The International Poetry Journal in Bengali and English

Issue 39
Jan-Mar '08

Al Mahmud

The Night

Would I trim up the lamp?
She asked.

No, I replied.
Let me get the fragrance of dark.
Quietly, I would like to witness
How people fall asleep.
The world
Might take a nap, then you may go.

She smiled in drowsiness and went away
Darkening the night in her body.

The aura of her shining dark hair
Even fade a bit
No matter how much I play with it.

And so I scan the night with my sharp
Eye to seize the moment of sleepó
That might come into me with an ancient instinct
And set me in the bed calm and quiet.
The warmth of my relaxed bones lifts
The curtain of sleeplessness.

Al Mahmud (1936 - ) is one of the significant poetic voices of the 50s. He also writes short stories, novels and essays. He enriched Bengali poetry by his copious use of regional dialects. Once a radical humanist, Mr. Mahmud, who contributed poetry collections like Kaler Kalos (1966) and Sonali Kabin (1973), became an Islamist right after coming out of a year-long jail in 1974 and detached himself from the secular form of writing. He is the author of more than 80 books including 25 collections of poetry.

Translated from the Bengali by Hassanal Abdullah

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    Shabdaguchha, A Journal of Poetry, Published in New York, Edited by Hassanal Abdullah.