You said

Illustration: manan morshed

(Translated by Fakrul Alam)

Notun Bazar was burning, burning!
Shops, stores, woodpiles
Piled up iron, timber, mosques and temples
Notun Bazar was burning, burning!

Parrot cages, copies of Rabindranath's collected works, sweet-meat shops
Maps old documents all aflame
Just as bees swarm out of hives buzzing,
Flushed out with smoke from a fire
All of us flushed out by flames
All of us swarming and fleeing the city like bees
Scattering here, there, everywhere
Hugging her newly-born babe in her bosom a bewildered mother
Fleeing like a singed forest deer
In the distance bullets whizzing past, ransacking army jeeps hogging roads. Shrieks
And screams filling streets. The two of us
Stunned into silence. Trembling, we embracing each other somehow.
You saying:
"Save me, save from this fire lit by barbarians
Hide me in the fold of your eyes
In the depth of your heart or within your ribcage
Suck me in an instant
In kiss after kiss."

Notun Bazar was burning, burning
Flames here there everywhere
Lead bullets zinging past us like hail
You had said
"Save me"!
But hapless me not able to say even that openly!

Fakrul Alam is Supernumerary Professor, Department of English, University of Dhaka. 


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