To Have Loved and Lost: Words of the Bard

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A continuation of one of my previous posts, a song of Rabindranath Tagore in translation, in this post, I will yet again attempt to translate the lyrics of a song by the bard. As in my previous post, ‘Tobu Mone Rekho (And, still, remember me)’, I would like to add that the inspiration behind this translation came from reading the works of numerous scholars and exponents, who have taken painstaking efforts to dissect, analyze and reanalyze Tagore’s treasure trove of songs, poems and prose and spread it to the rest of the world. This particular song, written in 1883, is about losing a loved one, the austerity and the sudden cessation that are part of it. It is a widely known fact that Tagore’s sister-in-law, Kadambari Devi, whom he lost very untimely, had been a silent anchor behind his literary works, and her death, plagued him with the burden of grief and loss, yet also showered his path with light, meaning and bliss. The lyrics of this song are said to be the poet’s solemn, subtle and spontaneous reaction to losing a person so dear to his soul. The song, a melodious rendition, is based on the theme of death and mourning, and the poet’s world of consciousness centered on the domain of death. It can also be described as a wistful refrain on the death of a loved one and the poet pining, lamenting the loss with his ardent, loving soul.

 

আমার    প্রাণের ‘পরেচলেগেলকে

বসন্তের   বাতাসটুকুরমতো।

সেযে    ছুঁয়েগেল, নুয়ে গেল রে–

ফুল      ফুটিয়ে গেল শত শত।

সে       চলে গেল, বলে গেল না– সে   কোথায় গেল ফিরে এল না।

সে       যেতে যেতে চেয়ে গেল    কী যেন গেয়ে গেল–

তাই     আপন-মনে বসে আছি কুসুমবনেতে।

সে       ঢেউয়ের মতন ভেসে গেছে,   চাঁদের আলোর দেশে গেছে,

যেখান দিয়ে হেসে গেছে,  হাসি তার    রেখে গেছে রে–

মনে হল আঁখির কোণে    আমায় যেন ডেকে গেছে সে।

আমি     কোথায় যাব, কোথায় যাব, ভাবতেছি তাই একলা বসে।

সে       চাঁদের চোখে বুলিয়ে গেল ঘুমের ঘোর।

সে       প্রাণের কোথায় দুলিয়ে গেল ফুলের ডোর।

কুসুমবনের উপর দিয়ে কী কথা সে বলে গেল,

ফুলের গন্ধ পাগল হয়ে সঙ্গে তারি চলে গেল।

হৃদয় আমার আকুল হল,    নয়ন আমার মুদে এলে রে–

কোথা দিয়ে কোথায় গেল সে॥ ((The lyrics in original Bengali, courtesy: Geetabitan.com)

 

Who is it that touched my heart, trampled my soul

And went away, like the intoxicating breeze of spring?

Is it she who touched and bent me,

Blooming a hundred flowers while leaving?

 

She went away, wordless, to a distant land and never came back.

Looking at her path as she went, singing a nameless melody.

I am seated, forlorn, with myself, in the garden of love.

 

She has floated in waves, rippled in the sky,

Went away to an ethereal kingdom of the moonlight.

She has left her untainted smile on her way.

I felt as if she reckoned me, with the corner of her wistful eyes.

Sitting alone, I am lost in thoughts: where do I go from here?

 

She waved her wand and the eyes of the moon closed in slumber.

She dangled a bunch of flowers deep within me.

Her words were like whispered love in the ears of the wild flowers

The heady fragrance of the flowers followed her, became one with her.

With a heaving heart, with fervent eyes, I sit and think,

Which path did she take, which place did she go!

 

P.S. I would like to add here that with this translation, I hope to pay a small homage to the loving memory of my mother who has been a keen devotee of the songs, poems and literary works of Tagore. Since she has transferred this unquestioned devotion to me in my childhood, I had to come back to none other than the bard himself to reiterate my thoughts on what our relationship had been about, and how the memory of her love would keep me going for the rest of my life. This one is also for you, Ma!

Listen to Sagar Sen’s soulful rendition at Youtube.com:

 

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