Kazi Nazrul Islam
A Belated Call - Poem by Kazi Nazrul Islam
Him whom I could not then love much
Why do I now remember thus at this late
hour, a Mother?
Today I remember every night he lulled
me to sleep by kissing my eves,
Kisses followed kisses breaking my
early dawn sleep under their heavy load.
I felt then much distressed
And sought an early release.
The memory now fills my eyes with
. a flood of tears.
Me unfortunate! Under griefs
overwhelming weight vanity doors
now kiss the dust.
The over-flowing caress of the fuIlness
of his young breast
I trampled under foot, a Mother!
Why then this hankering today
These feet he pressed on his breast
And on them did print a thousand kisses,
While tears inundated his eyes,
With no response from me, so vain
was I, a Mother!
Thus awfully disgraced he had to go away.
Indeed I saw his breast with scars of neglect,
From pillar to' post went he disgraced,
He thought of mea a haven,
A protection from insult, an abode of peace.
A fool that I was I shut my door
upon my lord through ignorance.
In disguise of a beggar called at my door
my King of Kings.
He lost his way and came, he,
my welcome kingly beggar,
Me wretched! How could I recognize
him, O Mother?
So his offerings of worship,
His garland of pearls I refused,
My Lord himself worshipped me with
Alas! I knew not the worshipper
amid the encircling dark smoke of
Who knew he came to me last?
Nothing is left behind save farewell
message of the princely guest.
O my Love!
Where didst thou nestle,
When called at this door my King?
Earth now heaves a sigh: 'He is
not here, seek him in vain.'
He is an eternal traveller, free. of the
bonds of home.
From far afar comet the magic call
of the shady path
Beyond the heath, in the thick of the forest,
Hark, the amorous jingling of his
He blossoms with the flower, wanders
over hills with the clouds,
Now here, now gone, I know not
whom he wants.
Mother, where should I get power
enough to hold this gypsy lover?
For him is not love, nor evening
lamp to call home.
So the doors of my heart
Responded not to his knockings,
I thought I then loved
some one else.
I pushed afar the homeless wanderer,
with his offended sentiment.
In loving embrace, he wanted to press
me closely to his bosom,
A wretch I was to run away in trembling fear.
The shade of kingly beggar's eyes
From a distance charmed me,
At his near approach the tearful depth of
his long hungry look,
Overwhelmed me with pain and the lyre
of my mind went out of tune,
Why then, Mother, do I hanger now
for him to come back,
And long for his touch of love and caress
I then disregarded?
Today, I feel I can bury my face
in his bosom in deep felicity,
And can easily weep out my soul
laden with sorrow.
Will my wails reach him across the dim
forest of his abode, O Mother?
Today, I understand, my whole wealth of
life's peace and happiness
My lover, the King of thieves, has stolen away.
O My King of Spring Season!
Come back and take my garland
as laurels on thy brow.
Today, my bosom bursts under the
load of grief and lamentation,
Come and see how heart-rending are
now the wails of that marble-hearted one.
Thy prophecy comes true, blood flows out of stone
The terrible conflagration of forest
burns today a mountain of stone
A stupendous flow-tide arises in my bosom,
Breaking barriers, breaking bulwarks,
In the breast of the dumb appears the
God of speech amid a tempestuous sea-
Now my bosom bursts, my mouth speaks
Whom can you stop, Mother?
My heaven was lost with his departure,
Now I toss on my sleepless pillow alone
with no companion on this sad night-
He ill not come by my side up
To wake me up before peep of dawn
Never will he come at deep of night in the,
amorous pursuit of stealthy kisses,
His companion is doomed to weep out.
a stormy night across a forest.
Had I but found him today. I would,
O Mother, have fallen flat at his fear
Holding his lotus like feet on my breast
bathed them in my lake of tears
Seated him on one-half of my skirt,
The flood of dears appearing unbidden
I would have wiped out the wet collyrium
from his eyes, face and lip's corner,
With my disheveled hair wiped his feet
imprisoning him within my embrace.
Thou couldst see then, Mother, this
Wayward girl, this cause of all ills
Leaning her face on his generous bosom
and saying, 'I love you'
While thus unbosoming herself, a
Would make her blush and swear,
Her face would unwillingly descend from
his breast and roll unawares on his lap
I would see, Mother, how could he then
restrain himself on ground of
Thus now arises in me many a hope
and thirst for love,
From offended vanity, anguish, passion'
and attachment rolled into one.
Leaving me as a debtor of tears,
Has he crossed high seas for an
Is it far beyond rivers, Mother?
Is it that tempest itself cannot
reach that far-off land. O Mother?
If he now learns that I do love him,
In wild ecstasy will his sepulcher burst open?
His shouts will make
The wide ocean of tears overflow,
His frantic thunder will make a
volcano burst forth
Mountain and ocean and sky and air
will encircle him in a cyclic dance,
for shame! Mother, why shouldst thou weep
plaintively like that?
Rather recite to me some lay heard
by thee from him.
And listening let me fall asleep on thy lap.
But who knocks at the door?
Is it the storm that strikes like him?
O West Wind' Wild West Wind!
Thy friend is on the other side of the sea.
He shall not come where I do exist.
Gone is he to that land where falleth not my shadow.
Why, still, from time to-time,
Do I feel inclined to call him?
To whom should I breathe what remains
still unsaid by me?
O Mother, my heart's anguish doth struggle
hard on the threshold of my boso
Adieu! Adieu! Speak to him of me
if thou dost meet him?
A King's offering can a beggar-maid.
ever refuse it?
I know. I know, Mother,
My offended lover, shall come again
In search of me at dead of night
to this door of our cottage,
Tell him then I am lost in darkness
in search of him alone!
[Translation: Abdul Hakim]
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