photo: Peter Dietzel
English translations by the author
I am not like those who weep
after a nightmare.
I am like their weeping.
That memory you left in the sea
was erased in zero gravity
People whispered it to one another
After so many days, a mother in her revisit,
found an eraser of her lost daughter
How many days ago,
Why did she leave her favourite eraser before she went missing
The make-shift shell market was submerged in these FAQs*
You were sitting under that market and left your mark at the sunset
Today that mark is lost in ¾ water
And the eraser erased ¼ of it including you with all your roots.
(FAQ = Frequently Asked Question)
Into your belly I insert a feather of a ruthless bird
That simple sign of mine you carry to the world ─ where
the reincarnated dogs watch
the under-aged pregnant girls
One of them is my mother
One of them is called Bird
I am her secret feather
There trembles the infancy of birds when the night screams
It rains in my land after the civil war ─
And washes away the guidebook of how to read brail;
A blind man,
in the search of another blind man,
walks miles but only finds his own epitaph
And reads it touching it with his lips
Feathers of birds fly in the line of windy-trench,
The wet flag of peace trembles at the scream of nights
The Jungle Story
Hearing the groaning of a tigress, every time,
I put my hands on your breasts
I feel like a stranger;
In an unprotected forest
across the line of an undecided borderland;
Leaving the bullet-pierced body of my sister
hanging on the barbwire ─
I have come to collect the roadmap
for carrying her body back
But, once I arrive, I fall asleep putting my hands on your breasts
while my bullet-pierced sister lies asleep in you and
a solar-jungle is rising from her sleep;
Trees are raising their heads; so are the animals and birds
And with my head low, I am immersing myself
in the clay ─ in a swamped, bloody jungle ─
leaving my fingerprint on your breasts
calling you as an eye-witness ─ O, you matricide!
You’re a tiger; yet, I often think of you as a photocopy
of it ─ sleeping on an A4 size paper;
Your soul splattered under the cheap ink.
You will never wake up. Neighborhood boys
haunt you in your dreams; girls who loved you from a distance ─
some of them are now in red light districts waiting for a tiger or
to bring them back home.
You hear them singing their evening prayers ─
in your dreams;
You never wake up …
You are a tiger; yet, I often think of you as a photocopy
of it ─ sleeping on an A4 size paper; on the other side of which
a draft report on a wild life survey is getting printed.
Some people walk
with their coffins on their backs;
Some people walk in the shadows
of those coffins and coffin bearers.
The precarious others, as they are to start too,
still sleep in their graves for a siesta
before the next walk.
Shuhrid Shahidullah (born 1975 in Kushtia, Bangladesh) is one of the freshest and most powerful voices in Bengali poetry in the new millennium. He has published four collections of poems. The first, An Autobiography of God, was published in India in 2001. His poems and other writings are part of his ‘movement’ against the literary and cultural establishments. Shirdanra (Backbone), a little magazine he co-edits, has become an influential platform for the young and avant-garde writers in Bangladesh. He also translates regularly from works of world literature. Lately, he has translated and published a dossier on the ‘90s generation of Romanian poets along with other European contemporary poets. His major translation into Bengali is Letters to A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke.
For a while now, Shuhrid has been collaborating with German poet Eva-Maria Berg and writer Siglind Bruhn on his upcoming bilingual (English/German) anthology. Similarly, French poet Marilyne Bertoncini is translating his poems into French for a planned (English/French) anthology.
Shuhrid was invited to present his poems in the Paris International poetry festival in 2014. Recently, his poems have appeared in the Paris-based journal La Traductière, and in http://www.recoursaupoeme.fr. His projects in progress include a translation of ‘The House Made of Razor Blades’ by French poet Linda Maria Baros and an anthology of poems by Eva-Maria Berg. He has also been invited to work with La Traductière as an Associate Editor.