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

The Background

The 8-30 AM train left ejecting its nightly contents:
Sleepless people with hot head
Walk on both sides of the road like cold reptiles;
Also walk human forms as symptoms of cruel citizen's bestiality.
Thunder-clouds have covered the city-sky
With a pale curtain;
Stones on streets tarnish with traffic's rush, trams and buses,
At that moment
A hill-boy pedlar's shrill cry for mending umbrellas
Echoed in the air.
As if a vigorous raven cawed for the last time
In a dead forest,
Pedlar's voice for mending umbrellas
Rent the dreamy sleep with its hilly vigour
On the banks of Lal Dighi (Red Pond),
On the branches of the cypress
From bloody mansions and terraces
Like a sharp spear.

Foot-path, factory and this tormenting stuffy room
Fade in a moment,
And I hear the message of flying wings
Of that lively life:
Dense vineyards, icy peaks and hard rocks.
The smell of solid hills,
Inaccessible routes
And unknown rough country
Pervades in the foreign cypress branches;
His companion is nutty almonds, pears, apples
And a strong hand in young girl's tresses;
And the starry night encircled by peaks.
The rising moon there is not ugly
With polluted and perverted gaze.

The blue dove returns to its loaded nest there
Carrying saffron of the sun;
Countless stars twinkle in the deep blue
And in the darkness of the night.

Hill's endless silence,
Robust life's complete fulfilment,
The deep blue of the sky pours on
The crimson buds of the pomegranates,
On the damsel's purple forehead;
The colour of the soft bosom brings up rosy waves.

Deep silent peace,
Fields, dense forests,
Healthy mind in strong and sound body,
The nightingale and waves of music...

I don't know how far in hillside floods and storms
Float multicoloured pebbles;
Pomegranate seeds fight with chilly wind
And fall without any stop.
Coloured pistachio-nuts heap up near the carpet;
Wind from vine yards and hilly roads brings
The moon's message−

I don't know when that day-dream shattered
With machine's demands,
Heaps of files rise before the eyes
Like a nightmare leaving behind
The pomegranate garden.
Here the hill-boy drenches throughout the day
In heavy rains
And shrieks in the streets for mending umbrellas
As a result of this century's failure...

[Translated by Abdur Rashid Khan]

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