Here death, killing, violence, hunger
round the clock play the doom’s game;
Snatching, hijacking, injustice, inconvenience
grow the grass of sorrow in the field of life.
Here life is like the Padma@ on whose banks
stands the sandy sad shoal vast, stretched and lonely;
Still life does not bow down to sorrow
but stands erect like the rocks.
Here drought, flood, tidal surge
come like giants in greed of life
and then inflicts raids and riots
on life like Azrael*.
Yet what a stony hero this country is- that does not
get cracked into parts in drought of sorrow!
@the biggest river of Bangladesh, now dead
* the angel of death
[Translation of Bangla poem ‘Pathor Bir’ taken from the poet’s first book ‘Pronoyer Prothom Pap’ (1996) ]