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

The Sailor Of The Seven Seas

I don't know how many black curtains had to be raised to bring this morning.
The green leaves shiver in the orange grove.
The seven seas' tide has brought foam on your door-steps.
O Sailor of the seven seas, see, your ship calls at your door,
A still-life, like a picture it stands there.
No water reaches the helm, its sails do not flutter,
O Sailor, I entreat you, rise up,
You rise up and join the seamen,
You will find your ship sailing again in the seas,
Like a full-moon in the blue seas
Braving cloudy waves and crossing all obstacles.
Now you rise up, hasnahena flowers dropped long before
in the morning.
Still you did not wake up? Still you are asleep?

Do you not hear snake's hissing at your door?
Innumerable hungry people crowd there;
O Sailor! open up your merchandise; listen to me,
Or your everything will turn into fragments,

Do you not see, what mirage they are after?
Continuously off the track and going down.
O Sailor! You definitely know your star has not extingguished,
This desert dreams of your moonlit night,
See tulips... accumulated everywhere;
Then why are you afraid, you shiver in unknown fear?

Has your ship foundered?
Has any cloud covered your star?
Is for that the motionless ship's rudder broken?
Is for that your empty sail
Bellowing with the hungry sea wind?

I know not, still I call you, sailor of the seven seas,
The coral island's coconut boughs sing with the wind.
Your seamen lost their patience for this sleep;
The seven seas raise poisoning foam in blue wrath;
On the other hand, unknown passengers are taking sky-routes;
Green leaves quiver in the orange-grove.
Who fills up your merchandise with precious stones and marble?
Your sleep brings only bad omen for you.

Have you not paid yet for the chaotic night?
It's morning now. Yet asleep?
Yet you could not get up?
Have you forgotten the clove flowers, the cardamom season,
Where saffron buds bloom in gravel and dust,
Where fairy land's dream-maid Gul-e-Bakauli flower
Wakes up with a kiss on the white forehead of jasmine

Have you forgotten that first voyage: the ship was sailing
Towards the country of unknown flowers;
Have you forgotten that emerald-picking dream
Dazzling in moon-light in every eye!
The ship on sail cut through saline water−
A tireless searcher
Tearing the blue curtain of the horizon,
Proceeding on and on through the seven seas.

I cannot recollect the unknown port
That ship touched,
It was loaded there with emerald and marble−
This much I can recollect.

Your sail was torn by a violent tempest long ago,
Python-like nightmares visit your dream now.
They attack your wornout deadly port,
They have vitiated your caving sky.
Do you listen, do you not hear, O Sailor of the seven seas,

The thrust of dry air on your closed door!
This is not moon-light, but murmur of dream on coconut boughs,
This is not fairyland's window, but the port of coconut;
It's the people's wailing on your closed door,
The last jingling of sitar pervades in the cries of hungry children.

You must hoist your sail today,
You must mend your tattered sail,
So what if the broken mast makes fun of it,
Still the ship must sail today.

Who knows when your dreamy night ended,
Stormy wind blows to-day on the door,
Its fang indicates death.
Your ivory tower tumbles with the strike of its tail.
O Sailor! don't stop by this indication of death,
Even then you must sail on this century's dead sea.

Night prevails here now,
The royal gate of Hera can still be seen far away.

Here people are trembling now in acute hunger,
Here tears flow in innumerable streams now,
Yet the royal gate of Hera can be seen far away...
Road bestrewn with pebbles,
Many obstacles, seas and mountains,
Noontime fiends come near crawling,
Vultures cast their shadows over us,
We have lost grassgreen groves and all flowering gardens,
Yet the royal gate of Hera can be seen far away...
All the royal gates opened long ago,
The full-moon had enchanted the palace long ago.

O Sailor! Won't you weigh your anchor?
Still to wait?
O Sailor! Won't you unfurl your sail today?
Still to wait for that?

All your sails flutter with the wind,
No more to wait now,
Since your rudder touched saline water,
Then no more waiting,
Then blow your trumpet for departure now,
Let the passengers and wayfarers come,
O Sailor, don't wait now.

It's already very late, you know,
Many voyaging seasons of the sea passed by in vain,
Tempests scattered countless cardamom seeds
And cinnamon branches battered in forests,
Perfume's fragrance looted by the wind;
Death now has caught hold of your throat
And tidal bore at your door;
All your hasnahena flowers dropped long ago.

No fragrance in the flower-garden,
Though green leaves still exist in the orange grove,
Their days are numbered gradually;
Unknown soil's deep and intense pull
Brings an end to the dream for the green.
It knows that,
It knows that well.

Yet the soil will produce ripe oranges
With all its resources,
In spite of grey leaves dropping with the wind;
Though the wind brings death-like chill,
Yet endless hope kindles its heart;
Still it has limitless dream.

O Sailor, you too should not fear,
You too gather the wonders of Hera's guiding star,
Let orange leaves shed with this wind−
Enough to spare,
They crowd together, where the royal gate of Hera
Shines in the sky.

Deserts to cross on that way,
Saline sea-water in that route,
Yet halting places exist on the way,
Shady trees and fresh water wait for you.

Then hoist your sail,
Then weight your anchor;
Now after many expeditions for the goal,
You will find the gate of Hera before you.
So you weighd your anchor now
And unfurl your sail;
Unfurl your sail Now.

[Translated by Abdur Rashid Khan]

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Comments (1)

I love the picture painted by the poet and how he plays around with personification and assonant..