I’ll be honest, I’ve never been the biggest fan of poetry, at least compared to novels and short stories. Maybe I’m too lazy or not imaginative enough, but I get annoyed with the gaps, the white space, the ambiguity. I love descriptive language, but I want it to make sense. Art that is completely left to interpretation usually leaves me shrugging.
That’s one of the things I like so much about the poems in Open Box – the poets’ descriptions of people and places aren’t masked behind impossible-to-understand metaphors. They are just very well put.
Here is Rahool Goswami’s The Lazy Afternoon Tale, translated into English from its original Bengali:
Till yesterday, my afternoons were not as lazy.
It’s be the regular routine of college or work
Or adda or the collage of dust on the street.
Busy life – it never stopped, not for a moment,
But today …
The afternoon is endless;
After a long time, I am alone in my room today,
On a lonely afternoon.
Nupur, the neighbour’s daughter,
Comes to the veranda to pick up clothes she’d hung up to dry.
On seeing me she bursts into an innocent smile:
‘Oh Rana-da, you’re home? At this hour?’
Before I could respond,
Nupur’s mother calls her into her house:
She scrambles trying to arrange the dried clothes as she runs.
A slice of the veranda appears beyond the door curtain:
A few little birds twitter, fly around and settle in my vision;
I lie down on the bed,
And I remember how I would lay my sleeping head on my
In the house opposite ours, Aunt Mitali abuses a customer:
I guess, the man’s done what he wanted to do, but doesn’t want
to pay up …
I’ve heard this so many times since childhood that I feel nothing now.
Earlier, when neighbours cussed around,
Father would say,
‘Don’t listen to all that – just keep yourself busy’
I remember those words a lot,
The poems in the eBook are printed alongside the wonderful photographs of Bishan.
You can get a glimpse of Rahool introducing himself, ever so briefly, in the first video of this post. If the visa gods are on our side, then Rahool will be joining me in a couple weeks in Brussels for the Youth Summit of Interdependence Day. Also present will be Deneiber, Diego, Taslima, and Pati. That’s right, I will be playing the role of responsible adult chaperone. Álvaro has penned a nice post about the conference in Spanish.
Once these kids finally have their visas in hand, I will be feeling 200% less anxious.