17. Poem: Bidaysambal (Sustenance for Passage) of the book ‘Mahua’ (a flower) written at Singapore on 19 August, 1927.
Translator’s note: It is difficult to snap our earthly ties, particularly that of affection with our near and dear ones which is possibly most intense when it is one’s time for departure from this mortal world. At that time, assurance of those around the departing one that they will bear one in mind ‘for ever’, is one’s sustenance for the unknown journey ahead, maybe knowing well that it is mere self-deception as ‘those who remain look for one another – and forget one who goes.’
Towards the departing traveler
The momentary affection does whisper
I’ll forget thee not,
Thou in my mind will never blot
Gives this false hope from time to time
With heavy heart and emotion sublime
In hesitant fumbles
As ring the departing bells.
That promise, the departing traveler
Takes in his heart ‘for ever’
This last emotion behind
As his journey’s sustenance find.
As his way will darken
The earth will slumber in oblivion
‘I’ll forget not’ this faint sound
Will ring in his ear while far bound.
Yet, the departing traveler
Knows that it is illusion mere
As, one who goes, goes for ever;
Those who remain, look for one another
And forget one who goes
This at his heart he knows.
But goes the self-deception
On his way the flute plays on
‘I’ll forget thee not ever’
In his heart this melody does labor.