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

Son Of Man

The sailor is back after weathering many tumultuous storms.
Many hungry nights and many sicknesses of the sea
Made him giddy and restless. Many a time
Did he lose his way in the darkness. And the messengers of death
Called him again and again from the dark waters all around.
The twisted hold of his storm battered ship was filled
With sweat stained hopelessness of bitter failure.
The dark fierce blue deep urged him on;
Yet the sailor sought and has now found his home
In the strange unknown land.

Though his two eyes are full of black nightmarish fears
Though the taste of death still lingers on his pale lips
Yet the twisted hold of his broken ship is today vibrant with victory
And all the cruel tortured memories languish behind.
Son of man, the victorious Sindabad has come back,
Overcoming many storms, with his rich merchandise.
By the fierce sea in another strange land he has seen the home of man, a living tomb,
Where the dead desert mind of the proud reside, a farce in frozen stone.

Row after row
Line by line,
Move the band of load bearers
Move the flock of beasts
With shovel and hammers
With pen and ploughs

Move the hungry lean backed children
And numberless files move
Leaving behind deserts, fields and woods.
In the court of man
A farce in frozen stone.

Banding together the children move on
Lifting to their lips the bitter cup of life,
Hungry, dying son of man!
Frozen stony path,
The path of this horrible civilization
Full of deep ravines,
Cover up the sky in darkness and invite them.
What battlement is this?
Here only the hungry day's flame bums,
The dark fog of poisonous smoke
And the gruesome terror of death.
The heavy oppressed heart, the deep weary pain,
And in their midst, kicked, afraid of Satan,
Stumbles forward today the dead son of Adam
Into the hideous grave,
Into the complex abysmal depth.

The children proceed in a band to mass extermination.
In the ugly false black dark road they go astray
Where at every point Satan has his snare laid.
Drawn inexorably
The weak lean son of man moves towards that today.

On either side of the road I see hungry dead bodies of children
And side by side I find the proud wealth of millionaires overflowing.

I see terrible famine at the peasants' door,
I see burning on the forehead of the oppressed the flaming mark of insult.
Man, at the joking hands of the arrogant,
Has become a slave and woman a whore.

Man's fortress lies far ahead in the distance,
Here is only the devil's outer courtyard;
Those who walk here
Wander aimlessly in a whirlpool of confusion.
Lured by the vile serpent of materialism

They are today but blind betrayed wayfarers,
Sad victims of this century's civilization.

Multiplying the number of the frightened
Raising the number of the fallen
They have joined hands with the killer of men and women
They have become cruel hunters
The inhuman dead sons of man.
The bond of chain protests at every step
The breath of life stops.
In the court of man
A farce in frozen stone.
No more in this court of man, the symbol of sexlessness,
No more on Satan's black mudbespattered path
Now our appeal is in the court of God alone
The appeal of the robbed hungry tortured man.
I know many civilizations have perished under dust
I know many Pharaohs, many tyrannical Nimrods
Lie buried under it
And now a band of new travellers appear on the hill fluttering
their flag
They bring with them the tireless typhoon of life.
Today I hear their music
Their victorious flag flutters today in the air
I only hear their voice
The voice of the mild soft hearts
Coming from deep vigorous chests.

Let him not be tired any more
Let him not be frightened again at the sight of traps of
oppression on the way,
Let him not stray again,
Son of man of the future.

[Translated by Kabir Chowdhury]

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