Three poems of  Rubi Rahman


The One in 1971

He’s still here, in Dhaka

‘ Where can I go, tell me, leaving my friend since birth—Dhaka’

He mingles into the current of the crowd with a smile;

Death these days is very simple and unprompted

Like the working of time eternal.  Keeping an eye on the stripped outcome

Of what life offers

Barely stay alive night and day.  Those who are living.

The breeze of March murmur with the sigh of people leaving behind their homes.

Honking like thick fate

The angry warrior truck speeds along

The oval New Market flies in the sky like a beautiful circle

Rolling back the darkness of night—

I know him from behind as he walks along the distressed avenue:

Under his spectacles the rebellious wrinkles on his back and the unkempt hair

A quick beckoning of dream with fingers

A bee lives in a hive made from blood.


Around him the red eternity shakes like a massive banner

Thundering gurgling green slogans.

In this Nineteen-Seventy one with an eerie feeling in Dhaka

He flies holding on to a traffic island

Higher than the neck of DIT

As if he is the policeman of the sky

Glowing third eye of a gleeful city

Stamping his feet on war, malaise, death, mourning

In the middle of the night sounding like a wall clock

Hollers: ‘Here comes the Superhuman.”’



Memory Awakening Verse

A million youths have sown the seeds of blood for you

Freedom you have forgotten this

A young man has tucked a grenade in his ribs like a dream

Freedom you have forgotten this

From Tetulia to Teknaf unfurled in one go like an open sword is the green flag

Smeared in love….

Blood sprouts from love as if in a spring

Freedom you have forgotten this

The cherished peasant keeping his eyes on the burnt paddy field dreams

As if the aisles were scrapes from our map,

The blood stain flowing down the neck of a music enthused Rickhaw Puller

Writes your eternal name.

The air of my beloved capital city turned heavy with the smell of gunpowder

Flames leapt from one heart to the other;

The awed guerilla poured thick water to your roots fetching blood from his own arteries and veins keeping

Fire as his witness.

Inhaling poison burning into ashes life surrounded by barbed wire

A terrific deluge snaps the wire

Tearing and digging all over earned a free motherland to breathe in ease

Freedom! You; Have I forgotten the tale?



In 1975, Bangladesh

O dear Prometheus, come and have a look

Sitting at home on a cluttered floor

In this city in the gate of a house that car is ready

Waiting throughout life unprepared with endless time

Not aware of my destination in this limitless time

Sitting unsaved in a country without signs of direction;

No blue curtains waving in the windows, no vase in this house

Dreams-Beauty-glamour-talent getting chaotic!

O dear Prometheus, you come and say once with

The fire you snatched and came to this imprisoned land

May your flame devastate this misrule.


A rush of flowers like youth, independence

Flows by barren for long—endless—very long,

Humans follow theories know claptrap

In light and darkness trees and creepers create music

The modern darkness behind light people

Should know conspiracies mumbo-jumbo;

O dear Prometheus, you have known nothing of these at all

You only dwelt with a huge heart

You lived with the green plainness of trees

Watching the rituals of humans

You never thought of the safety of toddlers and fire.

O dear Prometheus! Even then you speak out

All these: homestead country freedom independence

All shattered and sitting down in a horrible mess

Why do I exist? Why this devastation?

The fire that you had plucked for this city

Teach how every flame can become a blaze

Dwarf time keeps sitting with its stingy heart

Make him as tall as you have been.



Translated by Golam Sarwar Chowdhury, Professor

Dept. of English, ULAB

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