The International Poetry Journal in Bengali

Translated Poetry
9th Issue
July-Sept 2000

From Barishal to Briarwood:
Bengali Poetry in English

Shamsur Rahman (1929-)

Before the Journey
I'll soon be gone, quite alone
And quietly, taking none of you along
On this aimless journey. Useless
To insist, I must leave you all behind.

No, I'll take nothing at all.
On this solitary journey, you're stuffing
My bags for nothing; don't squeeze my favorites books
Into that beer-bellied suitcase.
I won't ever turn their pages.
And let the passport sleep on in the locked drawer.

Only let me have a look at the harvest
From my ceaseless toil, the quietly ripening fruits
Of my talent. But what on earth
Are these wretched things you bring?
Did I lie drunk with smugness in my little den
At having produced this inert, unsightly crop?
My soul screams in mute desolation
At the thought of carrying this sight with me,
I beg you, don't add to the burden of this journey.

Translated by Kaiser Haq

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