Foolish, not Social
Returning home do you feel you talked too much?
Cleverness, do you feel very tired?
Do you feel like sitting quiet in the blue cottage
Burning incense, after a bath, on return?
Do you feel like wearing a human body at last
After taking off the demon’s dress?
Liquid time carries moisture into the room.
Do you feel like an ananta-shayana on her floating raft?
If you feel like that, come back. Cleverness, go away.
Does it really matter?
Let them say foolish, let them say unsocial.
— Sankha Ghosh
Note: ananta-shayana: Vishnu sleeping on the cosmic serpent Ananta.
I received this poem on the Minstrels mailing list, to which I had subscribed recently. The original is in Bengali, but this English translation is quite delightful too. Of late, I have tended to rhyme and metre far more than I used to, partly influenced by my fondess for Vikram Seth’s poetry, and partly because I have started to enjoy it anyway. But this poem comes as a timely reminder that metre and rhyme aren’t all. It paints quite a picture, doesn’t it? Something utterly graceful about it, I can’t quite put a finger on.
What is the bengali word for cleverness?