TWO POEMS | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 13, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, October 13, 2018



What's the point in counting years

While the intensities are wasted

In bickering, fame and money matters?

Age fills our bones with dregs,

The skin dwindles to crinkled rags;

The gold nuggets of the best years

Are melted for the freight of illness.

While the body is wrecked  and bent

And the face resembles ribbed sea sand

That solemnity is the name of wisdom

We are contented to carry into the tomb.



It was breakfast time

For the crow, or else

Why'd he light gently

On my balcony wall

Where he perched

Without a caw at all?

Unlike the fabled one

To teach a moral,

Unlike the huge one

That exploded like a bomb

Out of a charred black womb,

Screaming and scorching

earth with infernal fire,

He sat as quiet and gentle

As a shadow, wouldn't

catch  my eye but for

His scratchy claws

That he couldn't help

Landing on my balcony wall.

He  eyeballed me

And sized me up

With a flipping eye,

A blue tint from the sky.

His beaked head

Was tilted to one side

Like a fine instrument

set with great precision,

And steadied perfectly

In lidless concentration.

A doubting, untrustworthy creature

He wouldn't trust human nature,

But racked his high-tension nerves

To see thoughts beneath the other's skull.

His intense gaze got me fixed

As you'd a difficult text,

Impenetrable and dense,

All the nerves and muscles

Taut and tense in high alert.

Then maybe he reached his limits

And left my balcony for the world at large

Without abiding a crumb from my breakfast.


Masud Mahmood is a Professor of English at Chittagong University.

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