The International Poetry Journal in Bengali and English

Issue 39
Jan-Mar '08

Rudro Muhammad Shahidullah

Corpses Smell in the Air

I still smell the corpses in the air
I still see death dancing naked in the street
I still hear the scream of the women being raped—
Has the country forgotten that cruel night of bloodshed?

Corpses smell in the air
The blood stain is still on the ground
People, once sworn for the country
Engulfed by the dreadful dark now
In the dirty pus of misfortune
Hesitantly awake in the nightly cave of oblivion

As if, a teenage mother is shamed in adultery.
Liberty—is it a spoiled birth?
Is it the harvest of infidelity?

The old vulture has now clawed the national flag.

Corpses smell in the air—
Yet, the dancer’s flesh shines in the neon light.
Blood stain is on the ground
The hungry bones of the poor are dumped in the rice-granary.

I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep at all for the whole night.
I hear the screams of the raped In my drowsiness—
I see the rotting corpses floating through the river
The headless dog eaten dead body of a woman appears in my vision
I can’t sleep, I can’t sleep . . .

Covered in blood-stained-coffin-cloth—
Half eaten by the dogs and vultures:
My brother, my mother, and my dearest father . . .
Liberty—my only beloved, I achieved by sacrificing all others.
Liberty—my prime harvest, I bought with the price of
The blood of my dearest ones.

My sister who was raped and killed:
I still see her sari—
As if it is now the blood shaded national flag.

Rudro Muhammad Shahidullah (1956 - 1991) published five collections of poetry before he died in a very early age. His Collected Works was published after his death in two volumes. He was another bohemian poets of Bangladesh. Rudro married Taslima Nasrin, now the world renowned writer, but the marriage did not last longer.

Translated from the Bengali by Hassanal Abdullah

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