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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’.


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