Mother with far fewer
I can’t but be surprised.
She sees green field and green grass.
In the grass there roam eleven ducks.
After this there is seen a sawmill.
While crossing it the ducks get sawed in their necks,
Mother starts calling the ducks by name.
Mother keeps calling my name.
Running after her voice I ran into the dream.
With far fewer things
She sees green field — I have come in the middle of that field.
Green grass– I got stuck under that grass. Mother calls my name,
I cannot come out
I cannot come out anymore
In my chest there runs the neck- sawed ducks.
Five flowers are there in a tree
One of them goes to hospital to attend to a patient,
One of them goes to jail to release a leader,
One goes to a bridal chamber, another with a corpse
The fifth one is hanging on the branch,
I fell asleep on a stone.
I couldn’t sleep for ages.
That’s why I slept on a stone.
And before sleeping
I ate the stone like an olive. The shells of the stone were floating in the river.
The tide was so high. The wave was severe. I ate the river along with the tide and the wave. On both banks of the river
there was a standing march of some trees lined like boys. All the leaves were so green. And on the branches there were some yellow birds. I ate the trees along with the leaves and the birds. I floated on a city made of waves. There was a game running on in the gorgeous Stadium. In the field
there were twenty-two players, the gallery was full of supporters. I
ate the stadium along with the players and supporters. In the end of the city
there was a library standing upright like an old Brahmin. The library shelves were decorated with Tagore, Einstein, Marx and Darwin….
I ate the library along with Tagore, Einstein, Marx and Darwin.
After this I ate all the airplanes from the airport, Parliament House and Office of UN. Groves and mountains. Continents and seas. It means I ate all the world. All the seven skies with stars, galaxies and….. The whole universe. After this, slowly I reached God.
I couldn’t sleep for many years. So my eyes
were full of drowsiness.
Before I said anything God asked me, are you repentant?
I was exhausted. It seemed he asked me,
Is the world repentant? I was looking for a stone to sleep on.
God again asked me, Are you repentant?
Again I heard, is the world repentant?
I couldn’t sleep for ages. Leaving all the tiredness I shouted before the Almighty,
The Earth is a swine.
While being digested in the belly of fishes it comes to my mind, Without permission
Not for leaving the country, To flee keeping the countrymen in darkness Allah
Punished Prophet Yunus. I realize immediately
for what guilt
I have become food for the fishes. There creates a kind of repentance in me
its temperature is hotter than the stomach of the fish. I
And right then a voice of the unseen is heard. The voice of the unseen says to me,
The supplication the prophet of the Muslims uttered — You
Know it? I said, I know. He said, You
Will get freed if you can read this supplication once.
I have started melting at much heat. Yet
I cannot understand … what shall I do? If I get freed from the belly of the fish, the crocodile
will devour me… I do not know the supplication of coming out from the belly of crocodiles.
Boy, who has not heard about the town of the soul!
that it is situated in the east of the last road, that’s also
known to many.
In the sky of this town the dead boys run their kite and
keep sitting on the branches of trees. Those who know not swimming,
teach them to swim. It’s heard
in the pond of the earth
the boy who was drowned and died, In the
afterlife he has become the best
These poems are originally written in Bengali by Imtiaz Mahmud. Imtiaz Mahmud is a widely read contemporary Bangla writer who was born in 1980. He has eight published books of poetry.
Alamgir Mohammad is an academic and translator. He teaches at the Department of English Language and Literature in Premier University Chattogram, Bangladesh. His translated works include ‘Pordeshi Eksho Kobita’, ‘ Selected Letters of Kazi Nazrul Islam’, ‘ The Great Prophet Muhammed (Sm) by Al Mahmud and ‘ Letters of Begum Rokeya ‘ and ‘Mother- in- law and other Stories’.