Hayat Saif

(16 December 1942 - / Dhaka / Bangladesh)

The Sleeping Lady - Poem by Hayat Saif

My mother is now asleep under
the cold soil of Hetom Khan's graveyard.
I hear now, in this town live a million people,
But I never see my mother anymore.
She lives as a unique image that I have created.

Just like this enclave
Created from Borendra –
an idea given birth from the long memory
of our history –
Now it is embodied.

And here and there come a few aborigines
Nonplussed and dispirited they stand in the corners.
Hafiz, the poet of Persia, had written of the Perisan sweets
brought to the Beautiful Bengal.
A traveler said this:
Many roads led to this land,
But all roads leading out were closed.
Such is the magnetism that lies buried in this soil.

But we have seen those who go away –
Kings, his courtiers, and queens,
Travelers, monks, workers, people.
Only the soils and those who toil in them remain –
The giant expanse of the Padma, the Borendra, and the nature –
those stay.
People leave, they inevitably have to go away.
The body departs.
Behind me follows my confused shadow -
Travels in the locale resonant in memory,
Touched by feelings.
People leave as did my mother.
Hamlets stay, soil remain,
and memory remains deep-rooted in the soil.
In empty temples
remain mere bodies of the goddesses.

Inside me, there is the flutter of the 1950s –
stream of people, clutched fists of youth.
Now all these will rain down as dew-drops of memory,
Will become the silent mist of an autumn morning?

My mother wanted her children to be happy
with rice and milk.
Now she sleeps.
And around me sleeps
A Borendra in quiet despair.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, June 5, 2012

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