The International Poetry Journal in Bengali

Translated Poetry
9th Issue
July-Sept 2000

From Barishal to Briarwood:
Bengali Poetry in English

Nirmalendhu Goon (1945-)

You, too, had the fear of the Razakars and Pak soldiers
And of men of immoral character.
You used to hide your golden youth every moment,
Like a cat her new litter,
And called me near you, afraid of their chance arrival.
Your face, panic-stricken, had turned
Suddenly towards me.
Fear's traces were
Around your arms,
In your hair and nails,
Upon you by chance.
It was as if, having reached the dearest age of mankind,
Your aging had halted in fear.

Then for those few days,
It was I who surrounded you as your only courage.
Ah, what freedom! War, death,
Or oblivion--what clusters of lovely,
Cherished experiences!
You were my lover as long as the war lasted.

Today, how bold you are,
How inordinately courageous!
Effortlessly you can traverse
Hundreds of miles, thousands,
Without any fear.
Your only fear now
Is not of wars,
Nor of those others,
But of my coming upon you by chance.

Translated by Farida Majid

Razakar: Bengali collaborator wroking with Pakistan army in the war of 1971
Pak: Refers to Pakistan

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