The International Poetry Journal in Bengali and English

Issue 39
Jan-Mar '08

Khondakar Ashraf Hossain

A Distant Bird

What are you picking, distant bird?
Iím picking wheat, seeds, and life.
What are you searching for the whole day
Between the branches and the vines?
Iím looking for my own heart, the other life
That was left here.

The youth I lost, my eternal hoard
After the thunderstorm
Which I deposited in the hollow of
An ashok tree. The cold misery of the past,
Luster, and love that was banked to the
Eternal stone, blue as conch-shell . . .
Went into the oblivion.

Whom do you call for the whole day, distant bird?
I call for shadow, soft light, and the leisure of the ripe fruits.
Once my soul-companion, blurry in smokey hand,
Wiped out the sweat from her forehead.
And the puhi and pomegranate leaves
Grown out to the corner of my backyard
Once sang for the shining staró
Then they melted into dust and water.

Where do you go in the end of the day?
Wherever the cloud goes after the thunderstorm,
And the twilight creates a reasonable shelteró
I go into the sleeping oblivion, into the plants and leaves.

What do you carry in your beak, distant bird?
I carry pieces of hay, death, and life beyond it.

Puhi: leafy vegetables.

Khondakar Ashraf Hossain (1950 - ) started writing at a later age, after becoming the professor of English literature at Dhaka University. He published six books of poetry including his Selected Poems and a well regarded book of critical essays on Bengali poetry. He is the editor of Akkobinshaw, a poetry magazine.†He visited the United States in the late 90s.

Translated from the Bengali by Hassanal Abdullah

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