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Kazi Nazrul Islam

(24 May 1899 - 29 August 1976 / Bardhaman / India)

Beware My Captain


You have to cross the darkness of the night
A desert vast and a hill of great height,
And an ocean, fathomless and dark.
Travellers, beware and look sharp.

The boat is trembling,
The water is swelling,
The sail is torn asunder,
And the boatman is losing his way,
Who will sit at the helm at this hour?
Who has the courage and the power?
The future calls your,
Come forward, all who are bold and true.

The night is dark, the storm is great,
You must look sharp, there is no time to hesitate.
You must make haste or it would be too late
To ferry the boat across the other side.
The night is dark, Be your own guard.
your, soldiers of the country,
Age old grievances have declared a fight,
The deprived heart is demanding its right.
You must take them along, the poor and the weak,
You must make them strong, no longer mild and meek

You must lead them to victory.
O Captain, my captain,
The helpless nation is going under water,
It does not know how to swim.
I shall watch tonight
Your determination, grim yet bright,
To free the country from slavery.
'Are they Hindus or Muslims? '
Who ask this question, I say.
Tell him, my Captain,
The children of the motherland are drowning today.

Doubts assail the mind of the travelers still,
There is thunder in the sky and danger over the hill.
Captain, will you lose the way
And leave us in the lurch?
You must not waver or sway,
You must carry on the march.

Those who sang the victory of life
With the nose of the gallows round their neck
Come and gather round quietly today.
What price do you pay for that, friends,
What sacrifice do you make?
It is a test, dear Captain,
Do you save the country or the cast at this hour?
The boat is trembling,
The water is swelling,
Beware, my Captain, beware.

[Translation: Kabir Chowdhury]

Submitted: Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Edited: Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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