Abu Hena Mustafa KamalA Poet
Dear God, a poet: at least many poets say you
Are a poet too.
They say it, because your fingertips make
The sunset beyond the mountains
Under the shade of the wide sky-leaf,
And deposit the hopes of a star On birds’ eye-lids—
And your melodies tune up on the cloud’s organ
Prompt on the first day of the rainy season.
I heard only this, because
I never have gone far from this city,
Not stayed beyond these dark lanes
And their shrouded surroundings
Denying their earnest call.
So please tell me, God,
Did you ever enter into a burning hell of agony
For a single piece of poetry?
Did you ever pace back and forth upon
The same street again and again?
Did you ever lay awake
So you could shine a lady’s face with suitable words.
Then, tell me God, ‘the poet’,
Admit that you, too, are covered with your own blood,
You, too, are often mistaken
For just a remarkable metaphor.
Abu Hena Mustafa Kamal (1936 – 1989) was a professor of Bengali literature at Dhaka University and worked for the government as the Director General of the Bangla Academy from 1986 till his death. Along with writing poetry, he wrote some memorable songs. He received his PhD on the Bengali Press and Literary Writings, 1818-1831, from London University in 1969 and published only three collection of poetry before he died in a heard attack in 1989.
Translated from the Bengali by Hassanal Abdullah