Shabdaguchha: Logo_new edited by: Hassanal Abdullah issue: 71/72


Poets and Translators:

Dariusz Thomasz Lebioda
Nino Provenzano Fuad Atal
Peter Thabit Jones
Joan Digby
Kristine Doll
John Digby
Carolyn Mary Kleefeld
Richard Jeffrey Newman
Bishnupada Ray
Dileep Jhaveri
J. Scotte Barkan
Shokrana Sarkar
Rachel Mejia
Baitullah Quaderee
Motin Raihan
Dilara Hafiz
Anisur Rahman Apu
Roni Adhikari
Jasim Uddin Tutul
Hassanal Abdullah

A Tribute To

Shaheed Quaderi (1942-2016)
Syed Shamsul Huq (1935-2016)
Rafiq Azad (1943-2016)

Book Review

Nicholas Birns

Letters to the Editor

Stanley H. Barkan
Nirmalendu Goon
Belal Beg
Tomasz Marek Sobieraj
Naznin Seamon
Bishnupada Ray
Sk Kamrul Hashan
Hasan Ali
Firoz Ashraf
Ariful Islam
Shahab Ahmed Taher Ahmed Razu Rahul Roychowdhury Momin Mahadi Khondkar Khosru Parvez Roni Adhikari

Cover Art:

Al Noman

New Logo:

Najib Tareque

    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
    into pain


    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
    heart-shaped bauble

    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
    telling lies
    poor Theresa

    * * *

    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


    Nino Provenzano


    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,
    fluid, alive,
    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

    New York

    Fuad Atal


    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

    New York

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পত্রিকার মুদ্রিত কপি


Poetry in Translation

Poetry in English

Poetry in Bengali

Poetry Dedicated to Stanley H Barkan

Book Review

Shabda News

Letters to the Editor

শব্দগুচ্ছর এই সংখ্যাটির মুদ্রিত সংস্করণ ডাকযোগে পেতে হলে অনুগ্রহপূর্বক নিচে ক্লিক করে ওয়ার্ডার করুন।

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Shabdaguchha, an International Bilingual Poetry Magazine, edited by Hassanal Abdullah