POEMS OF SHYAMAL SINGHA: Nilabja Chakrabarti Transcreates

Shyamal SinghaShyamal Singha was born in 1949. Died in 2003. Very strange. Born on Children’s Day (14th November) and expired on the over-commercial love-day (14th February). In spite of writing throughout the decades of ‘70s and ‘80s, his first book was published in 1991. Moon and the limp balloon-seller. Two more followed: Painting the Sunset is Prohibited, and Baghajatin is waking up. Spent his whole life in Jalpaiguri, far from the maddening city of Kolkata. Urban recognition was never there. Ekhon has published Selected Shyamal Singha which includes his published and unpublished, collected and uncollected books and diary that makes us delve into the core of a real but thoroughly neglected poet.

The key behind preparing this first-ever online tribute to the revered poet, Nilabja Chakrabarti selects and translates 15 of his poems for the huge poetry-loving readership of India and abroad.



We are true friends
Transmitting shadows to each others bodies’

The silence of balloons
Giving birth to children

We are true friends


Your tears are
Bursting in the tube light

The train
Departed from the station long back

The world is different now


When far away
Wind becomes buffalo

When far away
Buffalo becomes wind


Vermilion is shared in foreheads
Flesh is cheaper now


A library daily
I get across
A library daily

By mistake
The mountain was not replaced by the hill

Let there be some mistakes
Else, the giraffe will not draw
The blueprint of sleep


The tomato glisters on the table
Are you married?

The tomato glisters on the table
Are you married?


The frog croaks. Its raining
Sitting inside the lady’s womb
I am absorbing
All the nightmares of a blotting-paper


The mayna is making the mirror
The shalik is breaking the mirror
He is running away
Within the shadows of ship


This fire has brought the cold –
She speaks out only this much
The wind creates the rest


You are wearing the red shoes
This locality is set on fire
You are wearing the red shoes
That locality is set on fire


The day is shortened in the tongue
I am sitting idle between the words
Just like the killer
The sea is to be prepared properly
After getting across the sour fruit, with Tibetan love
We’ll let fly the hat


He is teaching me the harder use of coins
He is teaching me the softer use of coins
Head in one side
Flag is flying inside the head
Tail in the other side
Tail ends in the tomb
When sunlight of my wings is faded
Coins roll towards the cemetery


The balloon is lonely
In the time of sorrow
Empty streets
I knock you
But still no rainfall


Conch-shell is wind up in a word
Nobody stays in the other side of river
These days
There is no postman
Letters, although are circulated
Throughout the day


Like a solitary mid-day
Buttons are sleeping
In the shirt

It all started with the breaking of the noon
And ended in a lamp
We could never come to know

About the true rabbits
Of your fingers


Special thanks to:

1) “Nirbaachita Shyamal Singha” (a collection of selected bengali poems by Shyamal Singha) published by ‘Ekhon’ bangla kabitar kagaj

2) Shree Subir Kumar Chakrabarti

About author

Nilabja Chakrabarti
Nilabja Chakrabarti 1 posts

Nilabja Chakrabarti is essentially a poet. His poems have been published in many a renowned Bengali magazines. His only novel was published in an online magazine. He was associated with BAAK- the first blog- magazine of Bengali language as a sectional editor for ‘This Month’s Poet’. He has three published books of poetry to his credit.

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