Featured Poem

Aadho aalo aadho andhar (Shades of light and dark)
by Rajib Shil Jibon, translated by Shivaji Das and Gopika Jadeja, with Debabrata Basu and Souradip Bhattacharya


Perhaps I experience something
the feather touch of a tender heart, a flutter
a night of wakefulness
light and dark at play, floating in the moonlight.
Perhaps I am waiting for someone, and someone for me.
Perhaps of an evening, a garden of clouds would desire me,
only me. In a warm magpie forest,
constellations whisper.

Perchance I lose myself in a dream
a generous shade lulls me to sleep in broad daylight
and the vortex of sand and water pulls me in.

Perhaps I am waiting at the gates of a kingdom
a bird, a strand of grass hides in my world
the breeze from the sails of the horizon
raising the rhythm through the calm nocturnal sea.

Perhaps I will see a kite looking for its string
a rain drop paused, a search waiting in front of me
Maya unspooling a mountain of illusions
calling us by waving discarded feathers.

Perhaps I will step into the rumblings of a forest
a leaf, a summer, surrounded by the golden sun
on a field full of harvest
a lonely elusive call losing faith and closing its fists.

Perhaps I am waiting for a time
an impression, a smell or an empty house
a feeling of silent tiredness
walking down the path of prose that excites my soul.


Reprinted by permissions of the author, translators, editors, and publisher, “Aadho aalo aadho andhar (Shades of light and dark)” is first published in the anthology From Walden to Woodlands: An Anthology of Nature Poems (Ethos Books, 2015), edited by Ow Yeong Wai Kit and Muzakkir Samat as a Singapore interfaith initiative.

Check out the book’s website for conversations with fellow enthusiasts–environmentalists, writers, and interfaith practitioners, or join the book’s Facebook community to dialogue with like-minded individuals.



Rajib Shil Jibon (in maroon tee-shirt) at Dibashram, a drop-in centre for migrant workers in Little India, Singapore. Photo from TODAY.

Rajib Shil Jibon was born in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and holds a Diploma in automobile technology. A writer of poems and short stories, he has published a poetry collection, Adhora (Unrestrained), in Bangladesh. One of his poems, “Life of a dustbin,” won awards in his home country. He likes to write poetry on every theme, whether romantic, patriotic, or about his day-to-day life as a worker in Singapore.

About Jee Leong Koh

My book of poems Steep Tea (Carcanet) was named a Best Book of 2015 by UK's Financial Times, and a Finalist by Lambda Literary. I also wrote three other books of poems and a book of zuihitsu. My work has been shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize, and translated into Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian and Latvian. Originally from Singapore, I live in New York City, where I edit the arts blog Singapore Poetry, and run the Second Saturdays Reading Series and the Singapore Literature Festival in NYC.

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