Thursday Poem

Animal Planet

“I am the master of this universe, my fun and frolic are the only things that matter, besides which there is no other truth or mystery, inside this creation,”— Whenever the modern man thinks like this, he turns into a beetle. A stout, strong black beetle of the Amazon basin. He roams the branches of the rubber trees with a snobbish swagger. He sits in a coffee house of Rio de Janeiro, wearing spectacles and a grave expression on his face, indulging in intellectual discourse about musk and Michel Foucault. In fact that coffee house is nothing but a tall branch of a huge rubber tree, under which flows the river Amazon. And in the water of that river swims a ‘water-monkey’ fish. The fish has two very long beards on its chin. Amid the dense rainforest, suddenly the water-monkey fish jumps from the water up to a height of six feet in the air, neatly gobbles up the beetle in its mouth, and disappears under the waters of the river Amazon.

by Ranajit Das
from Sandhhyar Pagol (Lunatic of the Dusk)
publisher Saptarshi Prakashan, Kolkata, 2004
translation (original here): 2011, Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee