About a Bird:
About a Bird:
When at melancholy noon all birds wearily slumber
with eyes half-shut,
when the harsh Loo wind roars fiercely
And roams all over the desert like a pack of hyenas,
when with harshness and emptiness
stretching from horizon to horizon
indifferent Nature stands still,
even at that hour one bird goes on crying
oh, what an endless and heartbreakingly deep cry it is!
Squeezing one’s very existence
sweat flows like a stream
and earth’s hostile tongue laps it up
like some salted food,
stricken by the dry cruel wind
the throat gets parched,
and there is no pause,
the bird’s cry goes in endlessly.
Its cry echoes back from the western horizon
with a satiric sting.
As its untimely cry disturbs their rhythm
a band of cruel hunters hurl their arrows
from Rocky-Apalation peaks
at the bird’s cry,
machine guns start roaring from the camps
of their local allies,
and yet the bird cries on
with its primitive emotion.
It defies their angry stares, their missiles
and their machineguns.
Shattering into bits the spiralling smoke
coming out of their bomber planes
it declares its deathless existence
among the wide vaults of Nature.
As it hears the bird’s cry
the sleeping heart of Afro-Asia wakes up,
the little-eyed negroes rise
from the dense forests of Congo,
they wake up from their hundred years sleep
and look up at the open sky.
Suddenly their dark faces turn red,
they hear the pitiful cries of their raped darling
coming from the prison camps of the enemy.
They go crazy, they run about everywhere wildly_
wherefrom does that heart breaking cry come?
All on a sudden they realize
that the bird is crying inside their own breasts,
this bird is crying from the tree
of their indomitable existence,
this cry is coming from the heart
of their subdued homeland.
Their bodies quiver with the hunger for revenge,
their big chests swell with unending courage,
suddenly they feel a tug in their veins,
like the eruption of a volcano
they feel in them the reckless flow
of blood-red lava.
Throwing away their rotted palm-wine,
incarnadining their hearts
with the purple blood of martyrdom
they have built today a twin warfield of Afro-Asia.
That is why we see all around
flowers raining down on you,
crowds clapping their hands,
blessings dispelling all fear.
They will go on fighting
till all enemy camps disappear
from the soil of their homeland.
That bird will go on singing
even if its throat is slit
and blood spills out of it
its song will not cease
Desire for freedom is never stilled by blood.
Shafiqul Islam's Other Poems
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