Kazi Nazrul Islam

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

Irrepressible Youth - Poem by Kazi Nazrul Islam

O restless and impetuous youth!
Who hid thy face with the mask of wisdom
And clothed thee with the apparel of patience?
All the morality-mongers advise restraint
For the arrogant power of youth
Only to hide their own inner fears.
O thou impetuous! Who fettered thy flying wings?
Fearless youth! Thou, who from the crowd
Of begging weaklings, used to snatch light
Out of the womb of darkness, dost rest today
In thy nest,
How couldst thou check
Thy terrific onrush of life at the bidding
Of those whose spine is broken by
The cold touch of the polar wind and
Whose life is made powerless by the shadow of
hardened frost.
How strange to see the lion of the desert
Meekly enter the cage and submit to punishment!
Those who to want create to and yet are afraid to destroy
Are themselves victims of destruction first.
What fool says that thou canst kindle the fire
Without burning firewood? How
Canst thou get the shade of the forest

If the seed does not supply the life?
The swift flowing river as it rushes madly on
Impelled by its richness of life erodes the
two banks
And yet, at the same time, makes the flowers blossom.
She is thirsty for the sea and knows not
Who is her friend or foe. She cares
Not how many boats she sinks. All she
Wants is ever to be on the move, for that is
Her religion, Who ever heard that the breakers
Of the sea quietly slept lest two merchant ships sank?

Will not the elephant walk on the roads
Lest it tramples an ant under its feet?
Will not the mighty fire burn lest
It destroys healths and homes?

Will the sight of gaping, tattered roofs
Make the rains cease its heavy downpour?
Will the summer storms fail to come
Lest the trees in the woods tumble arid break?
Will there be no eagle because the timid
Baby-Lamb might take fright at his sight ?
O uncalculating youth,
Thou dost never waste thy time making out
The balance sheet of loss and gain !

O tempestuous youth, wake up!
Come like a tornado, trampling everything that falls
In front of thee, in causeless glee.

Bring generous life, wide as the horizons,
And a mighty current of motion strong enough
To wash tile debris off the banks
In a wild rush.
Embrace sorrow with a stout heart
And laugh loudly with frankness and joy.
Freedom will come later, but sing now
Of the fresh and the young. Untimely and
Ugly sickness has attacked the kingdom of youth.
This nation is inert as the dead
Long before its real decease. Open the iron door
And let joy unbounded flow
Like the smooth easy flight of the pigeons
In the blue firmament. Rush into the ocean
For no reason and climb the peak
Of that distant hill! If thou meetest
Death round the corner, embrace him as thy comrade.
Get rid of all the prejudices that reside
Inside thy heart and outside of thee, All the swords
Of Ali are rusted today and gone to seed!

[Original: Durbar joubon; Translation: Kabir Chowdhury]


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 30, 2012



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