Friday, September 29, 2023

Petals of a Bud 

Still a bud, yet to bloom, covering its red red petals

You pluck it off and took it to your chamber 

You began to molest it, tore off the tissues 

With a lot of sadistic pleasure. 

Ah! the unbloomed petals

Smeared with blood!   

The petals are carried away 

I can see the  images of  a mortuary. 

Monday, September 18, 2023

Translations Related


A Photograph

(“Ekti Photograph” from the poetical work Ek Phota Kemon Anal, 1986 by Shamsur Rahman. Translated by Md. Abu Zafor)

Do come in, please! Come in!

And what’s up?

You’re fine, sure! How about the kids?

After a small talk–

Pointing at the still photograph on the white wall

I said to my questioning guest,

“This is my youngest son who is no more,

Like a piece of stone

He was drowned in our village pond.

About three years from now, at a crow-cawing grisma[1] noon.”


How easily had I narrated this!

My throat did not tremble a bit

No sigh heaved up ripping my heart

Eyes did not moisten with tears.  

I am startled to hear my own voice.

What indifference! how cold!

Three years from now– only three years–

Once how I weaved a deep sorrow!

Meanwhile, which malevolence has turned

My mourning-river into a dreary char[2] so fast?

As the guest has left, I stood again

Before the photograph’s curious eyes

With a waning grief

From inside the frame, my son keeps gazing without a wink

His gaze, devoid of any anger or abhiman[3].

[1] Grisma is the hottest season in Bangladesh.

[2] char in Bangladesh is the landmasses formed through the sedimentation of huge amount of sand, silt and clay over time carried by big rivers.  

[3] This Bangla word has hardly any equivalence in English. It is sort of feeling like ‘a silent protest of anger’.



Great is that Man

(Dhanya Sei Purush” from Shamsur Rahman’s work Abiram Jalbhrami, 1986. The Bengali poem is written about the man who contextually refers to Sheikh Mujubur Rahman, Father of our Nation)

Great is that man – who emerges from the deep water of a river –

At the moment the sun is rising.

Great is that man who from the blue hill top

Walks down the green carpet of the dale–

Teeming with butterflies.


Great is that man– who emerges from an autumnal  beel

Flying myriad-coloured birds.

Great is that man–who, after a famine, rushes out

from a harrowed land

Dreaming of crops.


Blessed are we, sure!

We see that you still come from a distant horizon

And we anxiously wait for you

Like the thirsty deer in hot summer noon

Looking for water.


Piercing your bosom blood-red jaba has bloomed like Pride

And we stare at those flowers.

Our eyes want not to wink

Our traumatic guilt-ridden heads droop down.


Look, one by one, all are treading the wrong path–

A sheer downfall!

Like disco dancers they have stated dancing at Manisha’s Minar

Keeping their conscience into oblivion.


Trustworthiness is now making hidden-holes

For the good and well-wishers.

Facts are falling apart like potters’ broken earthen pots.


The flatterers’ lips are so fluent,

Profusely producing words, days and nights.

Look, some fruit tree is loaded with makal fruits.

Love and affection are drying up

Like sun-burnt grasses

Look, today, there is no difference between crows and cuckoos.

Under countless tricks and excuses

The tricksters are embellishing the autocrat’s head with crown.


Look, none of the head is able to rise

Even a little higher than your knee

By no means none could exceed that height.

Losing you we were like evening shadows–

Slowly melting into darkness.

Our days got shrouded with grief.


Losing you, in days of crisis,

We were mourning sitting in our dunghills.

Our tears made the sky grief-stricken

But you have transformed that grief into life’s hymn

Because we know that you are more living than the living.


Great is that man, on whose name shimmers the sun

For ever, Sraban’s rain, like music, pours down on this name 

Winds never allow dusts gather on this name.

Great is that man on whose name the moonbeam-cranes 

Spread their wings.

Great is that man on whose name flutters our Freedom

       like the flag.

Great is that man on whose name

Echoes  ecstasy of our Freedom Fighters.

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