Are you too busy with your life
to stop and think for what and why
you are given a phantom soul within
unlike a rat that grows to multiply?
Or would you rather say,
it is your purpose too?
Are you too busy with your work
from dawn to dusk or vice versa
to rest and wonder when and how
you would justify the nights and days spent?
Or would you rather be
happy being selfish till the end?
But if you disagree and go on claiming
that you have time to stop and rest
and that you have time to think and wonder
then someday you might know it is true
that pure silence has its own music too
sweeter than any tunes heard
and pitch black darkness has an inner hue
brighter than any colors seen.
Hear ‘Are You Too Busy?’ being read by me
Dedicated to M Z Hossain Palash (Kaka) And Shahin
I know I’m no poet or a noteworthy bard,
I just need to write down these haunting words
to make them go away, for until I do it
I cannot rest from a raw and blunt agony.
I know I’m neither suffering from insomnia
I just need to stay up alone at nights
for not a single neuron in my weary nerves
would turn away for their love of the silence then.
Once the noise of life arrives at dawn, to sleep
I can close my eyes and shut the remaining senses down.
I know I’m no rebel nor an utopian great,
an outcast may be but hardly a threat.
I cannot take most of the mundane things for granted
but I can neither ask anyone to be myself.
I know I’m no Socrates the great Athenian,
though these gadfly urges do provoke me to fight
the system and walk towards hemlock just like him
instead of living with selfish indifference.
Yet nor I can call myself a fighter as well
for all I have is a bleeding pen in my hand!
for the victims of a deadly fire at the Tazreen Factory near Dhaka, Bangladesh on 24th November 2012
She woke up when the sun had barely
risen above the paling horizon
and joined the moving column of slaves
heading down to work, like everyday.
Along the way in the cold morning breeze
her malnourished limbs and nimble fingers froze.
She hurried on her skinny legs, shivering
half out of hunger and half from the chill
clasping her hands together, seeking warmth.
Had she known that soon she’d never be cold again!
Then she arrived at the gate, three feet wide
and five feet tall where the restless doorman
waited with chains and sturdy locks in his hand
to lock the exit when all the slaves
like herself had come inside for their shift.
With that done the doorman could go to sleep
for twelve hours as he did everyday.
But it wasn’t to be just another day,
as fate had it, in hours a sudden flame
broke out and engulfed the floor where she worked.
She was trapped with hundreds in that furnace of death!
Though she tried to climb down the lone staircase,
the fire burned more viciously near the gate
and the doorman who had the keys was sleeping still…
As Winter on her silent steps arrived
among the inhabitants of this land,
the northern wind became too arid and
the rising clouds of dust mingled with the fog.
Their mating gave birth to the floating wall
looming around the teeming capital,
visible when you approach the cityscape
from outside with the setting sun behind,
like an omen along the horizon
presaging the floating venom within.
(But we have learned to live on them with ease.)
Down here Winter brings both sadness and joy;
misery of death for the humble ones
living on streets beneath the open sky
and delights of fashion and excursions
for those secured within the lavish walls.
(But the sets are mutually exclusive.)
Is it the land or the inhabitants
that begets this absurd indifference!
Must you govern Auschwitz to be haunted by remorse!
You roamed around the scarlet sea
for three thousand years, persecuted,
until the winners of the second war
of the worlds had brought you back to your native ground.
That was sixty four years ago
and since then you have been thriving
with so much excellence that now you must
eradicate humble civilian folks to expand.
Look at those children, innocent
of any hatred or crime against
you or the world! See how serene and calm
their faces are though you have bloated them with their blood!
Casualties of war, you might say
but even Hitler never termed
the holocaust as such, so that would be
all in all an utterly pointless argument.
Are you afraid, like the ancient
Pharaoh of Egypt, of children
too paranoid that they would grow and make
your opponents stronger, so you must slaughter them?
It seems you must have forgotten
that Moses in the end was reared
by the same Pharaoh who dreaded him the most
or from your grand history what else have you learned!