कोने में,
बढ़ाया हाथ अपना,
दिया आश्वासन,
ले जाऊंगा मैं उसे
वैद्य की पास,
सब कुछ होगा सही-सलामत,
और वह फिर से स्वस्थ;
खामोशी में मिले आंखें हमारे,
कुछ उपहास सा था उसके
नज़रों के सवालों में,
कैदी हो तुम एक
पागल दुनिया की,
और करते हो वादा
पागलपन की उसे,
जो अक्लमंद हो?
भगवान हो तुम?
या उसका दलाल?