Bishnu Dey (1909-1982 / Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India)
There are forests on either side,
in the middle a glistening path twists and turns
dancing to the rhythm of nature.
From time to time eyes glow in the dark
and little rabbits dance and jump around.
Amidst the palash bushes on the round hillock
I have seen wild peacocks dance
in sudden delight.
In the shade of my tent the golden sitar sounds
from the stream match that grace.
Deer come cautiously to the edge of the river
to drink water at the call of the ancient hermit Sindhu.
A cheetah darts by with a greedy fierce leap,
awakening kathakali rhythms with its wild speed.
Where is that forest, there's no settlements either,
only endless plains, and the lament of dry air.
The forest is cleared, the village has died,
there's no signs of a city, and the
peacocks have been butchered and sold.
Why in this country are people silent and helpless?
Why are rivers trees and mountains so unimportant?
How long do I have to wander all over the country carrying my tent?
When will us expatriates build our own homeland?
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