Kazi Nazrul Islam

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

Coward - Poem by Kazi Nazrul Islam

I know,
Why you do not look back
You have left your abode
For the temple of God
To while away the time
With the dolls.

And to flitter the self away
Oh dear,
Not knowing that playing with heart:
Leads up to endless tears.

So great is the debt
When the eyes meet, |
And the moments smack.
I know,
Why you do not look back.

I know,
Why you do not look back.
When the eyes get lost In the eyes.
And the word slowly dies..

When you are all alone.
In the sanctum of your home
There is collyrium In your bright eyes
And not the tears.
No deceit rings
In the anklets you wear.

As you walk,
I know,
Why you do hot look back
I know,
Why you do not look back,
When no creepers
On your feet roll
As you stroll,
In the wilderness.
You plucked flowers
In sheer absent mindness,
Without hurting your fingers.

Not knowing the truth either
That, with the garlands
The heart also withers.
Not knowing that
Behind a scurrilous mouth,
A loneliness lurks.
I know,
Why you do not look back.

I am conscious
Of your deceitfulness and skill
But you never knew, indeed
That on your cheeks,
There is a hue
Of pomegranate seeds.

Never knew that,
The timid hearts of women,
Like a creeper laden with a bee,
For those untold words and the denials
Shiver in agony.

And as much as the eye wails
The modesty prevails;
I know you coward,
Why your own image
That you unwittingly fear.

Of man, you have known,
And he is a stone
To whom you never bowed.
You have desired
A pair of covetous hands
And bowed to touch the feet,
Not knowing though
A heart becomes a touch-stone
With another touch on it.
I know coward
Why you wander.

I know what is your fear
When the desires of the heart
In the two shores of body whisper.

The fragrance of
A blooming heart
The petals can never thwart.
However much you wish to hide,
It breaks far and wide.

All the secret words
Have gathered in you dear
I know what is your fear.

I know,
Why you cannot say openly:
The nightingale has carried
The message secretly.

The words you wanted to hear,
How did she know of it, oh dear?
The same words
The bride murmured
Gently raising her eyes:
Who knew that in her cruel fingers
Such magic lies.
I know,
Why you cannot say openly.

I know,
Why no ornaments you wear
The flame of agony
Has burnt your flesh Into gold oh dear!
To adorn a doll
Of clay with attire?
Why should gold
Mere gold desire?

Leaving the shores of the body
The mind seeks purity.
The agony of mine, oh dear.
Now adorns your beauty
I know,
Why no ornament you wear.

I know
They will not abide;
The maiden
Who slept in the night
Woke up as a bride.

She swims with the foam
Not really knowing
The oyster's home.
The pearl you have found

But the shell of the eyes
In the tears got drowned
When the burden
Is too heavy to bear,
The heart also sinks
In utter despair.
Oh unlucky woman!
How shall you make it clear?

[Original: Bhiru; Translation: Syed Mujibul Huq]

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 30, 2012

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