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Mainstream, Vol. XLVIII, No 38, September 11, 2010

Beyond the Ascent of the Starving Hill

Friday 17 September 2010

Beyond the ascent of the starving hill

We reach now this valley,

At the end of the precipitious battle of the roads,

Does this cool shade construct homes?

Here in trees life is sap,

Here in hutments songs are simple,

Here man’s honour lives easy.

Have we come to our life’s own valley?

We have crossed all our beggar days

Crossed with the wind of the azure sea,

We have fought out the famine nights

The cloudy nights, we have the Sun

With whom we build the autumn dawn.

There is no desert fear in that light,

No eroding floods in that October,

We are at ease in this vast valley.

The hill stands an architect holding the sky,

With hints of love, of the cloud and the Sun,

Of the farflung air of quickened freedom,

On this valley by the banks of streaming songs,

The light of laughter rays down on the land—

Oh! this our land is a poem indeed

Beyond the steep and starving hill,

Where the beggar days are at an end

In this valley of peace, green peace.

Bishnu Dey

[Translated from the original Bengali by the poet]

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