Hassanal AbdullahSwatantra Sonnet - 121
Sometimes, death itself stays awake for the whole
Night, the way Nagasaki once did with the flame
Of the nuclear bomb in its heart. Those nights of
August might have been the favorite to the dead—
That helpless time torn off the breast of our
Civilization, showing its madness.
Since then, anything is possible in this world.
Since then, we live closer to death, as if our days are
Calm, like a fool. We hear the songs of the dead
Staying awake the whole night like insects.
Our Hiroshima-existence often gets severely damaged
In the casket of death and hunger. And the deep
Wound of the 1940’s still dispenses the
Bloody pus that regularly upsets our daily lives.
Hassanal Abdullah (1967 - ), a Bangladeshi-American poet, is the editor of Shabdaguchha and the author of 13 books including an epic, Nakhatra O Manusar Prochhad (2007), on the universe and life in it, published by Ananya, Dhaka. Bangla Academy published his Kobiter Chhanda (1997), a book on Bengali poetic styles and rhythms. He introduced a new form of sonnets, Swatantra Sonnet (1998) with seven-line stanzas and abcdabc efgdefg rhyming scheme. Breath of Bengal (2000), his bilingual poetry collection, was published by Cross-Cultural Communications, Merrick, New York. He has also been translated into French and Spanish. Mr. Abdullah works for the NYC Department of Education as a High School math teacher. He translates to and from English and Bengali.
Translated from the Bengali by Hassanal Abdullah