लाजून हासणे अन्‌ हासून हे पहाणे
मी ओळखून आहे सारे तुझे बहाणे

डोळ्यांस पापण्यांचा का सांग भार व्हावा ?
मिटताच पापण्या अन्‌ का चंद्रही दिसावा ?
हे प्रश्न जीवघेणे हरती जिथे शहाणे

हाती धनुष्य ज्याच्या त्याला कसे कळावे ?
हृदयात बाण ज्याच्या त्यालाच दुःख ठावे !
तिरपा कटाक्ष भोळा, आम्ही इथे दिवाणे

जाता समोरुनी तू उगवे टपोर तारा
देशातुनी फुलांच्या आणी सुगंध वारा
रात्रीस चांदण्याचे सुचते सुरेल गाणे


This is a carefully arranged song of early love, or rather, of attraction. It is difficult to translate literally because of the verb tenses which are packed with subdued meaning. The last line with its mystic-surreal tone drew me to translate this otherwise complex and emotionally somewhat ordinary, but well-composed, song. You can hear it here and here The poetic translation is in pentametric couplets.


Literal Translation

Having shied, laughter, and having laughed, this look
I am having recognized all your pretenses [Alt: I have recognized, or simply, I recognize]

Why, tell, should the eyelids happen to the eyes to be heavy?
And right on closing the eyelids, why may the moon also be seen?
These life-taking questions — where become defeated the wise

How will he in whose hand is the bow come to know [alt: realize]
Only he knows sorrow in whose heart is the arrow
Slanted glance innocent, we [royal] here enamored

On you going in front arises a bright star
The breeze brings the fragrance from the province of flowers
A melodious song of the stars occurs to the night


Poetic Translation

A bashful smile
    and then a joyous glance
I know your signs,
    pretenses of young romance

In a lowered gaze
    does the waning moon retreat?
The doubts of the wise
    recede in full defeat

Not the archer
    but the heart pierced knows the pain
An innocent sidelong look
    and here I’m the slain

The twilight, the fields,
    the fragrant breeze are ours
The melodious night
    dreams a song of twinkling stars


12 thoughts on “Bahane

  1. This is a very good rendering, with great easy felicity. I’ll suggest rhyming in the last stanza as follows:

    The twilight, the fields,
    the fragrant breeze ours are
    The melodious night
    dreams a song of twinkling star.

    I think, you should repeat the first stanza at the end also, otherwise the composition kind of looks hanging,

  2. In one pronunciation of “ours”, it rhymes with “stars”. But here’s another take on the last stanza:

    Ours are the fields
        the fragrant breeze, the twilight,
    The melodious song
        of stars dreamt by the night

  3. I can’t bear to repeat the rather ordinary glance/romance at the end after the night’s sublime dream. This latest version closes the poem since it is a single, complete sentence.

  4. The melodious song
    of stars dreamt by the night—

    This is absolutely marvellous. The poetry in it is coming from a very high plane of overhead inspiration, possibly the Overmind in Sri Aurobindo’s grading.


  5. The melodious song
    of stars dreamt by the night—

    I will scan the line pentametrically as follows:

    The melod|ious song| of stars| dreamt by| the night|—

    The dip that is brought in by the trochee in the rising metre has done a major trick. Add to it the alliterative effect.

  6. Plus the content itself on at least two counts: (1) individually as the setting for romance and universally as a creation narrative, and (2) the ambiguity whether the song or the stars are dreamt by the night. The line break suggests the latter, which is more profound, indicating the power of Night to bring forth light.

  7. I don’t think the English sense leaves any doubt:

    The melodious song
    of stars dreamt by the night— ——> the song dreamt by the night

    Melodious song
    of the stars dreamt by the night— ——> the stars dreamt by the night

    A comma after “song” could also make a difference.

  8. How would you read “The melodious song of the stars dreamt by the night” wrt ambiguity?

  9. Again, “song” and “song,” would make the difference. Without comma it is the song that is dreamt by the night. But shifting the “the” or too many “the”s would spoil the line, beside both being bad English.

    My preference is always for the “song” being dreamt by the night.

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