Shabdaguchha: Logo_new edited by: Hassanal Abdullah issue: 71/72


Poets and Translators:

Dariusz Thomasz Lebioda
Nino Provenzano Fuad Atal
Peter Thabit Jones
Joan Digby
Kristine Doll
John Digby
Carolyn Mary Kleefeld
Richard Jeffrey Newman
Bishnupada Ray
Dileep Jhaveri
J. Scotte Barkan
Shokrana Sarkar
Rachel Mejia
Baitullah Quaderee
Motin Raihan
Dilara Hafiz
Anisur Rahman Apu
Roni Adhikari
Jasim Uddin Tutul
Hassanal Abdullah

A Tribute To

Shaheed Quaderi (1942-2016)
Syed Shamsul Huq (1935-2016)
Rafiq Azad (1943-2016)

Book Review

Nicholas Birns

Letters to the Editor

Stanley H. Barkan
Nirmalendu Goon
Belal Beg
Tomasz Marek Sobieraj
Naznin Seamon
Bishnupada Ray
Sk Kamrul Hashan
Hasan Ali
Firoz Ashraf
Ariful Islam
Shahab Ahmed Taher Ahmed Razu Rahul Roychowdhury Momin Mahadi Khondkar Khosru Parvez Roni Adhikari

Cover Art:

Al Noman

New Logo:

Najib Tareque

Poetry Dedicated to Poet Stanley H. Barkan

    John Digby

    When I first met Stan our cross-cultural friend
    I found myself in the presence of a polymath
    Like Marlowe and Milton and Christopher Wren.
    I was astounded and thought, “Here is a man
    Who would never play Faustus and sell his soul to the devil 
    because he has already created in his books
    a Paradise Regained.” But Christopher Wren
    the great architect of St. Paul’s cathedral 
    had another point of view. When he saw Casa Barkan
    he said, “Clear it all out Stan and build a dome”!
    That is my message hoping that your archives will
    clear out the space and a dome will arise in
    celebration of your accomplishments and birthday.
    A toast to your generosity and warmth in
    bringing together all of your poets and friends.
    New York

    Peter Thabit Jones
    (for Stanley H. Barkan/to Dylan Thomas)
    And what of those times
    When he found himself alone?
    The slowed-down hours
    After his bar-room boom,
    The circus of bad behaviour,
    The arrest of a breast
    Of a lecturer’s wife,
    The bardic boast that floored
    The hosting party with laughter,
    And the humbled groupies lining up
    Like students of a mystic teacher.
    And what of those minutes
    Of boring tasks, the necessary
    Masks removed for a while?
    The pleasing smile
    Put away with his books,
    The packing of a suitcase,
    The shaving of a face
    That stared back serious,
    The fidgety eating
    Of a hotel meal.
    And the going to bed,
    The head like a bursting cupboard of scenes,
    As strange as the surrealist
    Dreams he put on paper,
    The body allowing tiredness
    To enter, the colliery
    Drop of sleep,
    To morning waiting
    With its tall tales of Manhattan,
    And another adventure
    To set on fire.
    (for Stanly H. Barkan)
    Helicopters have thundered all the weekend,
    The cabin shuddering when one is too close,
    As the Big Sur fire unfolds its fast menace
    Somewhere beyond the range of the mountains,
    An isolated paradise teased by the Pacific.
    They rotate their noise in military fashion.
    Evacuation is a word being mentioned,
    Though the devastation is being felt elsewhere,
    Where flying tankers drop down their retardent,
    A pinky red explosion becoming a trail.
    I still try to write, to push a new novel,
    My tea steaming up out of the cup,
    As I watch through the window a helicopter hover
    Like some sort of huge and metallic bee
    Above the grey meditation of water.
    Listen to the loud wound
    Of Cante Jondo.
    It is being summoned,
    It is aching on the strings
    Of the saddest guitar.
    The bird of blackness
    Has poetry in its throat,
    The history of the outcast
    In the ascension of its song.
    The wailing theatre unwinds
    In the drama of the voice,
    A fountain of tears
    From the desert of the heart.
    The guitar is fragmenting
    All of Spain’s shadows,
    Dropping its blood jewels
    On the hidden pains of the past.
    Flamenco is flowing like the wine
    From green bottles,
    The sounds are dancing 
    In the summer of the mind,
    Like passion and sorrow
    In a young woman’s brown eyes.
    Beneath the sharp sickle of the moon,      
    A stream of laments wanders with Death
    Through the silent squares
    And the dark lanes of memories,
    To settle on the dead             
    In a graveyard for gypsies.
    Cante Jondo - (Deep song), a traditional form 
    of Andalusian song/flamenco.

    Joan Digby
    Last week my mom, Jony Pony, turned 74.
    It was a shock for her as well as me, her only son.
    I had a carrot cake baked in her honor
    As we share in our tastes as well as our love.
    If we had known that our friend Stanley
    Were soon to have a birthday we would have
    Baked a bigger cake to include him in
    Our celebration—chocolate perhaps, or tiramisu
    Knowing of his taste for all things Italian.
    We hope it is not too late to send him greetings.
    I am perhaps 36 in horse years which might be 80 
    Or more though no one knows how to make a calculation
    To equate human years with horses.
    Yet I’m betting that Stanley and I have experienced 
    Happiness and sorrow in about the same proportions. 
    We are both poets and sensitive to the ways of the world.
    Happy Birthday Stanley from your soulmate Snowball
    Dorothy and her brood
    Who live in the halo of Stanley’s love
    Wish him 80th-birthday greetings
    From hearts more loving
    Than all those folks noshing inside.
    Here is our heartfelt message:
    We gather on his deck each day
    Not only for food but for the love
    Stan gives with each stoke of his hand
    Each syllable of poetry
    That pours forth in kindness
    And in care that fills us with warmth
    Even on the coldest nights
    When he invites us secretly in to share
    His books and sleep in calm
    Dreaming in metaphors until dawn
    When Bebe wakes.
    New York

    Carolyn Mary Kleefeld
    (for Stanley H. Barkan)
    Only through art 	
    does a language emerge  	
    capable of expressing		
    the hidden recesses		
    of my psyche, 
    the silk and smoke 
    of love’s passion. 
    The world, in its rush      
    and digital blur     		
    has little time or heart
    for such sacred murmurings. 
    In my art, 		
    the subtleties thrive–	
    the cobalt heart   		
    of the sea swoons, 	
    and my angel’s love 		
    touches me from afar . . .
    Through my art, 			
    prayers of healing 
    cast by an invisible loom   
    weave a gossamer offeeling 
    so delicate that 
    only the trees can hear. 

    J. Scotte Barkan
    Mazola margarine cups
    Cleaned and ready for play
    Flipping them on the floor
    Watching them spin and tumble
    Holding them to my ears
    Hearing the ocean
    Daddy comes to join me
    I climb on his back
    I want him to give me a horsey ride
    He lies down on the floor
    I bounce, saying “Giddy up!”
    I lie down on his back
    It’s warm
    It smells like Daddy
    He growls and tries to scare me
    He succeeds, and I like it
    He takes me for a bike ride
    I barely fit in the rear seat
    I can barely see what’s coming
    My stomach climbs up into my chest
    The ride is like a roller coaster
    It scares and thrills me
    We make it to the end of Wynsum Avenue
    Where the cattails stand
    Where the horseshoe crabs make their foam
    Where brave daddy lifts them up, 
    To view their many claws
    I back and run away
    Fearing he will try to make me touch them
    I only touch the ones that can no longer move
    Later at home, it’s getting dark
    And it is time for daddy to scare me again
    He watches scary movies
    I’m afraid to watch, but I sit beside him
    The Chiller TV show is on, with its 6- fingered hand 
    Coming out of the slimy pond
    Viewed between the cracks of my fingers
    I head upstairs to bed
    He recounts the scary movie
    “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”
    He whispers aloud “Sally, Sally”
    Bringing to mind the goblins
    Down below the fireplace
    I’m in bed
    The spooky ancient mariner nightlight glows
    The little bull piñata affixed to the door
    And the shadows of the room
    Move ever so slowly
    As if I wouldn’t notice
    I fall asleep, and my nightmares arrive
    The “Haaa” monsters make their appearance
    Small, dark, bullet-headed
    With short stubby arms & legs
    Only an upside-down turned mouth
    Saying the one & only word they could say
    Like a siren, loud and reverberating
    Chasing me down, tearing at my back
    Until I wake up with the pain 
    In the middle of my back
    Never leaving my dreams 
    Until the day I shouted out
    Before they finished their final attack
    “Let’s be friends”
    I get up, sleep-running around the balcony
    Yelling, “Mommy, Mommy!  Daddy, Daddy!
    The boogie man is coming!  
    The boogie man is coming!”
    Daddy saves me before I reach the stairs
    Lifts me back into my bed
    Off into another dream
    With some other monsters
    That somehow Daddy put inside my head
    New York

    Dileep Jhaveri
    When asked in school to write on the national flag
    I described the colours of the leaves
    fragrance of the flowers
    flavour of the fruits
    echoes of the birdcalls
    Growing up later
    I had to prepare a composition on Music and Moon
    So I wrote about the magic of photons and gravitons
    pulling out constellations and galaxies
    from the hats worn by electrons protons and neutrons
    When poetry became my destiny
    people always wanted from me 
    verses on marriages  newly borne  anniversaries
    and of course on the splendour of nature
    Gently declining such demands
    I was caught by a pretty woman to write on her beauty
    Without blinking I looked into her eyes
    and asked her to marry me
    I have lived long with her and poetry
    and when she slept made friendship with Words
    for their madness
    Another of my clan
    has done more
    in the eighty years of his life
    He has grown gardens for birds 
    that merely needed a branch to perch
    He has turned a ditty of joy
    into a symphony for stars
    Gathering an entire ocean
    he has poured it in a flower-vase
    He knows ninety three cultures and a hundred languages
    and can print silences of Orpheus
    in the darkness of synagogues
    on reams of coloured paper
    that roll back to the walls of his house
    and burst out in festive laughter
    The world has remained a Bebe of eighteen in his eyes
    that have seen a thousand moons
    he stands before a mountain
    and taps the sky with his fingertip
    to trace his name on the clouds
    Stanley the poet with eighty springs surging in his heart
    is before you with mischief in his eyes
    and fists full of forests to fill your every breath

    Hassanal Abdullah
    I’ve known the man for a long time.
    I’ve traced his footsteps even longer.
    I think the way he seems to be thinking—
    I dream the way he dreams.
    I’ve known the man for a long time.
    I’ve traced his footsteps even longer.
    I’ve followed him from the Middle Ages.
    I’ve seen him face to face.
    I’ve dragged myself up to him.
    He responds when I scream.
    I grow when he grows,
    I fall when he falls,
    I can see the scars on his face—
    I respond to his calls.
    I write what he writes,
    though occasionally we fight—
    He is big as the open space,
    I only live in a cage.
    He is rich and high,
    I am poor and shy.
    He is strong and bold,
    I am the one who is always cold.
    I’ve known the man for a long time.
    I’ve traced his footsteps even longer.
    New York

Find us on Facebook

Printed Version
পত্রিকার মুদ্রিত কপি


Poetry in Translation

Poetry in English

Poetry in Bengali

Poetry Dedicated to Stanley H Barkan

Book Review

Shabda News

Letters to the Editor

শব্দগুচ্ছর এই সংখ্যাটির মুদ্রিত সংস্করণ ডাকযোগে পেতে হলে অনুগ্রহপূর্বক নিচে ক্লিক করে ওয়ার্ডার করুন।

To order for the hardcopy of this issue, please click on the following link:

Get a Hardcopy

Back to Issue 71_72
Back to Front Page Send Your Feedback
Shabdaguchha, an International Bilingual Poetry Magazine, edited by Hassanal Abdullah