A one-man army,
Foes being two hundred millions,
I won in an hour;
With no shield, no sword, no guns,
I built a realm in ten months.
A one-man kingdom,
All the gates and doors being locked,
I ate, drank and danced;
With no friend, no foe, no kin,
I slumbered all day and night.
A Life in a cell,
Seven heavens being in there,
I drooled for more lands;
With no mission, no vision,
I dreamed to build an empire.
A life in riches,
Only darkness being in there,
I wished to see light;
And I have been a beggar,
Ever since I saw the light.
The whole world is a lunatic asylum,
All human beings are insane;
I know this world is not mine,
Neither am I fallen.
I bathe in the sea of silence,
I surf on the murmuring waves;
I enjoy the jingling pebbles,
I sunbathe on the shining shore.
I listen to the twitter of loneliness,
I keep gazing at the fallen feathers;
I write lines of melancholy,
I enjoy all heavenly fruits.
My solitude is my heaven,
This world is not mine, neither am I fallen.
Many a time have I begged Charon to ferry me to hell proper,
And bribed him with a few lines from my best poems;
Yet I am still wandering in the vestibule,
‘cause I am neither Dante nor Virgil.
Half my life have I tiptoed on the shore of Acheron,
With my desire stinging me like the wasps and hornets,
And my passion sucking my blood like the maggots,
Half my life I am neither in hell nor in heaven.
Love is like a large sea oyster,
Fortified with the shell of trust;
Mistrust often makes its way there,
Like a small particle of sand;
But sure, it always brings with it,
A big bright bead of precious pearl.
Two heavenly roads diverged into this callous world,
I took the one less travelled by;
And my soul-mate took the other,
Where she got stuck in huge traffic jam.
I have been looking for her for years,
And I know, for sure,
Now she is looking for me too,
But in opposite directions.
Let Saint Valentine light her tank of love,
Let her come to the crossroads where I still misfire.
(Dhaka, 11 February 2014)
Oh yes, my mother! You are an age-old ragged banner,
fluttering in the stormy winds of beastly corruption,
over the broken highways and footpaths of hopeless hope,
trodden with the spiky jackboots of nasty politics.
Yet we are the tough strings, tightly holding your upper ends,
and tying tight to withering branches of ‘conomy;
Yet we are the unbreakable pieces of heavy stone,
hanging like heavy medals from your crippling lower ends.
And the pains of rapes and acid-burns, lootings and killings
are now tens of thousands of cutouts off your heaving chest;
And our indomitable will is the shower of hope,
now making the withering tree sprout and rejuvenate.
How will a tempestuous typhoon now topple you down?
How will beastly Sidrs with ghastly gusts now blow you off?
Seven long summers, I slept in your lap,
With thousands thirsty bugs in your sari
And millions mosquitoes over your head
Sucking all my jaundiced blood drop by drop.
In rainy days, I heard you cry and sob,
Seeing me take some stale rice and rat-smelt dal
And live on just two modest meals a day,
Turning myself into a bag of bones.
I used to wake up late to miss my milk,
And save some coins every cloudy morning;
My friends and field work used to freak me out,
You just warned me not to miss the tilting.
Like the old Ant you kept advising me,
But this Grasshopper indulged in idleness;
Seven Late Autumns, I missed my harvest,
But you kept feeding me with what you had.
When all my little hope used to wither,
Like the leaves of the trees by my window,
You watered it with the tears of blessing
And helped new hope sprout and rejuvenate.
What I am today is what and how much
I drank from the little springs of knowledge,
Gushing out in stream of your skinny breasts
That still do suckle thousands thirsty lips.
My friends and family seem to love me no more,
They offer me amorous bottles of poison,
And ask me to commit suicide;
Drink or not to drink-
Is the deadening question
I have yet to answer.
(Dhaka, 14 September 2012)
The fire of wrath has set all things ablaze,
Human things now steam up, tyrants cool down,
Earth mother cries at Ghibli’s ghastly rage.
Mice and cockroaches – all cry out for help,
In dark and dust, they see no rising sun;
Dictators are now unyielding leeches,
Day and night, they just drink the blood of earth;
Like Sphinx, they rise up again and again,
Engulfing rays of hope in their ashes.
Expatriates pay their wages of sin,
As they came to build the blessed nations;
So long as these ill-fated humans live,
They may never adore the Middle East.