The International Poetry Journal in Bengali

Translated Poetry
9th Issue
July-Sept 2000

From Barishal to Briarwood:
Bengali Poetry in English

Rafique Azad (1943-)

Keeping eyes on beauty
In unending water of spring we begin the quest
In stones and pebbles.
Someone among us, worthy of the name of man,
Keeps searching in the earth--
Maybe in earthenware or in the depth of water.

Expanding roots we keep our quest.
From a far, wide expanse of a seashore,
A barefoot man has come for water.
Keeping eyes on beauty
We look for truth. A female human frame
Bares the kernel of a tasty palmyra fruit.

One may have the chance
To see the prettiest girl
At close quarters--to wake up suddenly
From her deep sleep.
As they gaze on beauty, the mortals forget
That there is any real difference between noon and midnight.

And then someone easily crosses the mountain.
Cowboys dig the mound of earth.
Loving someone, a frogman dives into the well
Water gathered from
Someone's weeping.
Someone else would stab
A hundred-year-old tree in a well-organized garden
Only to cause wounds and agony.

Only to obtain a little fragment of truth,
Some people hold on to a ploughshare.
Instead of truth they only get beauty, Sita.
Yet there is no long-lasting
Discord between truth and beauty.

Translated by Khondker Jahangir

Sita: Hindu goddess of beauty.

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