The International Poetry Journal in Bengali and English

Issue 24/25
April-Sept '04

    Bilingual Poetry
    Sample Poetry in Bengali

    Dr. Azad in Translation
    To the Editor
    Humayun Azad's Essay
    The Spirit of Azad's Poetry

Azad's Poetry in Translation

Take me home, Ricksaw

Take me home, rickshaw,
You know my address. You should.
Everyone should know it by heart.
I am Humayun Azad, a poet.
Don't you know that only poets
Have permanent address?
All others are homeless refugees
Drifting on this earth, in this water, air and fire.
To a poet each house is a home.
No one else can build his happy abode
Out in the open green meadows
With such ease and tender skill.

    Go rickshaw
        blue rickshaw
            yellow rickshaw
                strange rickshaw
                    let us go.
Drop me by a lane, drop me on the avenue
In front of my house, no house
You'll see me walk in proudly smiling.

Drop me in front of a crumbling veranda in a slum
On the corner of rows of respectable residences
Drop me where the brothels abound
You’ll watch me enter my own temple.

Drop me in the midst of a curfew
Drop me inside a well kept garden
Or in the middle of a desert
Rickshaw, you can take me right across this city
Its lights, cinemas, shops, cafes, airports and stop
In front of a nameless tree
And say, "Here is your home,
Here is where you get off."
You'll see the tree opening its door.
Through the leafy green curtain in its windows
You may even have a glimpse of my permanent bed.

So, let us go rickshaw, take me home.
Remember, only poets have permanent address.

Translated from Bengali by Farida Majid


Once I entered into your shadow after a long run,
And so I was turned into a different person.

But, why is he getting like this day by day?
The man, who lives in your shadow all day and night,
Rides on the same rikshaw,
And sleeps in the same bed with you.

I entered into your shadow,
Your emotional fingers suddenly touched me,
And that was enough to form a gold mine
On the left land of my chest
Even greater and wider than those were in Johanesburg.

But, why the man is getting like this day by day?
The man, who makes love with you
Even when it does not rain.
His skin growing like a wild pumpkin
Right beneath his chin,
And the flesh of his throat becoming like
The rotten carpet,
And his belly getting big to unfit his dress.
Why the man is turning into a stupid day by day?

I only hugged you once in my dream,
And so my 7x10^21 number of arms and lips
Turned into real gold.

But the man, who sleeps with you everyday,
But the man, who gets you much closer everyday,
But the man, who makes you pregnant every single year--
Why is he becoming a real idiot day by day?

Probably, the one who sleeps with you
Becomes a real knucklehead, and
The one who dreams of you
Gets empowered.

Translated from Bengali By Hassanal Abdullah

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