A certain man


The man has no fame or position

and yet merely thinking of him all day and night

people are struck in sheer admiration.


The man has no place anywhere to stay

on wayside dirt his auspicious hours are spent

in his hand a bobbin of fancy he holds in sway.


The man has no concern with anyone

neither the village chief, nor the owner of the mill,

and yet sleep comes easily to none

on the man’s shoulder a strange mynah perches still.


Many people say and so also do I

the man chews sunlight for his meal

and his favorite drink is the moonlight flooding the sky

he lights up a thousand lamps and then again

puts them off at his own sweet will.


Arrayed in a cloak of clouds, he wanders to and fro

down to the place where the gentries dwell

doesn’t get tired one bit in the hilly grotto

to the rapping on the door he responds as well.


And yet so many loudly protest

the man sleeps from sunrise to sunset

drawing the moon as a pillow close to his chest.


Shamsur Rahman
tr. from the Bengali by Shankar Sen