(10 June 1918 - 19 October 1974 / Magura / Bangladesh)


Dahuk's cooing all through the night...

This hamlet is sleeping like a deep silent pond.
I am awake alone in this long night.

Keep aside the game of deception,
Let the day-long busy bee sleep on the reposing branch,
Lend your ear and listen to the dahuk's cooing.

The moon leaves the starry port and starts for the night's sea
Continuously floating behind the feathery cloud,
As if the tireless diver dives without rest
To bring up the pearl of his dream.
Dripping without rest
Sleepy dew-drops,
The blue aerial palace of Gul-e-Bakauli
Slowly becomes inert and silent;
The cooing of the dahuk only comes up without rest.

As if the death-knell of some diver
Or of a hidden ethereal bird
Comes up from the sea-deep;
Starry lamps are dozing in the dreamy skies.

Are you still awake?
Do you hear the sound?
Do you hear that sound rising high?
The dahuk is the only wakeful sentry in the sleeping forest;
Its dream's fairy has taken the course of consciousness
Through the slow air.
It's, mate drowsing.

The dahuk's music overflows the night's cup.
Only its cadence lingers,
The moon is waning through the cane-grove,
Up above, the dreamy seventh sky is full of the night's sadness.

You seem to be an ethereal music!
Yet I know, you are no music,
You are only the musical instrument!
You are only carry the forest's hidden sad music,
The deep sea's saddening
Wonderful music...
Inexhaustible wine...
The distressed blue moonlight is waning
With the call of the dahuk.
O bird! O the wine-cup! I could not
Realize you yet.

Perhaps I know you; I know your speckled body,
Artful colour painted
With a gaudy brush.
But the wonderful cadence that made this fading night cry,
Whose saddening beauty accumulates at the forest's end
In an intolerable pain
And settles on palm and other trees−
I cannot recognize that music.

Perhaps you are only that Saki
To fill up the cup.
Alone at one side of the bush
You are emptying the pitcher of music.

O you the unknown wine cup!
You are eager for the wine, restless and impatient
Rise to the unkonwn region of the sun
With the signal of the stars you float single-minded
In the silent night

Around the cane-bush
Piercing the sea of darkness
On the door of the moon
With the burning for the wine you float on the turbulent sea
In the horizon with the shooting star;
Your pale feathers drop
With that music,
Your dull body flares up in a moment with lightning,
The shooting star passes by it with violent speed,
The blue sea-storm keeps its mark on top of the dead forest
Violent and vigorous;
Yet from the inaccessible bottom
Of the deep sea
You bring up music throughout the night.

With the dahuk's cooing
All pain all complaint becomes wordless and silent.

O tireless bird in the forest of the night!
You continue calling
Like boundless freedom.
We are stooping down
With the weight of chains,
We do not hear your music,
We hurt our body and soul
With our own poisonous bites.

You do not belong to this ugly hoard;
You carry with you
The complete music of life and death
In your unfettered perfect soul.

That's why you, the free and secluded dahuk,
With full-throated breast
Pumping it out
Can call like that; but we cannot.

The windy lute sings now and then in the cany strings;
Slowly it dies down,
The moon comes down to the old forest;
The darkness becomes deeper.
At this dark depth of night
I am face to face with all the pathos.
The night is dropping down
On leaves and dew-drops...
On life's shores...
On the banks of death...
Mute with pain.
At that moment of clouded darkness
Piercing the heart of the thirsty dahuk
Comes up only its voice,
With a tired tone from the distant forest.

[Translated by Abdur Rashid Khan]

Note: DAHUK - Gallinule, an acquatic bird.

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