Sunday, 11 March, 2007

Poems from Bangladesh

Selected from the book Poems from Bangladesh: The Voice of a New Nation.

The Blood Bank

Each day blood flows on Bengal’s soil:
every traveler leaves behind some of his blood
in this blood bank
where it is stored for the future needs
of the land.
Each worker walks this route
where he sows the seed
of a bleeding sun,
the farmer and the rickety old canvasser
store their blood
in the same blood bank.
Bengal’s blood is drawn inexorably towards the soil.
And though the river may dry and the sea disappear,
the garland of nature she wears may dry,
Yet one day from this same blood
shall emerge a new river
a fresh garland of nature,
the village that was once destroyed
And so who wants to keep his blood
In the blood bank at the hospital
Where it becomes polluted
With the poison touch of glass bottles?

There can be no blood bank better than Bengal’s soil
where each drop of blood donated become ten drops.
And that is why people no longer go
to the blood bank at the hospital:
Bengal’s blood is drawn inexorably towards the soil.

- Humayun Azaad

The Lonely Man.

He was sitting alone:
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.

- Omar Ali

Only One Colour

There is only one colour today: red.
There is only one song : the slogan.
There is only one first raised: that of the procession.
Our newspaper : the poster.
Only one colour : red.

When the laughter of my people turns to tears,
when the singing voice of my people turns into a cry of pain,
then from a colourful landscape comes a poster like lava from a live volanco:
we want food, clothes, the right to live!
This land is mine,
this soil is mine- and all its dust
mingles with my blood,
The people of this beautiful land
have staked their claim to what they own.
Victory and defeat coexit in war:
we have no reason to give up hope.

Poster Poster Poster
Procession Procession Procession
People People People

- Kazi Hasan Habid

This struggle will go on

This people will fight on.
This war is our war, this war will go on,
No more shall we live
with death and shame:
this struggle is for our right
to live with honour, to free ourselves:
countless people
shall fight to the end.
Our struggle will go on .
This war is our war, this war will go on.

Deceit, fraud, intrigue
darken the nights
but we are the charioteers of time
keeping a silent vigil all the while;
we have sacrificed our peace
We shall offer our security
we have forgotten our fears
We shall disown our bones
and when the need arises
we shall offer a river of our blood.
Our ceaseless march will demolish
all terrible odds on the way:
even the mountain on our track
shall move one day.
Our struggle will go on.
This is our war, this war will go on.
We always hear death’s rebuke
and yet in dark cemeteries
we sow the seeds of dawn
In our lacerated minds
and in the routine agony of our lives
mingles the deadly venom of many snakes
and yet with tireless care
in every moment of our lives
we sustain the thirst for life in our dreams.
What to we have
that we shall regret its loss?
What is defeat
for those who have staked their all?
We have traveled for days
down this dangerous track
we do not share its phantom fears.
And though this endless journey may exhaust us
our minds will remain clear:
our route is distinct, we know the direction
and the passion of the march itself thrills us.

The road is difficult and there are many barricades
but millions share our suffering,
the countless sorrows we have known
flame in our eyes
Incenditarizing our differences.
We shall break through this dark night’s fearful barriers
we shall dare to proclaim the freedom in our hearts
and under the rays of a new sun
we shall sign with fire
this oath of struggle
Our war shall go on.
This struggle is our struggle, this struggle shall go on.

- Sikandar Abu Jafar

Nasrul Islam

Even today we are confused:
we depend on false and worthless words
Like a child who does not understand
but plays and while playing hesitates,
tired, searching endlessly for the right path.

In the unknown abstract world of philosophy
our long march
has not yet found its destination:
our skies are not yet free
from fear.

Yet we dream
of a new world that will come with victory:
when the sleeping days wake,
when the distant horizons rage
as the clouds war with fury:
when your lute of fire will play,
the lonely search in our weary hearts
catch fire----

and on that great day
we will not forget you:
you are the poet who showed us a new route,
who journeyed the same way.

- Begum Sufia Kamal

Rabindranath Tagore

If I am slaughtered
all that will remain of me,
my blood, my flesh, my bones will be Bengal,
my grief, my pain, my love, my final peace
shall belong to Bengal.

Bengal has suffered greatly
and yet in spite of her suffering in her literature
and in her songs
is the passion for her language:
this is the anguish we share.
We respect the memories of
shakespeare, Dante and Tolstoi
but in the blood of my heart
remains Tagore

All the time
when I eat, sleep or am awake,
In solitude, or among people,
a song echoes in my heart
in the language of Tagore.
This language rescues my heart
from the narrow confines
of its home
and opens fellowship
with people
All over the world.

In each recess
in each cranny of the brain
in the winding lanes of the heart,
it silently wanders
with or without words.
ours is the language of Tagore
this is the language
that is language
this is Tagore

and us.

- Niyamat Hussain


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yes its true that we have to love our own language for our own progress

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