Hassanal Abdullah

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

With a Little Cash

If I have a little cash, I will open an art shop
My modernist call
Will raise echo and journey to
Corners of places not reached before.
Let few days pass by
If I have a little cash, I will wash your
Soft feet with spring water.

If I have some money I will buy the giant sky--

Wandering all day on its floor
Birds will wake me up
And they will again put me asleep easily.
The world will find my hands in its own
If the crooked line of restlessness
Is wiped away. With some money
I will spend my time listening to the bees.

Faraway conversations:
No longer talking from wire-to-wire
No more wasting of sinew.
Bangladesh, take note of it
I will rest my head upon your breast
And sleep all night in tranquility
When I have just a little cash.

Translated from the Bengali by Nazrul Islam Naz


God's Home

In my childhood I saw many gods
With their red wide eyes
Full of threats.
My days passed by
Like a scared chick
Thrown into the corner of domesticity.

I did not raise my eyes to face them eye-to-eye.
They were on my head
As well as in thought's soft stage
And standing still in my path of vision.

I was not unhappy,
Walking behind them, but at times
I longed for a walk on the horizon
Away from their kingdom.
The thirst for freedom
Loomed in my burning breast.

Gods are still there, even more modern,
Robust, with their feet on atomic spheres:
Their cobwebs imprison my days.
In fact
I have not moved an inch from their kingdom.

Translated from the Bengali by Nazrul Islam Naz


The Light of the Earth

At last, I've captured the light of the earth in my courtyard.
That's a new story, a new jubilation of the se--
The wave goes away; soon it comes back to me
And the century's hungry compass rotates on its own orbit.
Thereafter, I have quickly embraced it. It was trembling, but
Showing my smiling face, I sucked its poison with my eyes.
I've Walked far to the edge of salty, translucent memories.
Leaves of Trees danced to the whistling tones of doves and robins.

A luxurious life is cracked with clumsy interior.
I've heard all attentively sitting on a waterbed.
I've seen a group old poets rushing towards me with
Annoyed faces, squandering the neighborhood, pushing knives
Through word's heart. Still, I've tasted all the flavors of this world;
Time gave it to me, and made them crazy indeed.

Translated from the Bengali by Nazrul Islam Naz


The Story of Ants

The ants got scared
They do not go home
They do not eat daal,nor dried rice
Are not moved by ticklings of the wind
Ants are not going home.

Once molasses
Smell like tobbaco leaf,
      dusk's sugarcane,
They no longer eat.
The ants got scared
They do not go home.

If rain, thunder comes to drown them, they drow--
Do not rise in protest.
If the burning heat comes to burn them, they burn
If still alive--dig earth again.

"Look at these ants
      Standing up with hands and feet up."
Why not eating?
Why not eating?
Why not going home?
Ants are in meditation all through midday.
They do not go home.

Translated from the Bengali by Nazrul Islam Naz


A Tale of Pigs and Peoples

Not pig, born as human,
This is my pride.

In response to your call
I will touch the delicacy of your skin.
Moments later, forsaking all,
Taking on a pig's character
Even if you can do it but not I.
And this is my pride.

One needs to be human prior to becoming a lover
And to receive love
Beautiful heart is required
Like a human

Not everyone can be a pig.

Translated from the Bengali by Nazrul Islam Naz