Snippets: a wretched wonder plays in our blood

First let me confess, I am not a big fan of Jibanananda Das. I find him monotonous. Particularly, he uses a motif of confusion, a sort of style of rephrasing the last line, again and again in his poems that I find, frankly, very irritating.

His most famous poem is “Banalata Sen”. But, I believe he is his finest in another one of his poems, called “Bodh”, (loosely “realization or sense”). I will keep a discussion of this poem for another day.

His “At bochor ager ekdin”, (One day eight years back), is a rare, purely existentialist piece and pretty striking. In a remarkable resemblance to Albert Camu’s Outsider, a man kills himself for no apparent reason. The poem is literally a post-mortem of the reasons, or the lack thereof. One passage from this poem goes like this:

Narir hridoy – prem – shishu – griha – noi sobkhani
Ortho noy, kirti noy, soccholota noy –
Aro ek biponno bisshoy
Amader ontorgoto rokter bhitore
Khela kore
Amader klanto kore
Klanto – klanto kore

With apologies to his soul, I will break his meter and in a sort of Poe-like rhyme:

Love of a woman, a child, a home, not everything,
Neither wealth, nor fame, nor glory –
A wreched wonder plays in our blood,
Makes us tired, makes us weary.

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