Kazi Nazrul Islam

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

The Bird-Hunter's Song - Poem by Kazi Nazrul Islam

Who is that who looks askance at me?
Is it a look of fear, diffidence or tenderness?

She smiles at me holding the aerial roots of the banyan,
Or floating her water vessel in the pond.

As she watches me bird-hunting
Her eyes fill with tears like a pair
of mussel-shells brimmed
with water from a kohl-dark lake.
The water lilies tremble in the clasp of her palm.
She knits her brows and chides me --
Is it fear, diffidence or tenderness?

Reclining her relaxed body, she arranges her tress,
Tucks at the waist the end of her dress;
She cracks her fingers and drags her feet,
oh, how she drags her feet!

At times she dives in the water,
at times she swims about,
For dallying at the ghat, she finds all the excuse.
She wants me to believe that
she is waiting for someone else.
Is it in fear, diffidence or tenderness?

[Translated from the Bangla by Farida Majid]

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 30, 2012

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