Shabdaguchha: Logo_top edited by: Hassanal Abdullah issue: 63/64


Poetry and Essays:

Anisur Rahman Apu
Ariful Islam
Basudhara Roy
Bill Wolak
Bishnupada Ray
BZ Niditch
Derek Walcott
Hassanal Abdullah
Jahanara Parveen
Jyotirmoy Datta
Louisa Calio
Maria Bennett
Masudol Hassan Rony
Michael Graves
Naoshi Koriyama
Naser Hossain
Naznin Seamon
Nicholas Birns
Octavio Paz
Pallav Bandyopadhayay
Sonali Begum
Stephanie McMillan
Swapan Majhi

Shabda News:
Bhuiyan Ahasan Habib

Letters to the Editor:
Azad Kashmir Zaman 
Belal Beg
Bill Wolak
Leigh Harrison 
Lidia Chiarelli
Louisa Calio
Michael Graves
mike graves
mike graves
Rudranath Banerjee 
Saidur Rahman Milon 
Tahmidul Islam
Zakir Sayed 

Cover Art:

Mia Barkan Clarke

Shabdaguchha Title: Issue 64

Poetry in English Translation

Jahanara Parveen

Bonsai Mind

I have seen a noon kneeling down 
In front of a wounded spider for a long time,
Positioning calmly as a crocodile
Sitting in the sun at a certain river front.

Doubtlessly, there must have been a story
Behind it.

It might also endure the same meaning 
Of  the relevant dust
At peoples’ marching feet at political rallies.

I have seen a noon indulges for long
into a dusk
and, then, slowly into an evening. 

Nights don’t ultimately offer any forgiveness,
Since, the graceful pond gradually gets smaller
In our bonsai mind.


When river, too, gets darkened, I reckon
There is no field beyond the field,
No insects gathering at the grass-carpet,
Though the vest noisy island lights up 
Under limited water. 

After the brief meeting in the pond,
The silvery carp and red thaila declare,
“We are the oldest, 
So the bridge under construction
Should be named after our ancestors.”
The century-old turtle, 
the reputable witness of this fury,
Dives into deep water with sunlight on its back.

Shrimps, the minority, think 
Living means only a betrayal,
It is then more appropriate
To commit suicide at boys’ trap-nets
As the snakehead babies.
Sadly, fish scales know, which pond 
Breeds much of the discriminatory moss. 

Disembarkation is Not the Last Word

Whoever else also started the journey, got back,
Knowing a different meaning of disembarkation.

Bringing sunlight in the old cave, they thought
The static present was not that bad.
Getting back is itself a kind of returning.

Those of us who walked with noonday sun 
On shoulder and back and ran toward the sunset,
Took a bath in the river like Korotoa, Iraboti and Mohananda,
Brought water to the tree holes 
Of sunburn bird Ville, spent sleepless nights
Nursing wounded birds, and thought of their own babies
At the edge of the saddening moment, rather imagining
The fact that every house of the land reflected
the footprint of a mother, a wife, and a daughter; and
Those of us who stayed active in an ongoing hardship and sweat,
Did not stop the marathon conscience,
They, all of them, are, now definitely swimming against the drastic current.
Those of us who stayed speechless at the shift of the ordinary life,
The Arabian witch kept on spreading thorn on their path.

At last, we’ve witnessed
the departure of our own shadow, as it was for others.

Translated from the Bengali by Hassanal Abdullah

Naznin Seamon

I have changed myself a lot

I have changed myself a lot through
adaptation. Cold evening, awful summer,
severe rain fall, happiness,
or disease . . . reflected on the opposite
side of the mirror. Everything shatters,
everything cracks and crushes; 
the mirror of trust breaks into pieces,
shred the framed images.
Only entangles the darkness,
like an old bat on the roof column;
breaking window guards, sometimes,
comes the multi-dimensional refugee light of
the inauspicious moon. 

Nightly Sound

Last night, I got wet in the rain for the whole night
After a long hallucination of isolated darkness,
rain came in blackening the sky,
It’s powerful jubilation
made me speechless;
I ran passed field after field
seeing the approaching knife
in it’s horrible hairy hand;
the gusty wind even dragged me 
beyond the reach.

The Thin Skyline

In my girlhood, I dreamed of walking through
the horizon; on the field beyond the sky,
or in the sky beyond the field,
where skyline laid like neap-tide—quiet and motionless.

I have nurtured my dream
under my soft wing, walked through
the plane roads and meanders, day after day,
In my fist,
collected the comfort of the cinnamon cent,
snow-white as crane feather,
red as the roses of Basra,
and the brightened denial of the UN—
Yet, the time-clock could not take me 
to the colorful suspended bridge of the horizon.
A thin skyline has been hanging at the dream house
like an orchid.

Our Struggling Hands

And finally our hands were smashed
by the gained wheel of communism
though we struggled a lot.
Knowing the green grass 
as the smooth path of the snake,
we still boasted out with spade and crowbar,
as the morning dazzles
on the embracing sunlight,
though a group of wild people
spits on art, strongly ties science on
an apple tree;
with the revival of human lust
every door gets suddenly closed . . . 

My Desired Destination

Keeping the new century on my palm,
I would be able to scroll and reach
my desired destination,
making a bridge between
the brick-stone like hardest life
and the inevitable death.

Before the fall of the declining beauty,
smashing the entire obliquity
and miscreant misfortune
under my feet,
hamming through the transitional road,
tired and jaded,
I would reach deep into 
the assimilating circle.

Making a bridge between
the brick-stone like hardest life
and the inevitable death,
Keeping the new century on my palm,
I would definitely reach my
desired destination.

Before the fall of the declining 
beauty of life,
smashing the entire obliquity
and miscreant misfortune
under my feet,
stepping over the transitional road,
tired and jaded,
I would surly reach into 
the assimilating circle of melancholy.

Translated from the Bengali by Hassanal Abdullah

Swapan Majhi


The bird you hoped to see
flew away in a different sky.
The melody of the multinational companies
sound through the world-winners’ throats.
This soil is no longer farmers’ soil.
This water is no longer peoples’ water.
This air is no longer for breathing to refill your heart.
For the struggle of survival
in the poisonous circle,
the greater invention
of new medicines,
and all the  mechanical people
are covered by
the shadow of the
international sports festival,
sponsored by the multinational companies.


The sound of dripping water
breaks my sleep.
The disturbing night hangs on
under my eyes.
At dawn I washed away all signs of it
before everyone else awakens.
Though there is no rain,
and month after month
there is no cloud in the sky,
in the bright light
my blind love finds shadows.
The footsteps of an ant
wakes me up.
The boy who had no friends
twenty years ago,
is still lonely.
Still in his eyes
a girl walks all night
in space,
holding a lantern aloft.
In the morning
before washing my face,
I see a Hiroshima in my eyes.
The sound of my own breathing
nowadays breaks my sleep.
A dead river, abandoned land,
obese people and the corpses of fish
float on the boundless water
of my sleepless eyes.


Still there is a rural smell in my body.
Under dazzling too-bright flashing lights,
In the glittering sunlight on the
path in the countryside,
And in the swimming pool, how funny.
But there is boundless life in the river.
Raised with storm and water,
can adjust in a magnificent building?
To hear music in a machine,
see movie in a machine,
life passes,
person doesn’t come to person.

Still there is a rural smell in my body.
Raised in sunlight and storm-water,
will return one day to the land.

If it doesn’t become a town.

Translated from the Bengali by the author with Stephanie McMillan

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Shabdaguchha, an International Bilingual Poetry Journal, edited by Hassanal Abdullah