Mohammad Rafiq

(1943 / Baitpur, Bagerhat / Bangladesh)

A Chestful Of Contentment - Poem by Mohammad Rafiq

Oh the girl’s tresses unloose themselves,
her clothes fly away,
in the flame-orange of her body comes the dawn,
in the beckon of her enchanting smile the morning follows.
the farmer with plough and yoke on his shoulder
walks the ridges of his field

the daughters gone the sons gone the cows gone the land gone
only their mother remains

pour the water, oh golden maiden, put your mind to the water
fetch the pitcher winnow the grain wash the floor serve the rice
oh she’s used up her body, she can move no more
her flesh comes off her bones, her eyes from her head, her hands from her arms

at sunset this wounded woman’s shadow sticks to the mat.

the farmer, shrinking within himself
in the husk and ashes of his dreams, roasting all night in the vapors of his burnt youth

and stuck to the pot of jaggery, the corpse of a dead ant

[Translated from Bengali by Prasenjit Gupta ]

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, June 5, 2012

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