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I'll stand a while

  • Published at 04:35 pm October 6th, 2016
  • Last updated at 04:25 am October 7th, 2016
I'll stand a while

(Translated by Shamsad Mortuza)

I’ll stand a while and then take my leave

I’ll just stop by before I proceed

No, I am not here to stay;

This isn't my travel’s end;

I’ll stand a while

And take my leave

From here.

I’ll go

Away from your very city

Away from the calculation of your march past

And the rotating blades of helicopters

--Rapidly

I’ll go

Away from the ticker-tapes

Prying from the windows of your commercial blocks

--Now

I’ll go

Away from the ever watchful

Computers containing my

Bio-data

--Immediately

I’ll go

Just the way I was going before

Slowly and slowly

Taking quite a long time

I shall move through one

Two

Three

Generations.

I promise

I’ll not kiss any of your woman;

I promise

I’ll not carry any of your child on my lap

I promise

I’ll not apply for any of your apartment

I’ll not apply for a loan from your bank

I’ll not try to become a member of your Council

I’ll not take part in your polls

And I further promise

I’ll not give any talk on your radio

I’ll not feed any info in your computer

I’ll not try to ride your helicopters

I’ll not drum up during your march past.

It aches me to be in your apartments

It aches me to use your oven

It aches me to be at your bank

It aches me to be in your Council

It aches me to find myself in your mirror

It aches me to drink from your glass

It aches me to be with your women

It aches me to be with your children.

I’ll just stand a while and see -

After all, the view is just a part of my journey back home,

I’ll go home,

Your city just happens to be a part of my journey --

I’ll move on now.

The apartments you have, I know, lack roofs

The ovens you have, I know, lack fire

The banks you have, I know, lack wealth

The Councils you have lack consensus

The mirrors you have shed no reflections

The glasses you have drop no drink

I know

Your women lack the ability to bear any child

I know

Your children do not hold a single grain of crops

For two or three generations

I have felt

More than one wars—one peace

More than one famines—one crops

More than one stillness—one voice

More than one genocides—one boat

More than one flags—one freedom

In the badly bruised body of mine

To progress slowly-

Towards a house that doesn't fall apart

Towards an oven that doesn't snuff out

Towards a bank that doesn't go bust

Towards a council that doesn't declare war

Towards a mirror that reflect

Towards a glass that offer the desired drink

Towards a woman who has just let down her hair

Towards a child who has just got wet in the rain.

This movement of mine

Is actually through yours.

Night after night I proceed like an alert animal

Seeking water under the moon

Tearing silence apart like cobwebs

I am walking like a prisoner in a cave

Guided by the sound of the water.

I don’t know whether at the end of the road

There awaits a woman or just her severed umbilical cord

I don’t know whether I shall see at the end

A moon in the lake or a skull in the mud.

Still I need to move on,

I need to go, with all the wounds in my body.

While moving through the city

If I chance upon a couple

Whose song is ready to be borne by the wind

I may feel like stopping a while—

As I too wanted to be a couple.

If I chance upon torn pieces of paper

That have entrapped the words some a poet

I may feel like stopping awhile—

As I too gripped a pen to write a poem.

If I chance upon a white flower

That has the strong scent to paint the dark night

I may feel like stopping a while—

As I too dreamt of a garden.

I am being called by a woman who is prepared for the night

I must go;

I am being called by a paper who is inviting me for a poem

I must go;

I am being called by a garden who is ready with all its plants

I must go;

I am being called by a child

I am being called by a State

I am being called by a mirror to appear before it

So after stopping for a while I shall keep on going

Just the way I was going before

Slowly and slowly

Taking quite a long time

I shall move through one

Two

Three

Generations.

My path has always passed through yours;

I have stopped and moved to take my own.

Shamsad Mortuza is professor of English, Univ of Dhaka (on leave). He is currently the head of Department of English and Humanities, ULAB