Poets and Translators:
Dariusz Thomasz Lebioda
Nino Provenzano Fuad Atal
Peter Thabit Jones
Carolyn Mary Kleefeld
Richard Jeffrey Newman
J. Scotte Barkan
Anisur Rahman Apu
Jasim Uddin Tutul
A Tribute To
Shaheed Quaderi (1942-2016)
Syed Shamsul Huq (1935-2016)
Rafiq Azad (1943-2016)
Letters to the Editor
Stanley H. Barkan
Tomasz Marek Sobieraj
Sk Kamrul Hashan
Taher Ahmed Razu
Khondkar Khosru Parvez
Dariusz Thomasz Lebioda
I long for the old tattered jeans I used to wear
rags bleached letters–if only I could save
it like some dying dog at a fence
I long for the old tattered jeans I used to play
football in–pocketless frayed trousers–
if only I could jump into it again and feel
as if I were a knight in new armor
I long for the old tattered jeans that got stuck
in the bike–no cuffs worn-away buttons–
if only I could retrieve its resistance
and previous color
I long for the old tattered jeans that saturated
my sweat and blood–loose strap loops and
stuck zipper–if only I could save it like
some dying dog at a fence
In the name of Jesus who didn’t care about
his wounds they cut their hands with
razor-blades they ripped the gashed
skin with their teeth
in the name of a Buddhist monk they saw
on tv spill petrol and burn himself they
put out the cigarettes on their palms
in the name of Jimi Hendrix they were
listening to in basements instead of
going to church as mother told
them to they talked about death
in the name of they didn’t know
in the name of who in the name
of those before them taking it
away from themselves
not giving it to anybody
The boys of my generation made military tattoos
they wore silver-chained cents around their necks
the boys worked out a lot for the sports disciplines
they threw one-hundred meter high dreams javelin
they shot-put their well-glided over time zones
whoever fell through had to try over again
the boys of my generation knew television and Gagarin
they once read there was Auschwitz and death
and who couldn’t believe it took their own lives for
love or just to try
the boys wore jeans and logo T-shirts
they liked drinking beer and taking up studies
in the evenings they got together around their blocks
of flats to discuss how to survive during
the next couple of days
* * *
We were surrounded by low-rise blocks
of flats as heavy as foundering dobbins
with no strength to pick up what we carried
the reflections of thousands of windows with
people sitting there looking at us willy-nilly
over their heads the running wheels of
Charles’s Wain were still creaking carrying
death as dense as cement spilling all over away
sometimes from this clattering bumpy wagon
of time some drops dripped down on our heads
as humble as if having taking the first holy
communion—we froze half-cried out unable
to lift a stone and throw it at the flying away
bird of past days
Macte animo generose puer,
sic itur ad astra
My friend cuts his hand with a razor-blade
and says smiling–look what damn good
gashes–why are you doing it–I ask–he
answers it given him self-equality
he can fight pain and the sight of blood
I say–boys of our age made notches
on the butts of rifles to mark every
killed German–he answers, if I keep talking
rubbish, I will get punched
Your fathers went through war and the fifties
they had you say a prayer and reproached you
for being young–they spanked you very
often and very tenderly anyway they did
all this for your good and you unwanted
children go drinking beer you don’t queue
fruit your hands got well to handing beer-
mug handles–you rankle at your wounds
plunging into your girls’ bodies, confident
and proud you reach at the pocket of time
you look with hatred at the policemen and
people like me–forever ready do dive
When they cut you off you had ten bucks, keys
with a heart-shaped bauble, a pocket of cheap
cigarettes, and a rumpled box of matches
your brothers didn’t know what the keys
fitted in to–your brothers didn’t see the plastic
only the bitch Theresa you locked yourself in with
in the basement smiled foolishly when we asked
her about it
when we hung around with her and one of us
managed to set her on fire she said: he couldn’t
fit any of these keys to her heart and added that
anyway she really loved him
poor little Theresa–nobody listened to her
telling the truth nobody listening to her
* * *
When we used to go to primary school
our physical education teacher had us
circle the nearby cemetery twice
I remember how much we enjoyed
good result still gasping we despised
the marauders–today there some of
us lying in the graves once running
around it and I do not know now
who outsider is
Translated from the Polish by the poet
We are on Fifth Avenue
Rockefeller Center, New York
where the largest Christmas tree
is already in holiday garb giving the signal
to the stores artistically choreographed,
to inspire pomp and cheer.
Across, in the window of a gallery,
painted canvases can be observed
of every size
caressed with lights.
Each canvas enclosed in its own frame,
furtively seems to look at its neighbor and say
"I am greater than you,
so said my maker!"
Outside the window,
on the sidewalk,
there is a canvas without a frame,
appearing unfinished and choreographed by an artist who is not present.
What one sees at the moment
is a man with deep eyes, and skin and bones,
sitting on the floor with an almost dignified demeanor.
His gaze absent, distant.
His expression neither haughty nor pitiable.
People go by, but no one notices,
no one looks at the floor the cardboard
on which is written "Homeless, with no food to eat...."
No one sees the writing,
even if the first line is in large characters,
and red ink, the color of blood
and the second, in black ink,
black as coal, as the deep night.
Tied to the man's left foot
there is a dog with a short leash and a muzzle.
It's not a watchdog, or a hound or catch dog.
It's thin like its master,
eyes tired, mopish,
silently looking at people bundled up
against the cold, angry wind.
Outside the box, on the ground, there is a book that no one reads.
Only the wind intermittently turns a page,
at times two, three, four.
Unread pages, one after another.
A robin flies in circles above the scene
then lands before the man sitting on the ground
as if with compassion.
Why right here? A robin
on Fifth Avenue, on a smooth sidewalk,
without breadcrumbs or worms. Why?
The bird flies away, then returns.
Tweet, tweet, tweet,
Hops before the man there for no one.
Hops before the empty box.
Hops before the dog with spent eyes.
Hops before the pages that the wind continues to turn . . .
Tweet, tweet, tweet,
and while moving it turns
two, three times, like a model strutting on the catwalk
to show profile, line ad form.
It flies. Two circles in the air and returns again,
anxiously, as one that forgot
to say an important thing.
Without tweeting, in front of the man sitting on the floor,
the robin with head held high and chest forward,
insists on displaying his wounded hearth
wounded forever. Born wounded and never healed!
Then it leaves . . . Only the dog watches the robin . . .
There . . . A passerby stops, reads the sign, observes the scene.
Puts his hand in his pocket and pulls out a fifty dollar bill,
saying to the man "This is yours, if you free the dog.
I'll take it with me.
The two men remain with eyes
fixed on each others' with a hatred
that transcends class and justice,
while the wind hurriedly closed the last page of the book,
to preserve its unread history.
Translated from the Sicilian by the poet
A summery night,one of July’s dreamy nights.
The wind blows smoothly, awakening my heart.
New York City and its magical nights.
I am worthy and dignified.
The seeds of my soul are flourishing.
The secrets of my heart are running away.
My feelings are brand new and my thoughts are like sunshine.
The city opens her doors and her heart to everyone
without any locks or chains.
I came to this city as a young man,
looking at everything with love and hope.
I wanted to race, take off and fly.
I am riding the caravan of time to a place
called Destiny that has no ports or shores.
I drink from the river of life and pour into the sea of eternity.
Fear and superstition cannot stop my journey.
I cross the borders of every city searching,
looking into people’s faces—
a dreamer from the East, a Sinbad from the seven seas.
My friends say to me: “You have to come back to your Homeland,
to your Earth and Heaven
are you not afraid for your children, of the tsunami of modernity?
“Corruption has spread on land and sea.
Being beneath the earth is better
than being on the surface.”
But I say, “I hate to hesitate, to be disconnected.
I’d rather look ahead and not look back.
“My feelings are different, my thoughts are, too.
My chest has widened, my vision extended,
and my insight is complete and universal,
combining the land, the people, the living and the dead.
“I have become a son of Mankind,
a son of the world,
and a son of civilization.”
If land matters, people matter more.
Hating and fighting I am an alien to that.
Democracy and diplomacy are such big words.
I prefer words that are simple—
like honesty, integrity, generosity, and humility.
I live in this world as an individual,
I carry on my back my load.
Fortune, fame, and legacy I shall not take with me.
If I bomb you and you bomb me,
we will both be dead and cease to exist.
I’d rather live and you live by my side.
If we both join hands and build a promising future,
if we work towards peace, love, and friendship,
rather than hostility and enmity . . .
Terror and war . . . When will that end?
I am tired of the cloudy skies.
I would rather see sunshine and eternal spring.
I want to fill up my lungs with clean, sweet air
and soften my kidneys with pure, fresh water and
be thankful for the gift of life!
Translated from Arabic by the poet
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পত্রিকার মুদ্রিত কপি
Poetry in Translation
Poetry in English
Poetry in Bengali
Poetry Dedicated to Stanley H Barkan
Letters to the Editor
শব্দগুচ্ছর এই সংখ্যাটির মুদ্রিত সংস্করণ ডাকযোগে পেতে হলে
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