Hassanal Abdullah, A Poet



Hassanal Abdullah

A poet, novelist, essayist, critic, translator and the editor of Shabdaguchha



Selected Poems of Humayun Azad

Translated by Hassanal Abdullah

 

Blood Bank

The Bengal soil is sacrificing blood everyday.
Every passerby donates a little to the Blood Bank,
Deposits it for the future.

Workers sacrifice their sun-like-blood-seeds
On the way to work.
School children, teenage boys and girls,
Villagers, peasants, ricksaw pullers, senior citizens
And the canvassers,
The old boatmen, the condemned fishermen of Padma
All, all of them sacrifice their blood to
The Blood Bank--the Bengal soil.
Bengal's blood is now rushing to the ground.

The river Padma might dry and the ocean might vaporize
Nature might also be distorted
But, we, Bengalis, will find a new Padma,
A new Nature and
A new village that was once destroyed.

Now, there is no better Blood Bank
Other than the Bengal soil.
One drop of blood becomes ten
As soon as it has been sacrificed.
Therefore, no one wants to donate blood
To the hospitals.

Now, all of Bengal's blood is rushing to the ground.

 

The House of God

The playground where I used to play in my boyhood,
I've seen a mosque there
After thirty years.
I want to know where children go to play now?
People say, they don't play anymore,
They pray five times a day in the mosque instead.

On the bank of Buriganga river,
Where Merriam and I used to go and stare at
Each other for hours,
While we were the students at the University,
Recently I went there and saw a redbrick mosque
Built with the aid from Saudi Arabia.
People with long Islamic dress move around.

Twenty five years ago,
On the sea shore in Mumbi, where we
Went to a party, and drank and danced,
Danced and drank for the whole night,
In 1995, I saw a big temple at the same place.
The half-naked saints, Rama and Sita, innumerable Hanumans
Were all around.
Dancing and drinking were totally prohibited.

At the side of the Firth of Forth, in the woods
Where Susan hugged me and offered her red lips,
Recently I went there and saw a big church.
A giant cross was hanged from the sky to the ground.

I ask, why so many Houses of God everywhere I go?
Why there is no playground in my village?
Why there is no place in the bank of the river where lovers
Can stare at each other?
Why there is no place to hug and kiss?
Why there is no place to dance and drink?
People say, the world is full of sin,
The sky and the land are full of peoples' misdeed--
So our only duty is to pray now.

Looking around me when I see unlimited number of
Strong and rigid faces,
I do not grab the guts to disagree with them.

 

I probably will die for a little thing

I probably will die for a little thing,
A little leaf of grass,
And a little drop of dew.
I probably will die for a paddle of flower
Suddenly fly away in summer's blow.
I will die for a bit of rain.

I probably will die for a little thing,
A short coo of a cuckoo,
And a little wave of a toddler's face.
I probably will die for a little drop of tear
Hangs on someone's eyeball.
I will die for a bit of sunshine.

I probably will die for a little thing,
A little rays of moonlight,
And a little piece of cloud.
I probably will die for a butterfly
Lost in the twenty-first floor of a tower.
I will die for a bit of green.

I probably will die for a little thing,
A portion of a little dream,
And a little sadness.
I probably will die for a little sigh
In someone else's sleep.
I will die for a bit of beauty.

 

I lived in other people's time

I lived in other people's time.
Their fingerprints were on my food,
Their germs were in my drinks,
And their pollution was in my faith.

I was born and raised and lived in
Other people's time.
I learned to stand like them,
I learned to walk like them,
I learned to dress like them,
I learned to fix my hair like them
I learned to talk like them.

They taught me how to stand like them,
They ordered me to walk like them,
They ruled me to dress like them,
They made me fix my hair like them,
They put their polluted words in my mouth.
They made me live exactly like them.
I lived in other people's time.

I wanted to stand on my own way,
I wanted to walk my own way,
I wanted to dress up my own way,
I wanted to fix my hair my own way,
I wanted to pronounce my mother's tongue
my own way.
I wanted to breathe my own way.

I wanted to eat fresh food,
I wanted to drink from my pure drink.

I was born in a wrong time. My time did not show up.
I bloomed on a wrong plant. My plant did not sprout.
I waved myself in a wrong river. My own river did not exist.
I swam through the wrong cloud.
My own cloud was not there in the sky.
I lived in other people's time.

I wanted to sing in my own tune,
They wanted me singing in their shallow nodes.

I wanted to dream my own way,
They made me dream the way they did.

I wanted to stand in my own way,
They ordered me to stand like them lowering my head.

I wanted to speak my own way,
They wanted me to speak in their dirty words.

I wanted to go all the way in,
They told me to stand outside as they did.

A piece of leftover meat was their level of success,
Kneeling down to someone's feet was their thought of pride,
The hump on their back was their award of work,
And a chain on the neck was their great ornament.

I was away from the piece of meat. They did not tolerate it.
Instead of kneeling down I invited the misfortune.
They did not tolerate it.
Instead of the hump on my back, I accepted knives on my chest.
They did not tolerate it.
I put the chain on my hand and feet, instead of my neck.
They did not tolerate it.
I lived in other people's time. My time did not show up.

Their ponds were full with seasonal fish,
Their gardens were full with seasonal vegetables,
Their yards were full with seasonal flowers.

I made my own lake in their time,
So there was no water in it.
I cultivated my own way in their time,
So there was no harvest in my field.
I wanted to make a garden on my own in their time,
So there were no flowers in my garden.
It was not yet the time for sparkling water in my lake.
It was not yet the time for a new harvest in my field.
It was not yet the season for my new flower.
I lived in other people's time.

All of my acts became a failure as the time in future,
They were successful at their present time.

The flower they wanted to pick,
They picked them torn with their nails.
I only dreamed of beautiful flowers.
The girls they wanted to hug,
They hugged them like a thug.
I only hugged my girl in my dream.

The woman they wanted to sleep with,
They killed her in their arms.
I only had my woman in my dream.

They used wolf-teeth while kissing.
I only offered my lips in my dream.
I lived in other peopleÕs time.

Whatever my eyes wanted to see, I could not see it.
My time did not show up yet.
Whatever the way my feet wanted to travel,
I could not go that way.
My time did not show up yet.
Whatever my heart wanted to offer, it could not offer it.
My time did not show up yet.
Whoever my body wanted to touch, it could not touch her.
My time did not show up yet.
The world I wanted to have, I did not get it.
My time did not show up yet.
My time did not show up yet.
I lived in other people's time.

 

Everything will go onto the thugs' hand

I know, everything will go onto the thugs' hand.
Their ugly fist will capture all the human councils
And forums; the civilization will eventually go into
Their fists--our important document too, the way the States,
And the governing bodies have gone into their hands.
They will possess cities and ports, villages and fields,
The black clouds and the red saris, the white moon and
BirdsÕ feathers; the temples, mosques, churches, synagogues,
And the lonely pagodas; the weapons and democracy
Have already gone into their hands, people will go too.
Throwing farmers dream to the Dust Bins,
One day, Socialism will also go onto the thugs' hand.

I know, everything will go onto the thugs' hand.
The clear sunny day, and the night of the full-moon,
The villagers' hey towers that could seduce the river,
And the rain of the fall will be possessed by the thugs.
The moonlights of Rabindranath Tagore, the heart
Content tune of the Ravi Shanker's cither, the sweet
Fleshy call of the Rain Deer, the cowboys and
The chash-field will one-day go onto the thugs' hand.
The fairy tales: Beauty, creativity and talents,
Even the favorite thought of immortality of
the crazy and fool--hurting the fool and the crazy
A lot, everything will cheerfully go onto the thugs' hand.

I know, everything will go onto the thugs' hand.
The prettiest girl will hold the thugs' penis
With her gentle hands and suck it for the whole night.

The filthy thigh of those nuisance will hold
The spiritual altar of beauty. The teenage girls
Will go on to their hands. Our lovers, rejecting
Our warmest love and embrace, will go on to becoming
The thugs' concubines. The books and hymns,
Money and monetary cells, dew, violins, rise,
Politics, robin's lips, prose and poetry, all my female
Students, Marx-Lenin, and my beautiful girl
As the green fields of Bangladesh--the left-out
Little light of the fallen civilization will--
As I know, eventually go on to the thugs' hand.
On February 27, 2004, the most significant poet, novelist, linguist, and freethinker of Bangladesh Prof. Humayun Azad (1947-2004), Ph.D., was attacked by the Islamic fundamentalists for his latest novel, Pak Sar Jamin Saad Baad, which portrayed the brutal acts of the fundamentalists to the innocent public, and, on the broader scale, to the world. He was bleeding profusely from his left jaw and the back of his head. Dr. Azad, an author of over 50 books and the most outspoken writer of the country, was clinically dead for a few days. He survived the attempt, but was living in a continuous threat of the terrorists. Upon receiving a scholarship offered by Munich University in cooperation with the PEN of Germany, and since the government of Bangladesh failed to protect him, Dr. Azad seemed to have no choice but accepting the offer and flying to Germany. Shortly afterwards, he was found dead in his apartment. The German Police said it was a heart attack. But how he died is still a mystery to millions of concerned people. The Islamic fundamentalists, who want to make Bangladesh a second Afghanistan, win this time; though Dr. Azad and his writings will be with us forever.

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