অনিমিখ পাত্র

Selected Poems of Debarati Mitra

Translated from Bengali by Animikh Patra

In the drawing room

Our evening was a library.
Friends are born as books this time –
Aroma wafting through their bodies,
They are black birds against white clouds:
In the woods of Shami trees at night
fire walks stumbling.

My brother is a moth,
He wanted to get inside the books repeatedly,
Sisters were incense smoke
wrapped in the leaves.
And I am a glass almirah.
Shadow of the southern hemisphere in the small room.


In Paloma College

No dust gathered this year in the summer vacation
on tables, chairs in closed rooms.
Prolonged leisure under lock and key was filled with sound of birds flying
Window sides were filled with songs, blissful sums, cozy portrayals.
A conjurer with net for catching rabbits
whatever he catches becomes a face, only upto the shoulders,
nothing after that –
Yet I fear not, so beautiful!

In the light vibrating like carrot soup
listen in the depth of a teenage girl’s dance, listen to the mandolin,
from a resonating tree – green seeps into pond water
widened black like the eyes of a fish.
I don’t like to blow bubbles of letters anymore,
pages of books seem to be awakened cocoon
cutting the net flew away in the stream of air.

In summer vacation, in the closed rooms
not a tip of dust gathered this year.


Bath of a young man

Climbing down a disheveled flight of steps
the young man has come to bathe
orchestra plays in the hilly tunnels
from the tree’s uterine cone
colourful drops of fire splashed into the fountain
He rolls down trembling in the waves
suddenly getting off
a bright tight string

Comes flying water like a possessed virgin
and breaks him
and by breaking takes away
natural artistry of white marble
one of the sleeping thighs
in silent womb
dragged birthplace of distant hills

mingled that Sun’s sloth nostalgia
clouds of dense woods wrapped with leaves.


Gray flag

There are your blue pants left in the bushes,
You are nowhere.
Are you an ancient bird, the creator-male are you?
Did you use to fly in air with clothes on?
Nowadays I get so intoxicated that I remember nothing.
Only once you were in front of me just at noon time,
Green from the dense woods was on your eyes,
your age two-four minutes younger to me.
As soon as you called my name with a tune,
blown me two-five times with your wings,
struck on my lips with your beaks,
I readily fainted.

You have swallowed all colors
and wandering being the sky,
and I didn’t notice you.

What are those in the bushes?
Why are there so many blue feathers?

This is my life, misery of an ant.


The Sky, Death and Silence

People disdain
if I stitch the torn sky and wear it
Who cares
if the bowl of consciousness overflows with honey
When I am swallowing up light like sunflowers
and pour chirping of the birds
drilling deep into my head,
You mount the air like a horse
and gallop through the lanes at once.

I winnow the rice on a bamboo tray
I split open the hearts of the vegetables and take a look at their minds.
Mixing enthusiasm with mustard cumin and ginger
I cook hymns of the Vedas.
I walk high above this household
and keep falling into the garden well.
There, in the darkness coloured with wild grass flowers
The sky, death and silence.


Ritu, a girl

Ritu is a girl of quarter to eleven years
She scored two and half out of twenty in the Maths class test.
That means in percentage it becomes two point…
Just as I had begun to calculate it, a river mynah came and said: “Leave aside all these.
Look, how does a white cloud break into laughter,
Sunshine beats a tiny drum,
Ritu is wandering in this sparkling August wind.”

Ritu is a jasmine in summer
Burflower in monsoon.
Will she be with me even in winter, autumn and spring?
The dull moon of the dark fortnight like a chopped fruit –
I mistook it as the light coming from Shanta’s home,
Likewise, I perhaps mistook Ritu as a girl
instead of a bird.


Time Table of the Train

At dawn, quarter to five, the train is almost like a skeleton of an extinct Dodo
At nine in the morning: dense paddy field
When the clock strikes half past eleven:
rainwater, gathered inside a ditch among loose sands.
Quarter to three in the afternoon-
it becomes three or four moths that roam all day, alone.

At six forty in the evening
warm flavour and taste of roasted chicken
Almost a brutality at nine thirty four:
sting of amorous bees.
One and fifty five at night
Darkness like in the womb of goddess Kali, solitary.


My Failure

My failure is a beehive.
Into it, I pour teardrops fetched from various atonements.
Its core is like damp electricity.
Wood of dead oleanders is its exterior.
Had it been otherwise
I could not have linked my memories
with the skeleton of mossy green pond in summer.
The monsoon stream would be enough
for my rowing fancy,
The earth would be my chariot.
The inside of *amla fruits in the end of season
would be science.

Failure is a comatose tincture of tawny blue colour,
Rolls down to my brain, to my womb,
to my footsteps till death.
It is ventless like the subconscious of this mad woman,
never ever breaks down.

*amla – Indian gooseberry

You stay, Mom!

Damp washroom floor – I let my unkempt hair down and cry
What if my only blood-knot snaps off!
Mother, on one side of the scale are you,
on the other side of it is the whole Universe
completely weightless, hollow.

I was born out of a seashell,
now left in this muddy pigsty.
My hands of birth and deed wrestle with each other –
All my blood cells explode in blue fume
As if I have climbed a high rise in the sky
As if the light is eternally sudden.
There is no monster in this land,
No demon child would come and ask: Let me show your uvula.
The fairy moon has marked a sign of love on the forehead, a piece of cloud will paint the eye lines lovingly with kajal
I become a star and tremble amidst stars
while listening to the motherly songs.
STAY mom STAY mom STAY mom STAY.
Which way is the world after death – in that world
panting and walking alone in the darkness
What if I do not find you there!


Nearby Star

The car collided with the culvert in the jungle of Chilapata-
When did you, Did you ever…
Thinking of this, the anxious tyres on the back kept rolling and rolling
and entered into thinned jungle
and stopped as it reached the home of the mother of grasses
at the end of afternoon.
With silent little steps, would you come, being a blue fountain, and do wait at the time of dawn?
I will let all my longing blow towards South
From where he will get no reply.

Deaf peacock, I would not poke you anymore.
If I could pass through the web of pale bluish distant web of mist,
What is thereafter in the dark?
Aroma of pomelo flowers in the air –
The nearness between a star and another
You are that much close to me.
I keep thinking of this.



Yonder stands Death, I have to hold his hand.
His body flavoured with scent of cucumber,
He is not incorporeal, nor an incomprehensible line of a poem,
Sweet and dandy like my mother’s tuneful voice in her younger years.
Just when I was about to take an afternoon stroll
He said to me – Let’s go now.
He made a light tumbled down
to a different shadow on the other side of the sky
That motion doesn’t flip over in the wind,
doesn’t tremble in eloquent cry,
never stops,
Its lines dormant, its colours invisible sea.

Death didn’t talk to me,
Still I understand the workings of his mind.
He becomes a transparent and hardened diamond, and
While slicing my agony, he thinks
This is life too.

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2 Thoughts to “Selected Poems of Debarati Mitra”

  1. Marco

    failure is a substance that drips, but when it reaches the earth it fertilizes. thanks to the failure, new plants will be born. (Marco Marengo)

  2. Marco Ungumano Lerma

    Many thanks Animik, I read now NEL SALOTTO. Books are like forests of black symbols, which human beings can enter, only to discover that they have always been part of that world, literary and natural. Once upon a time humans lived in symbiosis with the woods, now some of us live in symbiosis with books.

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