The map I dream drawing every day, Bangladesh, is yours.
I will never be weary of dreaming to see you progress from
The bottomless basket to a beautiful land of liberty and love.
You contain my universe, Bangladesh, where morning starts
With rose-coloured light of the sun like sparks we know
Human brains carry to enlighten the world, to cultivate the
Crops of happiness because your soil is fecund, your monsoon
Is moderate and in spring greens adorn you with the outfit
Of a damsel ready to tie the knot in a mood of merriments.
I can't stop dreaming the land where harmony among religions
Made the occupiers stare in disbelief, the land where both
City and country had bonds, connecting the populace with a
Lisle of amity and empathy, with no sign of bigotry or injustice.
I keep on dreaming the ground where organic viands grew
And kept men sturdy and women statuesque like Sultan's.
I dream of the dawn when country people awoke at the call of
Cockerels and city dwellers didn't burn the midnight oil hatching
Foxy cabals against the babes in the woods, against kids on laps.
I look back and recall the memories of playing in green fields,
Running in sports for an innocuous recognition sans acrimony,
Of seeing children grow up without depression and tension.
I still dream because I am not a nihilist piping a flute of anxiety
But my songs are in danger of extinction, my music in peril.
They toss around and smash sculptures, banning Lalan's lyrics.
Arts and letters beguile, poets spread lies—they shout loud.
Body language suggests they merely deal with fire and ashes,
Whereas the great lights uphold Poetry is music of being human.
Sometimes anguish seizes my mind, kinks thought process too
But I cannot cease to dream of rivers flowing gently to life
Because maybe what I see are just metaphors coming out of
A flask of hallucinations smudged for negligence for eons.
Sometimes I wish to take flight from dark clouds of the land
As the sky whose horizons stretch to eternity looks vaster
And then my skyward rotunda of memories puts me in a limbo.
Sounds from the asylum of silence induce me to sojourn
In the contemporary bailiwick of chaos, just to wait for a time
When words in verse and imagination will direct our dreams
Or dreams will lead us to where we always aspire to live forever.
Mohammad Shafiqul Islam is poet and translator; he teaches English at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet.