A Saga of Courage
(To Quazi Nazrul Islam)
The saga of courage is gradually coming to an end.
O poet, once
clouds, black as your hair, while drifting on and on,
by earnest entreaties, used to provoke us to cross the sea of blood.
Breaking the prison-walls down, the convicts used to stand upright.
Saying, 'Come to the streets,'
enormous ancient voices used to sing out the classics of destruction.
O bewitching cuckoo of lies, having created ugly jingles
in the cool blood of Bangla, with slogans calling for revolution,
you disappeared as if you became a mole on nature's breast.
So take the punishment today, O poet! Take this heap
of yellow dry flesh too! Cover your love with an ashen wrapper
so that the secretion of contagious mercury does not spill over.
Or be deaf so that no sweat of music, not even a drop thereof,
gathers on the forehead any more! Now keep lying down
straight, O furious hawk, pierced with fate's fierce arrows.
Isn't our give-and-take over?
The wandering locality girl has still kept her hands raised.
The last boat of valediction
is still beckoning me, shouting…
I am the last one.
The lines have ended, and so have the end-rhymes.
The deck of the boat is trembling
as if it's ready to set sail.
If I go away, nobody else will linger on this bank.
All's been washed away; should I float the darkness then?
With me thus terminated the game of light and dark.
My body is trembling just as the whole Bangladesh is.
Md. Elias Uddin is a Lecturer in the Department of English at Dhaka University.