Shabdaguchha: Logo_new edited by: Hassanal Abdullah issue: 73/74


Poets and Translators:

Adam Szyper
Amir Or
Aniela Gregorek
Beata Pozniak
Bill Wolak
Birutė Jonuškaitė
Danuta Bartosz
Dariusz Tomasz Lebioda
Hassanal Abdullah
Hatif Janabi
Jerzy Gregorek
Jaroslaw Pijarowski
Joan Digby
Józef Baran
Kazimierz Burnat
Małgorzata Żurecka
Lee Kuei-shien
Maria Mistrioti
Mirosław Grudzien
Nat Scammacca
Naznin Seamon
Sona Van
Stanley H. Barkan
Tomasz Marek Sobieraj
Zbigniew Milewski

Poetry in Bengali

Ahmed Shiplu
Rafiquzzaman Rony
Roni Adhikari
Uday Shankar Durjoy

Short Reivew

Belal Beg

Letters to the Editor

Badal Ghosh
Jasim Uddin Tutul
Maria Mistrioti
Nilas Mazumder
Noorelahi Mina
Jelani Sarker

Cover Art:

Jacek Wysocki


Najib Tareque

Celebrating 21 Years of Publication
প্রকাশনার একুশ বছর

Polish Poetry

13 Polish Poets

Józef Baran


first snow is falling
and raises the quiet music of childhood
to heaven
I think about first things
I will never do again
about times clear as a spring
that are already behind me
I try to remember
their juicy taste and smell
first snow is falling
I stand at the window
feeling old


my shrunken father
you have become so slight
you approach through a white corridor
leaning against the walls

I would like to rock you in my arms
with a fable
that you will continue to live and live
and grow back
healthy and strong

so that one day you will lead me
down a path by my hand
small again
and rustling all around us
will be fields of boundless life


the first one swam beside her
like a blue cloud
ah! her heart grew
when he brushed her with his love

the second shot past her
with the fierceness of hail
they spoke in sign language
he didn’t leave any trace of himself behind

the third tossed her sorrows while leaving he almost broke himself against her underwater reefs

and the fourth mistook her in a fog
for somebody else
he gave her many false names
she had to find herself again

so many times undressed
and still not discovered
a woman is waiting for her Columbus

and more often she feels
like a rocky island
sinking in isolation
to which nobody
but God comes to harbor
(so less and less
she makes a lighthouse of her body)

Tranlsted from Polish by Aniela & Jerzy Gregorek

Danuta Bartosz


is encroaching between fingers.
A walking stick and crutches are the support.
They are looking at each other with disbelief.
How life is twisted.

A woman isn’t crying.
She’s got her back hunched by work.
The scarf is covering
her uncaressed hair.

In the yard
a homeless bench.
A tied pack of helplessness on it
is looking for its addressee.

In the dumpster of existence
there is a birthday today,
a rhapsody of fulfillment
not completely clearly played.


To untie the ropes
to pull the anchor
to leave the harbour of stagnation

To catch the wind in the sails
to wander
to dream
to discover
what is still undiscovered

To amaze
of what we haven’t been amazed by
To memorize what hasn’t still

To check
why without you the world
isn’t music
the branches of the tree
are humming
the same way.


Where do I come from?
Where do I aim?
In which soil are my roots?
I look for myself in three homelands,
In the waves of three rivers. One gave me birth
(but a child fell down from a footbridge into the turbulent waves
of theWar ).
The second brought me up, the third taught me how to live.

Yesterday, a blade of a branch soaked in blood of conflagration
was writing my life. Today, the wind of time blurs
the borders and faces of two mothers—the one who
gave birth and went to heaven, and that of the holy worker
cutting paper on a paper cutter, who brought me up
and wrote me into her life.
River, river—which of the there of you is really mine?

Kazimierz Burnat


I am lacking a few moments
to own
distance in reverie
over the embers burnt out

I close my eyes

and sense the fleeting whisper of tomorrow
the moon gives in
to soft light of the Morning

with warm pulse I am inscribing myself within its freshness to add new meaning to intimacy

I nestle into the trunk
my own piece of sky

* * *
Clouds drifted apart squabbling
through the window of a deep blue
you are looking out for the loved ones

a recalled voice of a mother
helps you breathe steadily
and courageously let the morning hustle in
with the scent of mist and flowering crops

on the wrinkled canvas of the sky
situations fade away
recorded on the film of memory

you are slowly penetrating shadows
wandering among the relics
of childhood


Disinterested malevolence
of the environment
hushes up helplessness
does more and more good
but guilt bulges

his life
in a narrow apartment
like a well
being a promise of an access to
a vast Eden

in a mossy rampart
of generations
a fair of fleas
a twitter of bats

created from homogeneity


It is not enough to reverse thinking
in another direction
towel wrap dreams
relieved heat
her body
moistened in the clash
with just sketched stimulus

you need to determine nonsense
to later
luminous tentacles forearms
excite the sense of
the arms of Morpheus


hand in hand with not waking day
penetrate into the vastness of the pane
crystal light

deep sigh
touch lips
hot breath

ephemeral moments
embarrassment as the dawn
however, oxygen to the heart
and for the psyche
secret song of impulse

memory than other

Every soul
anchored in the body
triggers the touch of death

for bone
(even the criminals)
estimate remains
death certificate

Their bones but
out-smoked in crematoria
along with the souls
and are not subject cataloging

however, in human memory
take on flesh
persevering in the glory of the universe
no date of death
no birthday

Aniela Gregorek


It’s a bedtime story, my favorite
My daughter looks and looks and does not say
A word, she listens, her head full
Of unruly hair, tilting, her round cheeks blushed

I want to sleep in your eyes
She suddenly says staring straight into mine like hers, gray-green wide open, unblinking, I can see
In them, a clear reflection of myself


A silver needle quivers in her fingers
like a white fire as she quilts a bed cover

for my grandchild, she smiles. Pulling through and through, she sighs when blood

beads flicker against her pale skin.
Accepting. She says, Just part of the process.

Poked fingers, burnt skin, dirt under the nails,
we bake cookies, plant prickly rose bushes,
we quilt. We make our life. Made with love, I say, But isn’t it more like laboring

most of the time, and not giving up?
She nods her head without looking.

That’s love. Sometimes waiting, not because you must, but want to.


The floors creak deep
As I pass from one room to the other

With time we get used to things
That made us shriek before

At night my husband turns over in his sleep
The bed springs-song under his weight

Near the window a cool draft, moving the curtains,
kisses my warm face and bare shoulders

I don’t want to stop wind from coming in
The frame has gaps as big as my small fingers

A deep sigh escapes from my daughter’s chest
I lean over and smooth her long, golden hair

Jerzy Gregorek


You think you are not a warrior,
that you live between peaceful walls,
not seeing even in the daily light
that the walls come closer every year
quietly adapting your deceiving mind
to the changes you have never desired.

You think you don’t have to see
born men bent to the wind
that you don’t have to hear
their children running in circles
on uneven cobblestone streets,
licking away their fathers’ faded words.

You think you have the right
to pass through heart’s time
closing your eyes when
the pen writes your name
and another new bridge
only leads you farther
into the fog.

You say if only there were a war
you would keep a weapon at home
ready to fire, but there is only
the sound of wind carrying traces
of innocent self-destructive men
whose bodies cover the green fields
where we become men.


The sun is just waking up the day.
They had fallen asleep in the middle of the night
when the light wind cooled their heated walls.
Now they lie on the bed of an open-air truck,
his eleven-year-old daughter still
sleeping in her mother’s arms,
his wife staring into the sky just above his head,
her body telling him, “It will pass.”

Even though by noon their hands are hot,
the strawberries they pick cool their broken skin.
Sweat drips beneath the clothes
running down into their shoes.
He sees his daughter adding another box
onto the back of the truck,
the only math she needs to learn.

They lie down on the truck floor while going home.
His daughter’s eyes closed while his wife stares
into the same place in the sky.
He gazes at her until she reaches for him,
and he crawls to her across the bed
of the moving truck,
where she embraces him with one arm
and her daughter with the other.
As they pass beneath, he looks at
the crowns of trees and billboard ads
with one grabbing his attention—
a picture of a girl sitting on a bicycle, saying,
“Your money will not be wasted.
You will sweat as much as we promised.”
He slowly closes his eyes
while the bumps on the road
jiggle him to sleep.


Martin Luther King
John F. Kennedy
Jerzy Popieluszko.

His family is already asleep.
Drinking flat water from a bottle,
he looks into the fireplace flames.
He found out today what years ago
his friend wanted to publish—
his body has never been found.

In the middle of the night,
still watching flames consuming wood,
half asleep, he imagines
two executioners dragging a teacher
to his final lesson.

Truth. Death. Silence. Life.
Truth. Death. Silence. Life.
The crowd keeps chanting.

In the morning, slowly, he lifts his heavy eyelids.
It is 7 a.m., and soon he has to go to his office.
His family is awake now.
Their cheerful sounds come from the kitchen.
He straightens his yesterday clothes
and walks to greet them.

Good morning.
Good morning.
—Hi, Daddy!
My precious.
—Daddy, look what I did yesterday.
Today is Martin Luther Kind Day.
—Who is Martin Luther King?
A hero, goofy.
A hero?
—Do we still need heroes?
Of course we do.
—Where are we?
Everybody laughs
as he walks through the hall
and gently closes
the front door behind himself.

Mirosław Grudzień


it’s so few words
that I wring out of myself
so much as some chalk dust
out of an eraser
after the blackboard
having been wiped clean

something still remains
is stuck like a bone in the throat
will not go out

on the school blackboard
an old beak is writing
an unintelligible text:
my life

it’s less and less time
until the lesson end ring
less and less words

less and less chalk
held in fingers


we rose from a table
just for a moment

the same cup of coffee
the same glass of wine
are waiting but

a broken table top
is between us
like a bottomless lake
a cobweb thread is broken
and so is the world
one edge is where you are
the other is where I am

time has been wound out of a hunk

there is abyss between us
trembling and shaky
a hardly visible small boat
goes on it
there and back


it was heavily raining as if in fear of the end

we were standing half a step
in a no-entrance gate
giving some minor gifts to each other in a hurry

as usual the words were not as should be

the truth is nothing but your necklace
matching your eyes
was essential there

I watched little green balls round your neck
green planetary globes surrounding a star

and myself on one of them so tiny smaller than a speck
dreaming of two twin springs of green water

Dariusz Tomasz Lebioda


A tiny woman with traces of beauty on her
wrinkled face had been here long before
my birth

–always nearby a Tao shrine, always
in the shadow of plane tree
and a poplar

She had a husband, he died, and children who
left her–she met people, they forgot
about her

Now she stands on the steps leading
to golden elephant statue asking
for some holy Yuan’s

People give her notes and coins,
take pictures and for ever leave

She stays on with her sadness
and a warm smile

For her, in a while, old China
will go blank

soon, on the altar of destiny,
the last wisp of incense

will burn down


Three boys of the same age curiously
fixed their eyes on me–

I took a photo of them and gave each
a coin from a remote

They smiled and jumped up and down as if it was a real fortune

–I will be leaving center of civilization
soon, and I might never come back here

The little boys will stash the coins
among their greatest treasure

One day, when I’m gone,
maybe one of them will become
a poet and write a verse

about then was gone, just the way
all people


Translated into English by Alina Jelińska-Żelazny


I stand by the side of the road
not larger than a lady bug or moth

not larger than the tear of a crow
or the pit of an apricot

not larger than a grain of flax
or eyelash of a doe

–fearfully I lift
up my head and

listen to the radiance
of the black silk

of eternity

Translated into English by Adam Szyper & Stanley H. Barkan


Someday we will stand frightened
as if a bomb went off resembling
the blind of Breughel–we’ll look for
a haven to anchor our thoughts’pale
sails–someday snatched from our
dreams, we’ll jump out from a window;
before we fall down, we’ll manage
to fall asleep and wake up again
someday, like a hero of the Fifties, we’ll
begin running away, and time,
our fake friend, will shoot
a burst of diamonds right from behind,
and we’ll fall headlong
into the ashes.

Translated from Polish by the poet

Zbigniew Milewski

Fogs and smokes from St. Catherine mountain
are climbing up the Lysica mountain.
The face of our patron is fading,
the whiter and newer plaster
figure is becoming more attractive today
than the blackened one from Africa.
It embraces the Franciscan new-cross
up to the daybreak.
In the monastery right behind me,
there is a noise of bars being closed, the witches
that are being sold on market stands
are less fair like the stones run on the way.


according to my three-year-old
at the exhibition of evolution in the Palace of Culture
the skeletons of sweet dinosaurs
were hatching from their shelves
with their mouth open
as for me I liked much more the twirting
spanish crickets—according to my wife—
sounding like the worst nightmare
luckily smoothed by the collection
of stuffed animals in their expensive fur coats.

Mom, do you know that at the Castle Square in Warsaw
right in front of the column of Sigmund the King
I heard the Ukrainian song sang by our Nathasha
The one from Krzemieniec. Again I got a nosebleed
Nobody however made an attempt to stop the flow of red when
I was sitting in the wicker chair sipping
beer and putting verses together for spirits
as I have shadows here for company—those
known from readings and papers telling me that I have a talent
and the deceased ones are leaving for the world full of memories
that burn their insights more than vodka
sipped from miniatures I know that some of them
are dead. I have read their obituaries by the door of the House
of Literature on notice board where the invitations
for author’s evening God knows for whom
As they say here—for friends and relatives of the rabbit
with no cash nor one poem competition.
Mom, I think my final hour has come
For I was called from my easy chair to the board
made of cork, right next to the straw mulch stack
with poems written on pieces of paper pinned on it
They called him a renowned poet.
For me to read or improvise the poem to commemorate our national poet,
I therefore killed the straw mulch stack with a text on a pin.
The police and television came and Nathalie sang Ave Maria a capella
then a straw mulch stack was made and shadows
of Alexander’s, Raphael’s, Milosz’s and Adam’s disappeared.
Julian said that we won’t turn off the lights
and we went to drink our miniature vodka
in spite of the whole world—Poland is a Poet.


a touch from sandbox
a torn teddy bear from the tearoom
left behind the building
is rocking his hips
here you are have a crumb cake to put you to sleep
gin without tonic fell from the moon
when the uncle woke up
with the right hook
let us go to the sand
to other brothers. Get to know them
they are in one hole.

Translated from Polish by Dorota Zegarowska

Jaroslaw Pijarowski


The taste of dark alleys
The taste of still footfalls.
The inconstant,
Taste of the Dark.
The taste of the Dark.

I came out for you
I went there with you
That night
of ours
was . . .
In my pocket you were stowed,
So hidden and so mine,
Wrapped in scarlet,

That night
Was ours . . .
The taste of dark alleys
The taste of still footfalls.
The inconstant
Taste of the Dark.

Thread bare clouds
On your body
Blue Shadows
Then covered
The Cave of Sound
The sound of grace, sound in sound,
sound in sound, sound of grace

You . . . You in my hand.
That night was ours.


I take apart the beams
of the shattered house,
set the walls
once more
I fit new windows to the world
supposedly open . . .
But is that all,
all that is supposedly still to come
there is Something else
Something else

is worthwhile . . .
I take apart the beams and weep
to myself . . .
(I don’t actually say it,
I tell no one)
love has been
a little worn out, a little left to rot
words which lit up like torches
spilled on the grass
scorched its roots—
will anything more grow?
No, not today
not yet—
no one knows.


i am a flower
drinking light

i am

L i g h t

Beata Poźniak


I am Umbilicus—the dreamer.
I am a kind of dream reality.
A real dream, a dream of vast spaces,
three dimensional rooms
filled with Mothers, Sons, Fathers, Daughters.
I Umbilicus remain connected to My Mother,
to the Mother of us all.
But the reality of the dream has no presence
outside the dreamer.
The dream begins—the dream ends.
But as the dancer is the dance,
the dreamer is the dream.
And the dream dreams the dreamer
just as the dance dances the dancer.
The dreamer exists only because the dream exists.
Dreaming the dreamer.
Who is dreaming this dance.
And so it goes. On and on. On and on and on.
Being out of nothingness.
Being and becoming.
The dream ends. The dream begins.


1:26 a.m.
Young paradise of embarrassed eighty eight
black and white stars, full of life and light. They watch me,
enjoying their own fullness and harmony of touch.
A peaceful-sleepy-dark chord holds my fingers tightly.
Warm wind tries to escape, the dancing quarter notes leave,
improvising a new pattern, simply playing hide and seek. Breeze.
Surrendering. A nocturne cries its name in the distance,
a mournful owl. Suddenly, in a flash of Marienbad my heart
is drumming away. The rhythm is carried by its movement
and sound. Fingers, toes are tingling still. A bird that flies by breaks
the mood with two plus six repetition. All parts of my body are
opening to a new song, a new symphony of thoughts.
The music in me grows fuller as the stars fade. Disappear.
I’m peeking out of my shell. The illusion fades away with the night.
New sonatas of thoughts are born and ready for the journey. Dawn is
just minutes away. Madame Sound takes my hand. I am.
I am twenty six years old.

[Note: Marienbad is the location of Chopin's meeting with Maria Wodzinska, whose parents forced her to reject his marriage proposal. He was 26 years old.]


The spider web of roads in my brain
are shaking in the wind of thoughts:
Where do I go? What do I do?

A gypsy soul is looking down
at my left hand with railroad lines,
vain. A clue. Daily breathing
becomes vain—she says:
No blood anymore. Dry.
Puts a prune in the womb
of my right hand. Feel—no pit!
You. Empty. Old. Soft. Still. Right?
Left? Isolated island of a hand seeking comfort.
Where do I go? What do I do?

You are entering a world in which all roads turn.
Clap. Choose. Now!
Where do I go? What do I do?

I have no gas in my legs of life.
My thoughts are like a sleepless metropolis.
All recognizable landmarks in my heart are gone.

Tomasz Marek Sobieraj


I’ve been sitting
in front of a cavern
wide open and dark
exactly the same
as grotto of Avernus.

I’ve been looking inside
leaning dangerously
over a damp abyss,
breathing in
the seductive smell
of inferno.

But I missed
the courage of Aeneas.


I picked up a stone,
so ordinary, grey-and-white;
there’s many of them
in the neighbourhood.

The stone was so common,
so imperfect,
that I just dropped it

It tumbled onto another stone,
equally imperfect,
in despair,
on its last legs,

And showed inside
a perfect shape of ammonite.

Anyway, I unlocked the secret hidden in the common form
of a stone.


I did not have a ticket
to the temple.
So I sat down at the foot
of a petrified Jesus,
took out a knife and bread.

We watched the joyful pageants
coming out
of the cathedral.

And she slept,
under the eye of a soaring tower,
lofty and strong,
beautiful form,
without God
nor believers.

of the cross


In this city
people don’t have eyelids.
They are sentenced to look
even in a dream.
Wind squeezes their tears,
through which they see
pictures of the ocean,
a big animal
slobbering with foam,
spitting seaweed.
And they
sacrifice their bodies
for him
in a last will,
and watch how the waves
blur the footsteps
on the sand.


The night subsided
before dawn,
But still vibrating,
and dazed,
by the frantic caress
of a storm.

I looked at this
with full admiration,
swallowing aroma,
severely erotic,
of the morning scent
by lake Er Hai.

Adam Szyper


God, give us a tranquil winter—
Darkness enlightened with intimate fire
where loneliness can be divided like bread.

Fill our basements with wheat of life.
Flow sweet wine in our veins during nights of ice and snow.
Give us hope, indifference to cries of fate and prehistory.

Enter our dawns with misty streams of days—landscapes
where every tree is a will, and abandon us each evening
with dream of endurance.

Let each man survive in the safe nest of his ignorance,
blind to gore of far away continents
deaf to groans of millions’ hunger.

Do not condemn us for global truth.
God, give us a tranquil winter.
Step down . . . sit by our fire.
Warm up your chilled hands like a man.


Father of mine behind great waters of time
From which nobody has returned,
Step out from the dusty photograph
Hand me a moment which doesn’t hurt
Light which doesn’t blind
Truth which doesn’t kill.

In the tunnel of night in which
Orchids of memory wink occasionally
Show me the flame of parental home
In this house, rootless and homeless.
And give me your strength, which
Radiates a halo of love
So I can ascend the rest of my life with dignity,
Proud among stars and columns of clean air.


A poem blew through me that night,
Swift and irretrievable,
Like a school of tropical fish
Like pelicans from a pink lagoon.

What remains in me
Quivers like a Fata Morgana
Like a damselfly in the summer heat
Like trees on the banks of the river Warta
Like the khamsin over Kinneret.

At dawn I stand helpless
Like a child on a deserted beach,
And suddenly spring
Emerges from the night
Like a butterfly
From its chrysalis.

Małgorzata Żurecka


before the New Year came
Rachel had been asking

The Book of Life and Death is
in Your hands
put me Lord
in the Book of Life
I have washed my body in a river
my pure soul in my pure body

in a goods-train-car
bound for Treblinka
she was looking at
a ray of light
in an interstice between boards

still today, O’ Rachel,
your pure body
is turning into ashes
while your soul
is shining as a diamond


it is my nakedness
that I usually leave
on my warm pillow

now I am arming myself
with a watch
a coat and a pair of shoes

I will have waged
my everyday fight
and then disarmament
will follow again

I will return to my


trees in graphics of murk

a handful of birds thrown
along with the wind
in the ashen field

the pallid moon
lures the chilly autumn

Translated from Polish by Mirosław Grudzień

Shabdaguchha: Issue 77_78

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পত্রিকার মুদ্রিত কপি


Polish Poetry

Poetry in English 1

Poetry Translated from Other Languages

Poetry Bengali to English

Poetry in Bengali

Editor's Journal

Short Review

Shabda News

To the Editor

Contributors' Bio

শব্দগুচ্ছর এই সংখ্যাটির মুদ্রিত সংস্করণ ডাকযোগে পেতে হলে অনুগ্রহপূর্বক নিচে ক্লিক করে ওয়ার্ডার করুন।

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