Hayat Saif

(16 December 1942 - / Dhaka / Bangladesh)

Felling A Tree - Poem by Hayat Saif

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(The flowering tree one spring was felled undesirably)
From behind the still vibrant foliage one can see
The crunching edges of the saw
A humming shaft of sound.

The sharp tips of the teeth plunged deep into the
Undefended flesh, ribs and marrow
And now into the chambers of the heart
With blue green lightning of searing pain.
Alone in the nervous pool of spouting blood
I grope and falter
For my eyes have burnt in the long despairing
Dream of dreadful droughts
The winds blow away the pent-up sawdust, lift the
Up like a veil and play games,
Games that people play.
'Excuse us for our undue presence' they say as if
to excuse themselves from life, from the
living and the dead.
In my bosom for decades I have nursed
An enduring rage,
Even that sacred rage seems to wilt and die
In this barren time of hatred and strife.

And so a mourning takes its place,
An intense mourning for something lost
Forever in silence.
But whenever the wild rains burst forth
From the ominous clouds
There is a drowning drench
The vast sheets of rushing water cascades
Down the slopes.
And then the cascading green of grass and weeds –
Even our blood does not seem to enrich
The barren earth anymore.
Many have passed away fighting for the alphabet in vain.
But neither the alphabet nor the scripture could stop
The droughts and floods and pains.
And now only the burning teeth of the saw
Plunge deep into the flesh
of the still living trunk.
The tree now lies fallen on the perched earth
And there is no rain and the dusts flowing from the saw
Covers the ignominious earth
Yet in the beginning of every spring they all congregate
At the central Shahid Minar.
When at last you are free of the frenzy
And a destructive mood
And the pageantry is no more, the square
Becomes empty again
And spring wind sighs past the still living trees.
And then without warning everything changes
For, in that dream of death quietly a life begins to sprout,
And all on a sudden blood sings in my veins-
Into this spring I shall go
Shedding everything that is
Neither immediate nor necessary.
Into this spring of rejuvenation I shall go
And learn anew this rhythm and the incantation of
Love of life
I shall bring forth rains that will give life
To the seeds and this burnt earth shall suffer
No more the bad dreams
That we had suffered once.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, June 5, 2012



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