Shabdaguchha: Logo_new edited by: Hassanal Abdullah issue: 73/74


Poets and Translators:

Adam Szyper
Amir Or
Aniela Gregorek
Beata Pozniak
Bill Wolak
Birutė Jonuškaitė
Danuta Bartosz
Dariusz Tomasz Lebioda
Hassanal Abdullah
Hatif Janabi
Jerzy Gregorek
Jaroslaw Pijarowski
Joan Digby
Józef Baran
Kazimierz Burnat
Małgorzata Żurecka
Lee Kuei-shien
Maria Mistrioti
Mirosław Grudzien
Nat Scammacca
Naznin Seamon
Sona Van
Stanley H. Barkan
Tomasz Marek Sobieraj
Zbigniew Milewski

Poetry in Bengali

Ahmed Shiplu
Rafiquzzaman Rony
Roni Adhikari
Uday Shankar Durjoy

Short Reivew

Belal Beg

Letters to the Editor

Badal Ghosh
Jasim Uddin Tutul
Maria Mistrioti
Nilas Mazumder
Noorelahi Mina
Jelani Sarker

Cover Art:

Jacek Wysocki


Najib Tareque

Celebrating 21 Years of Publication
প্রকাশনার একুশ বছর

Poetry from Other Countries

Nat Scammacca

For AlmeenAlwan

I have not much to say 
and yet
I feel whole continents
dragging me back
in small things:
The morning grass,
and old old things
like the green pump
its metal dripping wet,
and the shivering
with fresh newness,
surprised at little things.



I did a terrible thing!
I built the wall!
It is high and wide and long,
and stronger still,
it is silence.
I know—for brick by brick
I raised the wall around me
and closed myself away.
This wall is structured 
with dreamless time.
I cannot grasp it,
I cannot tear it down.
The fool I am says,
it is not there.
But I know the wall
is high and wide and long.
I gathered in her arms
thinking peace was mine forever.
Then I sacrificed our love
for solid stones to stand
as the substance of the wall.
     Now I have nothing but the wall
and silence.
What a terrible thing to know  
     It was I
who build the wall.



In far off Sicily I sing
Like an American
Though lost in the whirl of events
I still see wet pavements glistening

Under the corner lamp lights,
The endless corners of New York City
And I hear the syncopated jazz of Gershwin
Throbbing in my ears.

All part of me
The upbeat, the step ahead
To sweet tunes,
I left it all

Because of crazed composers
Beating their political tomtoms
To the tune of war,
Beats that crashed into me

That grogged me
That punchdrunked me
And made me flee
Like a whipped dog

Dragging my secret dreams along
Because no ears could hear
Other than the great hurrahs for war.
But oh! The pulse of street cars

And afternoon rushes,
Of the big town,
That still lives in me

Like a gigantic echo
Splitting into all the Brooklyn slangs
And multicolored accents
Of the biggest crowd I know.

This all reminds me
I am an American.



Amir Or


And if I would have portrayed for you
this soft bluish light
the tremulous reflection of the poplar in the water
when a convoy of ducks is crossing the pond
and beyond the circular shore line
the bushes and the bay and the green mountain
melting into the cloud-sky in the rain–

wouldn’t you search my eyes
with a prying searchlight
shoot a duck or two
down between the lines
and pray for the monster to emerge from the sea
and gape open upon your flesh, a sky-high mouth
to redeem you
from this divine dullness?

But there’s no need. Here, I’m sketching it for you–
the beams and the nails, the convulsions, the pain
wave after wave in his butterfly’s wings–
your glowing faces, the landscape
and finally–his wonderful cry
the pleasure-strike hitting into your flesh
the quivering thrill–

Just one more minute. Patience. I’m almost

Translated from Hebrew by Vivian Eden


It was not in vain that we awaited the barbarians,
it was not in vain that we gathered in the city square.
It was not in vain that our great ones put on their official robes
and rehearsed their speeches for the event.
It was not in vain that we smashed our temples
and erected new ones to their gods;
as proper we burnt our books
that have nothing in them for people like that.
As the prophesy foretold the barbarians came,
and took the keys to the city from the king’s hand.
But when they came they wore the garments of the land,
and their customs were the customs of the state;
and when they commanded us in our own tongue
we no longer knew when
the barbarians had come to us.

Translated from Hebrew by Vivian Eden


The perfect murder has no reasons, he said,
the perfect murder needs only a perfect object,
as it was in Auschwitz.
Not the crematoria, of course, but as it was
afterwards, outside working hours.
And he fell silent
looking at the froth on the beer
and taking a sip.

The perfect murder is love, he said.
The perfect murder doesn’t require anything perfect
except giving
as much as you can.
Even the memory of gripping the throat
is eternal. Even the howls that rocked my hand,
even the piss that fell like grace on cold flesh,
even the heel of the boot awakens another eternity,
even the silence,
he said,
looking at the froth.

True, a decent arbeit macht frei,
but a perfect murder doesn’t spill
a drop,
like the lips of a child, he explained,
like sand and froth,
like you,
sipping and listening.

Arbeit macht frei: in German “work sets you free” 
The inscription on the gates of Auschwitz.

Translated from Hebrew by Macdara Woods and Theo Dorgan


Three cooks
cleaning out the innards,
stuffing with shrimps and mushrooms.
It took twelve egg-yolks,
three bottles of white wine,
twenty cloves of garlic,
salt, pepper, herbs,
500 grams of butter
and despite the precise recipe that he left behind
not a little talent and improvisation.
Three hours in the oven,
a white table-cloth, red candles,
green salad, champagne.
What can I say?
He freed the tongue and forbade the eulogy.
Just as in life he was flesh and blood,
dead and delicious and loved.

Translated from Hebrew by Macdara Woods and Theo Dorgan


Lee Kuei-shien


You emerge as an island 
from the waves of white satin 

The dense forest of black hair 
drifts with longing nostalgia 
The beach of soft white sands 
is imprinted with numerous kisses of shells

Taking a birds-eye view from the sky 
the beauty of your texture is so attractive 
that I am landing onto your body thirstily

You are a mermaid
in the Pacific Ocean 
the landmark of my eternal home country


The sound of snow could be only
in Swiss German of Alps Mountains?
Encountering a heavy snow during New Year
before I found the sound of snow
with the accent of forest in Taiwan.

Over all branches
the snow sounds like Japanese cherry blossom.

Over all withered grasses
the snow sounds like Taiwanese silver grass blossom.

It turns out the cherry blossom every year thinks of 
the sound of snow.
It turns out the silver grass blossom every year thinks of 
the sound of snow too.

But what the snow thinks of 
is quietness without any sound of human being.


On the vast sea 
I wish to give you a spot of light 
indicating a certain direction.
Perhaps you may depart for everywhere
farther and farther away
or you may decide to moor on the shore
staying together with this beautiful island
along the winding coast.
In the daytime, may be just a simple scenery
at night, it definitely emit a brilliant ray
illuminating the history of  seacoast
until dawn.
If you stay, we accompany on island.
If you leave, we separate forever.


Maria Mistrioti


In the veins of time I roll 
knowing almost precisely 
the point of my flow . . .

I yell at you 
that I can not stand the shapes 
and almost always I suspect the roles

I miss the respond 
the words are shuttered 
between Symplegades . . . 

I must find you
in a plethora of eras and ancient courses 
through the puzzles of days
and the night landscapes . . .
I must find you 
against circles 
and beyond our submission 
to the similarity of facts . . .


For the navigator 
who struggles in the ways of waves 
who follows reckless routes 
who thinks of the time of return 

what words can I speak with . . .

The sea is not always calm
The ship is not always strong

Deep wound’s what we love . . .
You cannot ignore 
the sea that helped you travel
through the ports that kept your dear secrets. 

You cannot ignore 
the persistent Cimmerian wind . . .

The horizons of the least light I detect 
The long journeys of dangers I continue . . .
The night has moved on . . .
covers the black ship . . .
In flames the eyes of those whose strength is enhanced 
by despair
in the deep ocean . . .

About what has almost ender 
without the possibility of re-issues and repetitions 

like a bitter song travelling in the wind 
I am writing a few words . . .

Translation from Greece by Lambrini Botsivali


Sona Van 

My grandfather was a priest 
he believed in God from 9 AM till 6 PM
after 6 PM he took a rest 
my father was a physicist
from 9 AM till 6 PM he refuted God 
and after 6 PM he believed in God secretly 
my aunt kept all her love letters
in worn-out Bible pages
in the sequence of revelations 
she read God’s Word 
and her love letters
with the same expression on her face 
and in both she trusted only half
depending on her mysterious smile
thru the keyhole 
it was difficult to say 
whom my aunt preferred
for salvation 
that day 
my mother 
(I was just about to forget)
had no time to believe or not to believe 
she was always busy 
creating something from nothing 
my mother was always silent 
I have inherited my grandpa’s daytime faith 
my father’s evening-time faith 
my aunt’s smile 
and my mother’s hands 
my physicist father believed earnestly 
the story  
that Christ was born in a manger 
my father said 
that sometimes the stories
that seem absurd at first 
may come out right 
for nobody (my father said) 
would allow himself
to make up such story 
my father always spoke with sympathy
about Joseph 
my physicist father believed in miracles too 
my mother was a miracle 
these days  
I carry God under my shirt
like freshly-baked bread
and share it with anyone
who crosses my path 
in our kitchen 
the big wooden trough
always was full of dough in equal measure 
my mother as if made dough from her fingers 
or rather
the dough seemed to be the metamorphosis
of my mother’s fingers in the wooden trough 
my mother sometimes tried to wipe
the sweat of her brow                                 
and ten equal dough-spurts stretched out
from my mother’s fingers to her forehead 
my father said that my mother
made us from dough and laughed 
my mother kept silent and went on
hanging white dough-angels
from her fingertips 
my mother  
I swear
could walk on water
if she could just tear out her fingers 
from the dough…


I have come to this land
like all the others
to find gold and slaves

But I’ve found myself 
amidst the crowd of picketers
demanding a wage increase
and paid vacations

It seems like a parade in this street
white leaflets floating in the wind like doves 
that the cleaning lady will throw away
into the garbage can
as soon 
as the demonstration is over

It is autumn…
some birds migrate
(the cuckoo moves her egg to another nest)

I’ve come here like all the others
to find gold and slaves    
but under my feet 
there are only the bones
of a dead bird 
full of sad songs
about her short life
and her long summers


Birutė Jonuškaitė


The devil on the bell tower
leaps about out of fear
that one day
prayers will climb
too high, overtake the tower’s spire
and hell’s power will melt
like a barely-hardened drop from a wax candle

The devil leaps about on
the bell tower, because he knows 
that the Bell Ringer’s Everlastingness
is tickling his horns, that it will swing 
the devil’s tail to and fro and throw it at the Virgin’s feet

Are the rays 
of Eternal Light
now submerging the tower?

Learned men write
about death and dust
they scream as if they’re giving birth
to the world

And I just pray
that it rains that it rains that it rains


your silver-colored dress glitters,
bright sequins running down your sides,
sewn together from small squares,
your earrings and bracelet sparkle,
a curved brooch binds two wings together,
taking the breath out of longing breasts eager to burst through.

Woman, if I loved you,
I’d unfasten your brooch, set you free,
your wings would fall from your shoulders,
the horizon’s graceful line would extend
into the parting curves of your breasts
and drift downwards like an ebbing sea.

Woman, if I loved you,
I’d destroy that corset prison,
the ridges would turn into small hills,
laying bare anguish and desire,
your breasts would rise 
naked and white above silver dunes 
and the source of life between them would be mine.

Woman, if I loved you,
the taut veins of your neck
and lips like guelder rose berries,
the tip of your tongue, your eyelash shadows,
everything, which unlocks a path,
I’d caress tenderly and passionately.

Woman, my sonorous 
mermaid adorned with
shimmering scales,
if I loved you,
I’d take you from the ledge,
make you silver shoes,
I’d kiss your weary feet all over.

Sleep, my angelic voice,
I’d say,
sleep safe and sound,
dive back into the ocean,
I will stand watch and await you on the shore.
Woman, if I loved you . . .

I am only one of a thousand,
I clap passionately and loudly,
but it seems, that I am caressing
your head with short
cropped hair
I look at my hands—
covered with tiny drops of blood.

Translated from Lithuanian by Jayde Will


Shabdaguchha: Issue 77_78

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পত্রিকার মুদ্রিত কপি


Polish Poetry

Poetry in English 1

Poetry Translated from Other Languages

Poetry Bengali to English

Poetry in Bengali

Editor's Journal

Short Review

Shabda News

To the Editor

Contributors' Bio

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