Paper Flowers - Poem by Sayeed Abubakar
Immortal and undecaying these poems, I know, shall die one day; one day all fame and immortality shall fall flat among the debris. The Keokaradang, the Himalayas, the Twin Tower and the Great Wall of China shall be flying in the air like the light dry skins of onions. The eyes of Newton and Einstein shall be upturned; upon those eyes, the blue ashes of the utterly destroyed stars shall be falling down ceaselessly. Alas, where will be lost for ever science, technology, art, literature, music and paintings earned through thousand years!
When these poems will die one day; when all fame and immortality shall fall flat one day among the debris; when the Keokaradang, the Himalayas, the Twin Tower and the Great Wall of China will be flying in the air like the light dry skins of onions; when the eyes of Newton and Einstein will be upturned; when upon those eyes, the blue ashes of the utterly destroyed stars will be falling down ceaselessly; alas, when where will be lost for ever science, technology, art, literature, music and paintings earned through thousand years; that day, o God, pour down those poems into my soul, listening to which, all the nymphs and inhabitants of Paradise will start dancing in joy.
I walk bearing such a soul which plays like a flute, sings like a cuckoo, runs stirring murmuring sounds like a spring and dances unfolding its feathers like a pea-cock. If I were not submerged utterly into the darkness of the worldy life, my soul would play such a way, your sky would start trembling; it would sing such a way, the passers-by would remain standing by speechless; it would run stirring murmuring sound such a way, poems after poems would fall down into the souls of the poets; and it would dance unfolding its feathers such a way, the eyes of the beauty-lovers would be dazzled in wonder. My soul is, as it were, a cuckoo who has mistakenly entered a city; he sings songs but the outcry of the machine-monsters does not let them enter the ears of lords and ladies.
The wise say, our soul does not die. But, alas, my soul is utterly dead now! The way the water of a pond reaches its bottom for the terrible drought of Summar, the fishes of the pond cannot save then themselves from the clutch of death though they hide into mud; that way, my soul has lost its existence dying gradually everyday by my own torture. Hi, what is the way to live now?
My murshid said, ‘The way the seeds sowed into the soil get back becoming trees again; the way the herds of fishes come out of their eggs mixed with the bottom of a bog dry like a log, when water get stocked in it; that way, dead souls return to life if they get rain, if, in that incessant rain, darkness is washed away for ever.'
I asked, ‘What is true then—life or death? What is the difference between life and death, o lord? '
‘You won't be able to comprehend the shape of truth if the light of day and the darkness of night are not removed from your eyes. If the eyes of skin are not destroyed, the eye of soul cannot see properly. And how will those, who have not conquered their body, fly in the indefinite sky with the wings of Gabriel? O lad, you have fallen, I see, into the riddle of life and death. May God bless you.'
THE DIVINE EYE
He wanted to be exposed. So the universe was created. The hills and mountains, oceans, rivers, forests and the sky were created. Were created the Sun, the Moon, the nebula, the galaxy way, darkness and light. Tigers, lions, bears, deer, sheep, goats and dogs were created. Were created even the cockroach, snakes and the earth-worms. The lighning-speedy angels and Jins. Adam and Eve.
Man said to Him, ‘Won't we be able to see you? ' He said, ‘The eyed ones will see. Those who possess ears will hear me. Those who have noses will smell me. And those who are the owners of heart will be able to feel me deeply.'
Then He spread politics, states, science, knowledge, good and bad among men creating them within a moment. He created love, created hatred. Created honey and bitter. Creating days and nights, He said to them, ‘Touch each other if you can! '
Then few men returned to Him. He asked, ‘Could you see me? ' Most of them looked at Him in bewilderment as if they had been dumb by birth; it seemed that they did not hear and understood nothing. Only a handful men opened their mouth joyfully. Someone said, ‘Seeing the Kanchenjunga, the moonshine flooded nights, the swelling feathers of pea-cocks, the peaks of two breasts of my beloved, the softness of rain, the green darkness of a deep forest, the morning dew lying on the blade of grass and the heaps of waves tumbling down on the breast of ocean, I understood that they all are samples of your eternal beauty.' Another one said, ‘I could see you into sounds. When the spring songs of cuckoos, the howling of clouds of the rainy season, the whistle of magpies during autumn, the sad tone of the hilly brooks, the swelling music of the wave-lyres of seas and your nectar speeches playing into the throats of men entered into my ears, I could see you within my existence.' Another one said, ‘I startled having the perfume of bakul flowers. I asked the kathalchapa flowers, ‘Who has given you this scent? ' The hasnahena flowers of the night spread the intoxication of perfumes into my sleep. Setting my nose on the kadom flowers of rain, the sheuli flowers of morning and the lemon flowers bloomed on the bank of pond, I continued seeing closing my eyes the spreading light of your smell.' Then the last man said, ‘Picking up my first child into my lap, I could see you. The red china rose love of a lass pierced like a spear into my heart opened the doors of my two eyes. It seemed that crossing the seven skies I rushed somewhere where the current of the eternity has got united. Surrounding it, there exist the songs of cuckoos, the strange perfumes of roses and the soft sunrays of dawn. One day seeing the footprints of elephants on the soil of a forest, I exactly told my friends that elephants lived in that forest. Witnessing the truth, they all became astonished. But they kept their faces aside when I told them about your presence everywhere. I said, ‘The unfathomable ocean is telling me, ‘He exists.' The sky is telling me, ‘He exists.'' They raised the question, ‘Then why can't we see Him? ' I said, ‘Because a veil has drawn on your eyes. So you won't be able to see Him.' Then, you know, how ferociously they all jumped upon me like hyenas! Tearing me into pieces, they buried me beneath the soil. Hi, if they could realise! If they could see! If they were not blind like the born blind men! '
TIGER AND DEER
I asked him, ‘Tigers devour deer; why do deer live beside the tigers then? '
‘They will live beside tigers. It is the doctrine. Tigers never jump over deer if they don't feel hungry. If the deer did not stay beside tigers, they would extinct from earth many days ago. Men would then enter the Sundarbans, loading trucks with deer would come back to slaughter-house and destroy them over night.'
Saying ‘Where has gone fear? ', a man was running breathlessly. I rushed to him and asked, ‘Hi, what are you looking for this way? ' Halting abruptly, pantingly he said, ‘Fear! I'm looking for fear but it's not being found anywhere in this city of Pharaoh.'
‘Alas, I see nothing in this city but fear! ', I said. ‘Where I stare, I see only fear: the fear of gun, the fear of falchion, the fear of slaughtering, the fear of being arrested, the fear of bombing by plane, the fear of famine, the fear of hijacking, the fear of being kidnapped. Floating on so many fears, are you looking for fear on the streets this way? '
He said, ‘Yes, I'm looking for that fear, losing what, this city has become a living hell; losing what, man is devouring man like a hyena tearing his bones, flesh, dreams and desires. I'm looking for that fear, having which into bosom, the whole body would turn into a volcano with valour; having which into bosom, the heart would turn into the Atlantic ocean and its waves would sing and dance with joy day and night. I'm looking for that fear, having which into bosom, the sword of Simar*, the death-sentence by hanging, the pan of boiling oil, sorrows, miseries, prison, suppression, oppression and injustice would seem to be nothing at all; having which into bosom, it would be as easy as that of Yusuf to throw away the nude youth of Zulekha like a piece of torn dirty cloth; having which into bosom, the believers would forsake this city for ever like the dog of the seven sleepers and take shelter into the inevitable den of death.'
I got stunned and asked, ‘Which fear is it? '
He kept his mouth into my ear and said in a whisper, ‘The fear of Allah.' Then he got lost into the bright daylight of civilization which way a shadow gets lost into noon. Groping into the darkness of my worm-eaten heart, I asked myself with wonder, ‘Hi, can you say, o Sayeed, where lies that fear? '
*the killer of Imam Hosen(R) , the grandson of prophet Mohammad (Sm)
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