Eating with Relish

We see a tall tower

Also our village there

A blind heron’s chick

Lives over there

We see tower after tower

Glass-clad gigantic towers

Rain’s pouring down from clouds

Whatever we pine for in life

Whatever we gain from life

              Only towers, tower after tower

              Money dances there

There roars real power

A blind heron’s chick

Lives over there

Not a single wing moves             

Without a penny 

              Large wings, huge eyes

                             Body filled with feathers

Covered with gold

Eyes are a pair of diamonds

Lips like Arabian horses

With a blink, it’ll snatch away

Bundles of money

Along with mobiles and watches

Bangles of gold and glass

Ear rings and flowers

And blind men’s white canes

O Heron, what do you eat

Do you find pizza

I don’t like pizza

If I find one

I chomp on it at once

Ideas Have Changed

In our zoo there was no tiger

But foxes and monkeys—a bear

Joined from somewhere

And there was a giraffe too.

We saw the giraffe whenever we went to the zoo

As if we were watching the Taj Mahal—

Can the Taj Mahal be more beautiful than the giraffe?

The giraffe would eat leaves from the highest branch of the tree

We weren’t allowed to climb the branch

Lest it should devour us.

We didn’t know the giraffe doesn’t eat meat

Still it was confined to the cage

Only the roof was open so it could eat leaves

Now the tiger walks openly in the zoo

Covered with trees as if a jungle

At night shine electric lights looking just like the moon

How immensely our ideas have changed

Even animals should be given freedom

We should let them live

As they live in the jungle

Within the space for it

The tiger can do anything

Like swooping on cows

And chasing deer

As humans can do

Within the space for them

              They can play cards or chess

              Kill or steal

              Can cast votes or cannot

              Votes may be rigged

              They can kidnap or threaten

              Play the game of justice

              And talk on cell phone from jail

They can do so within the space for them

To You

When everything fell apart

(Like a lift falling to the ground)

              You were dyeing hair

              Applying lipstick

              And blushing your cheeks

You said:

              Without adorning yourself

              Properly tying a bun

              And wearing perfume in the sari

You can’t go and

Won’t go

To God

I think

He won’t give time

To anyone

But for your confidence

Your courage

And enthusiasm

He may oblige you.

Translated by Fahmida Sharmin, who graduated from the Department of English, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet, finds an interest in literary translation.

Illustration : Najib Tareque

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