Enemy

(Translation of a Bangla poem by fellow poet M. Rahman)

When I see a happy and smiling face,
I writhe in pain as if poisoned
by a thousand venomous fangs
and fists clenched in rage, my knuckles grow white;
the urge to shatter the world grows with it.
When I find sympathy and loving care
it feels as if I’m witnessing
an award winning act on stage.
While walking down a busy road, I feel
an urge to kick the fellow passers by
and make them fall, tumbling towards the ground.
Tales of woe and of horrid losses
satiate my blood, craving for a cruel bliss.
Stories of diligent perseverance
behind one’s success and achievements
engulf my existence in a huge flame
of envy, of jealousy and I burn.
The queen of flowers sparkling bright
seems no less vile than a painted whore.
All I ever think of in my rare dreams
are ways to bring destruction to the world.
In my life I want to hear Israfel
blow his trumpet of annihilation,
effacing life from the face of the earth.
I dearly wish the human race
would be the first of them to go
for the mutual animosity between us
had made me a misanthrope, a long time ago.

Confession of an Independent Mind

Finally the light from those eyes went out. In the blink of an eye his eyes turned paler and glossier from the usual brilliant hue that shone within. As if whatever vibrated inside was gone and the glass cases were left behind. He died unexpectedly hard. The brownish patches about his corpse reflected a massive blood loss. Twenty-three stabs scattered all over the body couldn’t have bled lesser.

 

Each of the stabs I inflicted upon his throbbing body still lies vivid in my memory; twenty-three thrilling rushes of blood defending the reputation of my motherland. How dare he insulted our independent and sovereign country, going around and telling people that we are not even free enough to live a healthy life? But pollution was only the beginning. His probing went further and deeper with time, including moral, social and political issues. He used to find so many faults with everything around him. I often wondered then, whether there was a psychological abnormality that made the abnormal persons hallucinate flaws in everything happening around their world.

 

I was too busy with my office works in those days. Due to the packed schedule my curiosity on psychology died earlier than the reason, as I would later find out first-hand. In the beginning however I used to overlook those periods of madness, not paying heed to his supposedly rational arguments against various traditional systems of our country. I thought with time and age this immaturity would fade. For me being able to live in an independent state is good enough. After all it’s an emotional issue – being a sovereign citizen; and reason fails where emotion prevails.

 

So what, we are corrupt? Even corruption needs independence. What about the wretched lives in Kashmir, Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine? They are not corrupt, they are too busy trying to survive. It is nothing but God’s mercy on us in letting us become free to indulge in corruption. Anyway, the corruption is not as bad as some recently sprung legalists are showing, my friend being one of them. I am earning my bread without much hassle and getting a fat slice of butter to top it up as well. He could have earned his share too, had he spent a little more time trying to follow the system instead of finding so many faults with it.

 

My initial ignoring failed to stop his speeches; rather they grew in volume and frequency. Then when he started saying that only the nationality of the oppressing tyrants had been changed in the name of independence things got the better of me. He even wrote a poem on the issue! If he were not one of my closest friends I would have silenced him long ago. His views asked to be charged with high treason. Still I did not leap in to the matter, waiting impatiently, allowing him more time to rectify his visions. By the time I finally put my plan into action, he had already lost his right to live on the soil he disliked so much.

 

If he still lived, or I could somehow ask him, I would like to know, is it not my nepotism that prolonged his dear life for one full year? And life was dear to him. It was evident in the way he lived and the way he died. But he used to criticize nepotism as one kind of corruption! The longing to live I saw in his eyes in those last moments was the keenest passion I have ever seen in one’s eyes. The shock and disbelieve in his eyes made me wonder, was it for not expecting the just reaction to his diabolical reasoning coming from me? Or was it his vehement protests saying, “life can not end like this…”. I can no longer know. All I know is that he was treated exactly the way he deserved to be. In another month nothing but his treacherous bones will exist on the proud soil of my motherland and the murder like numerous others will end unresolved.

 

Even if the murder is discovered and I come to be linked with the crime, I have inherited enough means to see myself through the short hazard. The government officials in our country have not yet become skeptics like my expired friend. They are still passionate and sympathetic to citizen like us, who do not hesitate to patronize their lives.


 

Once I was Strolling…

(Translation of a Bangla song by Warfaze)

Once I was strolling down the road, alone,
when tripping over a shadow I found
darkness and ignorance lying all around.
Don’t know when I can sing aloud the song
devoid of all boasting and filthy pride!
Don’t know when I can sing aloud the song
as simple, bright and clear as the morning light!

Even when the world is visible and bare,
why does the darkness still prevail within
amid whispers and thoughts, half-understood
and when can I sing aloud a real song?
Don’t know when I can sing aloud the song
as unbound as the greatness of the sky!
Don’t know when I can sing aloud the song
steeped in the sweetness of a seagull’s cry!

I am a prisoner of the Silence
and with my muted voice I can no more sing.
Sitting by the window forever shut
I can smell the mild fragrance of the bloom
and the smell of light on the other side.
Some time I push in vain at the doors shut
but never hard enough to open them.
It seems I cannot let the light come in,
for I must go crawling back to the cage
drenched in darkness and lurid decadence
with some vague and lewd imaginations…

The Lost Dreams

(Translation of a Bangla poem by fellow poet Monija Rahman)

Drowning in the abyss of untasted wind
While for no reason feeling out of breath;
Ripping through the shackle of melancholy
With just the seasoned strength of my bare hands.
Riding on the swift and feathery whims,
The hamlet lying upon a river’s edge
Seems a moment’s flight of my silly thought,
Seems I can see the entire sky and beyond.
Skimming through the boundless joys of the world
In the maelstrom of passioned ecstasy;
Rising past the unclaimed Olympus Mons
With just the strength of my will, all alone.
Yet in the end just like the tragedy
Of Alexander the indomitable
Falling back to the real and mundane life –
Devoid of inspiration, full of strife;
Here the seeming truths seem to hold the sway
And the lost dreams keep dying everyday.

A Game of Chess

Come and we shall play a game of chess together
On the checkered board of life, dark and light,
Beneath the moon and the stars, spread across the sky.
Come, I promise to let you play with white.
When we have set the pieces in ranks and files
On opposite ends of the battlefield,
The game shall begin with an opening from you.