Shamsur Rahman

(23 October 1929 – 17 August 2006 / Dhaka / Bangladesh)

The Postcard Poem by Shamsur Rahman


It has been a few weeks that
A dirt smudged postcard with bad handwriting
Sitting in his shirt pocket.
Wherever the young man goes
The postcard goes with him.
The incorrectly spelt and awfully worded letter falls asleep
Close to the young man's chest
With its smell of village flowers,
Creepers and mimosa shrubs
And the soft rippling sound of water
On the edge of the pond.
The postcard from his sister
perturbs him at times.
The unemployed youth
Is helpless to support the family
Without a patriarch.
He stays out of harm's way
and keeps a very little involvement.
None has ever seen him in any political meetings or processions.
He has rather been searching for a job relentlessly.
Hunger and deep sighs are his constant companions.
Yet, on a terrified noon,
His chest was pierced by a sudden bullet.
The youth did not even have a chance to comprehend
Where the bullet was from.
Was it the police or was it from a terrorist?
The youth did not know.
Only the postcard, he noticed, in his pocket
Soaked up with his own blood.

[Translated from the Bengali by Zakeria Shirazi]

Submitted: Thursday, March 22, 2012
Edited: Thursday, March 22, 2012

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