Circles of Light
by Bakul Banerjee

This poem honors Jibananada Das (1899 1955) who is acknowledged as a premier modern poet of Bengali literature

We, who walk over a deserted stubble field
on a frigid February evening, where, over the field's edge,
a wild ocean foams, where the sky woman scatters
star-flowers on the milky-way with one hand
and tries to catch their ephemeral reflections
with the other, before they fade away, mourn you.

We, who lived inside your expanding circles of light,
those closest, bathed in your illumination
and thrived, the rest of us who warmed ourselves
as we stepped into your glow every so often,
gather around to honor you in darkness,
still keep vigils for your private dreams.

We, who have heard wings of a brave but unknown bird
flutter among wind-blown tree branches scraping
against the roof, will remember another man
or a woman who left. Tiny buds disturbed by the bird
will fall to the ground. We remember the scent
of a baby's breath, grass, and a kingfisher, now lost again.

We, who have seen green leaves turn yellow
in the November darkness, will look for forsythia
waking up to flower in April. Then, fields will brim
with deep joy, flocks of geese will return to soothe
the hearts of sojourners left behind, who have understood
the reddish sunrise, this secret magic of life.


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