Monthly Archives: March 2018

Folk Song by Vincent Ferrini

 

Venanzio Ugo Ferrini was born in Saugus, Massachusetts, on June 24, 1913 and  died of a heart attack on December 24th, 2007

Vincent’s own experience in the shoe factories and during the Great Depression instilled a great sensitivity for the life of the working poor. In high school he found that books contained the keys to discovery and it was then that he resolved to become a writer. Ignoring his father’s admonition that a son of a shoe worker could never become a poet, he graduated from Lynn Classical and not having the money for college, pursued his education in the Lynn Public Library spending each day reading, studying, looking for answers to illuminate why humanity settled for poverty and war. When the Great Depression hit, the young bard worked as a teacher in the WPA as he worked his first volume of verse about the people of Lynn. In 1940 at the age of twenty-seven he published “No Smoke.”

Folk Song

I pass
by day
and by night
no one has
seen me

If you ever
want to find
me and know me
leave behind
yourself
and enter
the caves
of other
people.

There you
will find
me
who is
yourself.

 

In his play Shadows Talking (1991), one character says:

If you could forget

who you think you are

you might catch up with

what you really are

& can’t see —-

 

***

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Omar Ali : two poems

 

Poet Omar Ali, one of the leading poets of Bangladesh, left this world almost silently on  December 3, 2015. He was born on October 20, 1939 in the village of Komorpur in Pabna. Financial troubles accompanied him all his life. He became ill in 2012, which forced him to live an inactive life. He gradually lost his capacity of hearing and speech.

 

One day a man

 

One day a man came and asked me: Can you draw?

What? I asked

Draw me a woman, He said:

a well shaped woman,

strangely beautiful, arrogant, with a cruel poise.

I want a faultless sketch.

 

But why? I asked him again.

I shall burn it: he replied.

(translated by Pritish Nandy)

 

The lonely man

 

He was sitting alone:

sad, weary,

with a tear-stained face.

I asked him: Why?

He looked at me silently

and kept quiet.

I asked him again: Why?

Again he looked silently

into my eyes

and said nothing.

 

Then he got up and went away

leaving behind his silence.

(translated by Pritish Nandy)

 

Omar Ali received Bangla Academy award in 1981 and wrote forty books of poetry and two novels. Smell of the rural earth, simplicity of expression, everyday words spoken in villages, natural beauty of the country and loveliness of women fill his writings. The intensity and depth of his description of the beauty of nature and women is of devotional type. People of Bengal will remember him as long as there exists the beauty of its villages and the girls with a dark complexion in this country. Poet Omar Ali is now in the faraway land that none can reach but all have to go to, ‘where there’s no song of return’. Yet, we had him amidst us playing.