Saturday, June 13, 2015

Cat--a poem by Jibananda Das


Again and again through the day
I meet a cat.
In the tree's shade, in the sun, in the crowding brown leaves.
After the success of a few fish bones
Or inside a skeleton of white earth
I find it, as absorbed in the purring
Of its heart as a bee.
Still it sharpens its claws on the gulmohar tree
And follows the sun all day long.

Now I see it and then it is gone,
Losing itself somewhere.
On the autumn evening I have watched it play,
Stroking the soft body of the saffron sun
With a white paw. Then it caught
The darkness in paws like small balls
And scattered it all over the earth.

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I have been looking for poems on cats by Indian authors. Jibananda Das was a Bengali poet and writer[1899-1954]. I can't find the translator of the above version, and would appreciate it if someone could tell me.
Another version is below.


All day I inevitably encounter a cat here and there
In the shadow of trees or out in the sun, around
the pile of fallen leaves;
I catch sight of him, deeply engrossed like a bee,
with his own self
Embedded in the skeleton of white soil
Having successfully spotted some bones
of fishes somewhere;
But still, nevertheless, he scratches at the trunk
of the Krishnachura tree
All day he moves about stalking the sun.

Now he shows up here
The next moment he is lost somewhere.
I spot him in the autumn dusk playing around
As if, with his white paws, he is patting the supple body
of the saffron sun;
Then he nets up the tiny balls of darkness with his paw
And spreads them throughout the world.

Translated by Faizul Latif Chowdhury