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So here’s a poem composed in the Bengali language, about the mistical nature of wind and the feelings that wind evokes in my heart.
Quick note: batash (বাতাস) = bayu (বায়ু)
Poem in Bangla
তুমি বায়ু শুনো?
বায়ু আস্তে করে প্রবাহিত হয় বাঁশার পাশে,
বাঁশ কাঁদে যখন বাঁকানো,
পাতা খচমচ করে পকেটের পয়সা মতন.
তুমি বাতাস অনুভব করো?
বাতাস পুকুরের ছোট মাছের মতন- আস্তে চুল টানে,
আমার বৃদ্ধ মা মতন আদর করা,
কপালর ভাঁজ মুছা ফেলায়,
আর নিশ্চিন্ত মুছা ফেলায়.
প্রবাহিত এবং বন্ধ,
বাতাস আমার পাশ থেকে চলে যাই,
একটি অদৃশ্য নদী,
শ্যামলিমা জমি উপর থেকে ভ্রমণ করে,
চলে গেছে এবং আবার ফিরে.
English Phonetic Transliteration
Thumi bayu shuno?
Bayu aste kore prabahita hoi basher pashe,
Bash kande yakhan bakano,
patha Kochmoch kore poketer poisha mothon.
Thumi batash anubhab koro?
Batash pukur-er choto mach’er mothon- aste chool tane,
amar brudho ma mothon ador kore,
kapal-er baj muche phelay,
Ar niscinta muche phelay.
Prabahita ebong bondo,
Batash amar pash teke chole jai,
ekti adrysho nadi,
shamolima jami upar teke braman kore,
chole geche ebong abar phire.
Poem in English
Do you hear the wind?
Blowing gently passed the bamboo trees,
trunks groaning as they bend,
leaves rustling like change in my pocket.
Do you feel the wind?
like small fish from the pond- gently pulling on my hair,
caressing my face like my old mother,
wiping away the ridges/wrinkles on my forehead,
wiping away (my) troubles.
Flowing and Ebbing,
the wind passes by me,
an invisible river,
traveling the land of greenery,
Gone & Back Again.
Explanation of Poem
My previous Bangla poetry was based on themes of nature. So I decided to follow that route, this time choosing wind- also known as “বাতাস” or “বায়ু”. To start the poem, I wanted to introduce wind to the reader. And so asking a question, “do you hear the wind” felt like an appropriate way to do so.
Also by asking this question, the reader would subconsciously try to imagine hearing what wind sounded like. Wind by itself is invisible. But it makes sounds with the things that it interacts with- like bamboo trees. I chose bamboo trees or “বাঁশ”, because they are a pretty common tree in Bangladesh. It fits the setting.
Anyways, wind makes noise when it bends the trees. Wind also makes noise by passing by leaves. And to further illustrate the noise in the reader’s mind, I characterized the sound of bending trees as groaning, and leaves like coins when they bang into each other in a person’s pocket.
For the next stanza, I felt like it would make sense to follow a similar pattern to the first stanza. Following a pattern makes rhythm, and rhythm is a desirable characteristic in poetry.
So again I asked a question about wind, this time about how the wind felt. I wanted to ask a question related to the human sense of touch, because we experience wind by other than the sense of vision.
And so feeling wind is not the same as other types of bodies. For example, a solid body like a rock is tangible and can be held in the hand.
But wind is almost intangible, more so than water that at least we can cup in the palm of our hand. So how can someone describe the intangible touch of wind?
I suppose the tangibility of wind can be described with how it feels. It pulls or pushes on us, gently or strongly. I decided to go with a gentle wind, and describe it “like nibbling fish in the pond”.
The context of this phrase is that in Bangladesh, there are many ponds that can be found in the rural area. When a woman (or man) with long hair decides to swim in one of those ponds, they may literally find benign little fish biting at their hair.
No damage is done, but a gentle small tug is felt. I feel that this could describe the way wind pulls on our hair appropriately.
The next verse relates to the emotions wind evokes in me when I felt it. I remember when I sat next to a large pond in Bangladesh, the air that I felt there was almost as if taking away all the troubles in my mind.
What I’m trying to say is that the air or wind felt very cool, crisp, and relaxing. It was a pleasant experience that was better than any spa I’d imagine, in terms of relieving the stress.
So to deliver a similar calm feeling to my reader, I suggested that the wind felt as if it was “caressing my face like my old mother”. I chose this specific phrase because a caress is a gentle touch that is almost like a hug emotionally.
And to receive a caress from your mother is one of the best types of feeling, to be loved by your mother. The wind reminds me of that, although I think a mother’s touch is superior to how the wind feels.
Finally, the last two verses should be self explanatory. When we are stressed out for a long period of time, you should start to notice that wrinkles and creases start developing on the forehead from thinking too much. And when the stress goes away, so does the wrinkles.
The last stanza describes the changing nature of wind, “Flowing and Ebbing”. Sometimes you feel the presence of wind. And then its gone. To emphasize that this happens cyclically or more than once, I used the phrase, “Gone and Back again”.
So the way that wind comes to you and then leaves reminded me of a traveler who has gone to a distant land, and then returns back home.
I also describe that wind flows like an invisible river. You can’t see wind. But you can feel wind, passing by like water washing over your body in a river.
Have any questions? Did I make an error?Ask me in the comments. There is also some good Bangla learning material on Amazon.