Poetry in translation
The quarrelling’s been going on, you couldn’t stay home
The price of onions too high so you didn’t get them
Flowers bloom in the grass of Curzon Hall
(Rabindranath, I’m in debt to you …) Yes, I know it’s February—
Seminars, the book fair, final proofs—I know you forgot it all,
Donned that ancient yellow panjabi and stalked out—
I know, Bazlu bhai’s on his last journey at the Shaheed Minar
And flowers bloom in glens. Yet insidiously I carry on the fight
Though life’s two-score years have long since gone by—
All right, okay, we shall meet the year round at the Ekushey fair
And flowers will bloom as Falgun falls
And maybe in a second life I’ll get some peace and quiet.
So clad in that yellow panjabi out you went
The day went by bickering, love sprouted among the flowers
On a squabble-and-moonlight-mixed spring night
I saw in a dream
You placed a tiara on my head,
oh the agony the vision brought—the torment!
You searched and couldn’t find your heart
So you placed on high your anguish
In pain I staggered and understood
This was not gold but a drop of ambrosia.
(Translated by Khademul Islam. Reprinted with permission from On My Birthday and Other Poems in Translation by Khademul Islam, 2016. Published by Bengal Lights Books)