Home English Section SELECTED CONTEMPORARY BENGALI POETRY FROM BANGLADESH IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION

SELECTED CONTEMPORARY BENGALI POETRY FROM BANGLADESH IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION

প্রকাশঃ August 2, 2017

SELECTED CONTEMPORARY BENGALI POETRY FROM BANGLADESH IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION
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SELECTED CONTEMPORARY BENGALI POETRY FROM BANGLADESH IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION

 [Here, in this section of Teerandaz English, we are publishing some selected poems written by a group of contemporary poets from Bangladesh. We hope, this will make a bridge between the literature-readers of the world and the writers from Bangladesh.]

MASUDUZZAMAN

When are you coming to sew the button on?

Do you know, how I am doing?

Usually in response to this kind of question,

I act like a deaf and blind person.

Do you know how I am doing?

If you ask me,

I will act like a deaf and blind man

But when it’s you-

I don’t weigh that in at all

Rather I keep on to and fro

Through my little door.

 

See, I am a stranger in my own abode

And I turn into more like a black cat,

I lift and put my soft feet on bed to lay down.

Look outside, a few sad trees getting wet in the rain

I utter my voice towards the world

And shout but there is no echo

Trees wave their leaves, greet me

They open their rinds to show their ribs

 

I look and see their brown bodies

My very own cells

Also see a few giant red ants approaching from the hell.

 

The man, some think, is gone mad,

Walks beside the road leaving it aside

His zipper is open of the pants

Eyes are closed and flying hair.

 

Only you can tell how I am doing if you return

And peep in the dark only to find it deeper.

 

Like a bird, my wings are floating in the air and flying

A mouse comes out of the hole, blinking its eyes on me

And a giant cage has its door open.

Kiss me darling and get me out of this frame

There are my silent pair of shoes on the floor without strings

My yellow t-shirt is also wounded,

Hanging from over the bookshelf

A button has come off

When are you coming to sew that on?

Translated by Razia Sultana

 

An Assassin

(The death that offended us)

Scimitar, rushing from the desolation, paradox,

Cruel hands of machetes and the perverted assassin,

A cowardly figure in the heavenly circle, cannot recognize

The human beings but darkness and religion.

Long long ago the revelation came from above and

They eat up all these crushing by teeth and the real Janganama,

Sorrowful violin float away by the current of bloods.

The very angel overwhelmed by charms and alone

Was sleeping, blessed man, shattered on the cot of concrete,

Beside, a packed up crowd floats away far,

And the killer is restless

Where is that bright book, worm-fed,

The envious letters become furious

The silent, tired and holy body gets wet

By the blood oozing from the scriptures,

This country, the soil is all in one.

Translated by Kamrul Islam

Masuduzzaman: a poet of seventies of last century.

  

SHAMIM AZAD

Want to pierce every one

I was not born without complaints.

I pronounced with piercing shrieks

the first fault of this soil’s seasonal wheel.

I’ve displayed

the pestilence and possibilities on my skin

of all tinned milk.

And this is the way I’ve learned

to indentify my time through

my complains.

A mile stone identify and divide the road,

The moisture-rich air

is measured into brilliant balloons.

In the geography books, all bodies of water push this vast earth

into one-third of its expanse.

People are known by their eccentricities.

Here, without hunger, there are no gaping mouths,

No forests without thorny trees.

Without the sweat of slaves there’s no society,

Without huge stones no rushing stream could take it’s rippling

turns, Without the launching of missiles there’s no war.

And without the burning neglect

Love can not be measured.

The wayward embrace reveals renunciation’s root,

Rage exhausts itself in a cascade of sweat,

Touch comes to climax in a sudden blow,

And in the gigantic build-up

Of torture on a massive scale

Palestine is announced to the world.

So I want to leave my mark

On every Ethiopia, Namibia,

On 1971 in Bangladesh, through my protest in the Falgun- the

month to raise voices,

By piercing every one with the arrows of my voice.

Translated by my Dr Carolyn Wright and Syed Manzoorul Islam.

 

Bargain

(to József Attila)

Goodbye József

I’m leaving  –

Cutting through the metallic Danube

Piercing through Jibril’s rays of light

That smells so of combustion –

For that copper-coloured Bengal

Floating off in sunlight

 

Now

On Andrassy Street

My evening sari will leave no trace

In the folds of water-wrung cloud.

Decay in this brown skin,

Newly-sprouted body hair

Or sudden alarm in a dream –

These you will no longer sense,

Nor the trace of a new poet

In this city where you are

The supreme one

 

This is your city

Where gothic earth & piers,

Medicine fountain & smell of carbon,

Fatigue solidified as granite

With my hair’s mask left there swished

And my intimate clothing, love,

I’m leaving all this, along with

My senseless poems

 

This Christ-yellow dawn

This symphony of Margaret Island

The body-bread that is of this city

I am taking with me &

The heart of these stone eggs,

This red-showing sweet rain.

Apart from this –

From today you’ll turn into a piece

Of derelict unfruitful land

A sperm-less pot

A paper goulash.

 

So tell me,

Do you want this back again

Words wound round with cellophane

Words steamed together by my emotion

Or your jaundice ?

Don’t you know that you fathered them!

Translated by Shamim Azad and Stephen Watts

Shamim Azad: a poet of seventies of last century.

 

FARID KABIR

The Train

The train dropped us off,

In the middle of the journey, in an unknown station

Wherever people want to travel or where they get off –is that their destination?

Or does the destination find its own people!

 

After getting off in the baffled station we also think did we really want to get off here

Or the train meant to leave us in this deep night of mist!

Where we got off, or where we were supposed to go to

None of these are true

The window of the train and the swiftly moving  Jamuna Bridge

Flash like a picture before our eyes.

 

I Am Turning Into A Tree

Ah! I am turning into a tree…

The fragrance of green is all over me, and I am leafy…

All my body is growing rind

So you come now and sit for some time under the shadow of this tree

Your tale is being told in the sound of the breeze

From tree to tree, branch to branch…

And your name is being written on the leaves

I also am being an integral part of them!

Please, don’t let even a single leaf fall!

Translated by Razia Sultana.

Farid Kabir: a poet of eighties of last century.

 

SUBRATA AUGUSTINE GOMES

The Beginning of Afterlife

Dusk Kaffir-scented

Between you and I

An ocean Indian

Still— frozen— silent

Between you and I

We Two flamecoloured lumps

Still throbbing

From separation

As if half-life

Fidgeting

For a way-out

To dissolve

Into the dark

Between you and I

The kaffir-scented ocean Indian

 

The Serial Killer

When I see you I see Him. No, it does not please me, girl, I would I could look at you Like a baby looks at mom’s

Bare breast when not hungry yet; If it finds its father’s face

Tattooed on that…!

Oh, I wish You were as much Godless as I have always dreamt to be…

Translated by the poet.

Subrata Augustine Gomes: a poet of eighties, living in Australia.

 

MASUD KHAN

Iron

The ultimate irony of iron is that it gets overcome by rust.

Iron— this hardy-sturdy, unyielding metallic pride… what joke that even Iron must undergo this predicament.

In fact, it is the iron’s own authoritarian politics that leads it to bitter strife with the environs and weather.

And the consequences are… as anyone could have guessed… strange anomalies wrapping up the despot, inch by inch. It rusts, that is to say.

Corrosion has the better of Iron before it could realize.

Likewise, in countries far and wide, time after time, the Ironmen rust.

And they crumble…into smithereens…

 

Mankind 

Where do I hold this image?

When for the first time in that acrid mid-day

A listless burglar sat

With a half-rotten apple in hand

Under the ashwattha* tree;

And behind him, a snake spreading its hood.

* A large Asian tree.

Translated by Subrata Augustine Gomes.

Masud Khan: a poet of eighties of last century.

 

ASHIM KUMAR DAS

You and Me

Someday

Even poetry dies out,

The blue in the flight of swans

Fades away

On stilled wings

Into the dark horizon.

 

Words run out

Sounds too,

Then in the died-out stars

In the dusty horizon-ends

Of millions of skies—

You and me.

 

You’re Away

Evening descended

You’re away

Yet evening’s memory

Your hair-like smile

Seem like timeless,

Running-on songs.

Night deepened

You’re away

Now in utter emptiness

My restless universe

Is jaundiced,

A sky upon the river

A dark narrative.

Translated by Ahsan Habib.

Ashim Kumar Das: a poet of eighties of last century.

 

OBAYED AKASH

There is no memento

Now the fragrance of your garden

Is saying abracadabra talk

 

Someone in presence of dawn-light stealing the fragrance

Helped it forget its large habitat

 

Since you know some of the familiar flies

You have been saved for this time- and thinking

 

I tell you please come to Bakultala for once

Sit there and you suppose to recollect

How many times we picked up Bakul flowers

And stringed them up to make a wreath

Again torn them up smilingly

 

There is no importance of those smiles

Recollecting today,

There is no longevity of these gardens

Nevertheless flowers bloom there

There is no memento of those fragrances

Whatever it, songs continue there

There is no language of those flies

So they live in various languages

 

Relations

Centering on the love between you and me

People say so many things along the way

The walking fishes crawl in the yard on rainy days

 

And you and I know this tale-

Recently our relationship like a pressed down balloon has fallen flat

Indicating a black and white ancient history

 

Hearing the roar of clouds

We have fallen down on a lagoon from the branch of a tree

 

Next if we meet on any moon-

It is I who will be stigma and you will be its light

Or if you are that stigma-

Everything of mine would be filled with darkness

 

Let me suppose we may have a meeting

After hundreds of generations

Then our relationship wrapping itself up with bits of soot and dirt

Will be visiting door to door or men to men

Translated by Tusar Talukder.

Obayed Akash: a poet of nineties of last century.

 

KAMRUL ISLAM

A shady nook of a garden

I saw my muse-figure in a shady nook of a garden which belongs to a dark horse .

Nothing can be done in such a dismembered theme of a white lie that would be cooked with human bones.

A file long unused mirrors the sins that may lead you to the path of silence.

A father-like child hails me to eat up the crimes amassed in the granaries.

My heart breaks into the house of a mason

Talent is not a cup of tea served by a tokai

I solve some questions I forgot, I looked at the tree where flowers bloom in poetic attire

Let’s move to the evening haat in the moving darkness…

 

Voice of Philip Nagar

I always dream of the Ghat of Abed Majhi

O Majhi, you were the poetry and poetics of a mysterious foggy village ever unveiled to the

cruel world and orphan politics…

I hear the call of Abed Majhi far from the madding crowd …

My native village ,my unforgettable race of childhood, the green cemetery of my grand people,

the erosive wind of the Padma, my mother’s face fatigued with cold and fever and the brunt of the river make me sick and tired…

How far can we go, how far can we chase after sorrows and deaths? I hear the call of Philip Nagar (an imprisoned maiden as if) the pride of my being, my soul’s healing, I also hear the Voice of Philip Nagar ,a sad melody that tells a tale about the people who laugh and sing with dreams and hunger…

No fire , no time , no storm, nothing will efface the sober delicate name – Philip Nagar

My dear, Can you hear the voice…?

Translated by the poet.

Kamrul Islam: a poet of nineties of last century.

 

MEGH ADITI

Poet

The wind descends in enchanting solitude

Through the navel of wilderness from its treehouse

Only the man is lonely

Some strange folly has brushed his chin

Only the man is lonely

He has kept his fire out of touch

Far from the diurnal hubbub, in distant dejection

The solitary, kiss-thirsty, poet

Kept calling out

Till he fell asleep

Moon rolls out of his pen

And on the piece of paper—his household is charred

 

Timpani of Rain

As one approaches a faint tune

The timpani invades her lips

Longing beats on the watery window-panes

Yearning overflows the eyes

What torrential rain calls her back this day!

Does anybody notice?

Does anybody get to see

How, in the folds of a humdrum picture,

The clandestine claws

Turn her hands into stars?

Translated by Subrata Augustine Gomes.

Megh Aditi: a poet of nineties of last century.

 

RAZIA SULTANA

How Will You Turn Me Away?

You will never know-

How I am leaning towards you like death.

Egg-biscuit, maple syrup on pancake in the morn

Virgin Olive Oil on the salad at noon

Seeking for life in a veggie burger at night

Following the health pyramid

I have crossed eight thousand miles of sky

And I am facing you still.

How will you turn me away?

 

Illusion

Stopped abruptly before the sight

Fervently wished to see

The night through the open door

The window without blinds

Saris-ornaments-vermillion stacked in cupboards

The cleaned up table

The poetry notebook – and Jasmine plant on the porch

Stopped abruptly before the sight

Fervently wished to see – the insiders from outside.

 Translated by the poet.

Razia Sultana: a poet of new generation from Bangladesh. She lives in the USA.

 

NAYEEM FIROZ

Ballads of Beasts

Lit the Stigma!

Go and bloom the fires without any tears!

Go and find, there’s no one with a heart!

 

Get lost.

I mean it.

 

I said good bye to the bald eagle in a sandy world,

Where hermitage was almost nipped in a candle-lamp.

 

Another citizen of another corner of the globe will compensate for my blindness

Eyes may be taken away for an eye- for the retaliation doesn’t end the scar of the wounded soul.

 

Slaughtered head.

Was an ‘eve of beheading’ happening in an unreceptive city at the night that carry out senses?

 

Lit the Stigma!

Go and bloom the fires without any tears!

Go and find, there’s no one with a heart!

 

When conflagration passes through our bones- it’s all Ashes that make Ashes!

Eruptions like that of ERDOGAN can cast bright darkness upon the heads

When immeasurable masks are approaching and red eyes are growing in numbers on the stage of Artistic shadows the blood marks of puppets are spreading fast again on our flag that was de-vulturized once.

 

Lit the Stigma!

Go and bloom the fires without any tears!

Go and find, there’s no one with a heart!

 

Retrospection: Dreams, Kisses and beyond

When the stars sojourn

We get the bunch of gypsy flowers

 

From the petals of iniquity,I fall, as the skeleton of a hero and embryo of a martyr.

 

A grand messiah resides on our insomniac hills.

 

I can hear rhythmic parables of the Mersey river

 

And I am becoming almost fainted when a deep false inferno creates the British clone of our BEHULA!

 

 

Me as the skeleton of hero is now under the microscope

Tiredness of an Alligator and sacred wound of venomous ventriloquism is on my neck

 

Vanishing away ashamed eyes, chin, lips, laugh and dreams of all the kisses when flying that embryo of a martyr, hither and thither, in the sounds neither in the dreams nor.

And I oft return- to the boulevard of a forged atlas to the disinclined walls of posh galleries of the world

 

Eventually I engage myself to rub the color of human rights forcibly on the eyelids of numerous Semitic children under a dimmed bright sun.

 

Cry O fake leaders of the world as you have missed the optional prayers

All your attires are beautiful but useless

You may take the earth along with her waters to your Harems

Then you can only shed tears with your saliva

 

After the dreams of all sort of kisses

We’ve reached to such an earth where in the city of Aleppo, Nazaf and in Palestine

The corpses of mothers remains as smashed before their children, dumbfounded- all quiet.

All are quiet!

Translated by the poet.

Nayeem Firoz: a poet of new generation, living in UK for higher studies.

 

 

 

 

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