Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Song of Envy

Last week I posted an English translation of a Bengali poem by the Late Sukumar Ray who, inspite of being a multi-faceted genius, is primarily known for his nonsense poems for children. Here is another one of his short poems , on a special request from Kuntala. My translation is evidently unable to decipher the complete humor hidden in the Bengali original, but I have tried to maintain the rhyme and the essence of the poem.

The Song of Envy

~Sukumar Ray

All of us are good and nice, you are bad and nasty,
You will drink a bitter serum, we will eat a pastry.
We will get all toys and dolls, we will get sweet vittles,
None of you get any of that, and if you do, too little.
We will sleep on spacious beds right by mother's side,
You sleep in the dark alone, scared and trying to hide.
We will visit a hill station and we will ride a train,
If you cry, "Take us too" we'll say "Eat plantain!"*
We strut with a proud gait, clicking colourful shoes.
You are dirty, with runny noses, greedy, brains no use.
The clothes we don are rich brocade, we wear jewelry too,
Since you never get all those, they're unbearable to you.
We will be all lavish-minded, you will be stingy folk,
Ask us for something, and we'll squeeze you till you choke.

(Translation by Sugata Banerji)

* "Eat Plantain" is a mildly offensive Bengali idiomatic phrase which one says when one wants to deny someone's request in a mocking manner.


  1. Thank you thank you.....asadharoN hoyechhe translation. asonkhyo dhonyobad. ar Eat Plantain-ta byakhya kore diye bhalo korechhen.

  2. wow khub bhalo translation. loved it!

  3. wow….