Poetry

Five poems of Abid Anwar

 

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Audacity of a Withered Leaf

 

Be it in autumn, with the right for a leaf to fall,

Yet I wonder how arrogant it was

To choose that moment that we still recall?

Couldn’t it fall in a time that’s righteous?

 

Engrossed as partridges or love birds we were

Beneath a golden tree in the afternoon park

Sewing the fabrics of love that need repair;

The horizon was giggling before dark,

As if tickled by a spirit on the western sphere.

We coupled our fingers for the promise to tie:

Yours for the ring with the little one of mine;

Witnessed by sparrows, the judge was the open sky;

We approached for a hug, for just a kiss and dine

And that was the moment it fell between us—

A withered leaf, looking pale and weary as carcass.

 

Be it in autumn, the season for a leaf to fall,

Yet I wonder how arrogant it was

To choose that moment we still recall?

Couldn’t it fall in a time that’s righteous?

 

One other day at what we call the Bangla Academy

Garrulous was the late-noon audience and me.

Someone would be garlanded as a poet we know;

An experienced leaf of the banyan above us

Was protesting with an airy gesture “No, oh no!”

As an elderly scholar in disagreement does;

Then fell on the flowers between taker and the giver,

Telling it all what it meant by swinging in the air so far.

 

Be it in autumn, with the right for a leaf to fall,

Yet I wonder how arrogant it was

To choose that moment we still recall?

Couldn’t it fall in a time that’s righteous?

 

 

 

 

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God and the Eagle

 

Seated on the hill-top an eagle with its piercing eyes

Surveys its kingdom−the catchments−the world of its own−

From valleys to the homesteads, from ditches to the pools,

Inquires the peddling of fishes−from the big to the fries.

 

Surveys the jumping of kids and the fawns of deer

Judges how far they are from the caretakers’ sight

Gauges the signals of their mothers to draw them near;

How easy they can fall prey and when to begin the flight.

 

They suck the breast-milk as if elixir of life it were

Know not themselves can be guzzled with dream:

The fish that swallowed its neighbour isn’t aware

There’s someone on the hill-top who can swallow him.

 

It’s God who created this eagle and its innocent prey,

Yet the former is a better ally of God one must say:

Both abode on the sky-high nest−the Heaven or the Hill

Away from the preys but fly down with no notice to kill.

 

I approve the eagle’s right to kill for subsistence food

Why should God destroy the creatures of his own?

Who doesn’t have hunger or thirst, and is so kind and good!

Trying to unveil, I know not if this can ever be known.

 

 

 

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Desire for a UN Session on My Love

 

In five-star hotels, the damsels swirl in the swimming pool;

Herds of buffalo have mud-water to soothe and cool,

There’s nothing like these for me beneath this cruel sky;

As trees in bushfire, the climate has chosen me to fry.

 

Often I resort to a woman to forget my pain,

We play the game of heart for mutual gain,

Now it deems her touches emit a hellish flame;

Autumns are drawn back to the summer’s claim.

 

Dear Mr. Bun Ki-moon, I demand a session in the UN floor

To raise my voice−let the world heed a tiger’s roar;

Global warming may burn your earth, bring it ruin,

But tell your El Nino not to touch my lady, my queen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Death, You Black Bird, Wait a Bit

 

Often she calls me in my nickname

Be it in the darkness, twilight, or sunshine,

An unearthly black bird she is−

Untouchable, invisible sibling of mine.

 

My death and I were born as twin−

I with a physique amid smiles and grin,

The other was unseen, did fly to the sky

Fastening on my wrist a sisterhood tie

 

I grew up amid the glories of life−

Fragrance of youth, as if in an island of spice;

Built my kingdom−albeit with struggles and strife

Crossing my mom’s love and papa’s red eyes.

 

Tasted the love of women, sucked their poisons and gall;

Had the loyalty and frailty of a middle-class spouse−

Had been on the Wall Street and seen its rise and fall;

Hid all sorrows with smiles while unhooking their blouse.

 

To conclude, life is still livable and good;

The disfigured and the wasted have offspring and wives;

Behold a patient of leprosy smiling in moonlight, in mood,

Reminiscing on the golden past, in the slums he strives.

 

I won’t go now, oh you black bird, wait a bit−

Let me harvest some gold from this putrid shit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh You Total, You Whole

 

‘Oh you The Total, oh you The Whole’

As I yell in a moistened voice

A darkness responds, with no hints to the senses

About the goal.

 

The Whole’s abode is far beyond the reach of a mole,

It’s farther from the sum of bits

Yet I add the fragments to find The Whole.

 

Each destiny does imprint its signs so broken and torn

On paths with hurdles of troughs and crests;

So often I read the geometry to gauge

And find myself an infant just born

Who thinks the mother is a pair of breasts.

Searching the source of lulling sounds,

Often it looks around and finds the ‘mom’

Who’s someone with a smiling face

That bestows the love and grace.

Probing like a saint it thinks

‘So, there she is! my mother−the real mom!

 

Grown amidst her warmth and love

Lastly a boy does know she is

None but a woman in his papa’s bed.

With the same organs his woman has!

Yet can he measure her as the sum of limbs?

The Total isn’t what it deems!

 

Once I saw a vagabond insane

With a blanket that he made

Foraging the pieces of coloured clothes

“Look at my blanket”, he said

Spreading the fabric on the ground

“Trying to grab The Total, The Whole

I added these triangles and squares to the circles,

Aiming at the whole warmth of Hers

But you see, it’s an assemblage of bits,

Sum of the pieces: a fabricated peacock of my own

How far to go for The Total is not yet known!”

 

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