Al Mahmud

(11 July 1936 - / Brahmanbaria / Bangladesh)

The Sound Of Bathing - Poem by Al Mahmud

I don't know how I, at this midnight, have become
two eyes
having all my existence within me, as if they were
a pair of twin bees
sitting abreast on the tepid flesh.

Darkness walks both on my consciousness and
Quick-shivering feelings of mine like the tongue of
a snake
run away touching the shed of my blood. It seems
melancholic parting moment of a boy has been
attached to all my senses. Affection of my mother
being the warm fragrant vapour
of my last food-plate collides with my nose.

Adieu, O Sight .O the born blind Past, don't come
near me.
O the trees, my dwelling house and river, be dark
and disappear like the songs of birds into the deep
ever-bright green.

While walking ashore, suddenly I notice on the
opposite bank
the body of Day turning into a globe of light.
Making sonorous sound of bathing at the staircase
of wharf,
someone says to her companion,'See yonder a little
boy walking
penetrating the deep fog.How can a mother send
her child outside
in a morning of Magha
cold such as? Walking
alone into fog---
what a sight ! '

My observation of birds' flying and the day behind
the river
turns to be something more than play. Sweat grows
on my smooth forehead .Dust gathers on knees.
By raising hands, it's not possible now to hide the
Being lofty, the god of Day has ascended the
flaming sky.
The sound of water makes me realise that it's the
sport of bathing.

The village girls, surrounding the wharf, say to one
showing me, `Who's that guy? Which vllage is he
going to?
To some beautiful lady perhaps!'
When thirst dies, sweat becomes dry by the wind.
At last the birds of pastureland, exchanging eyes
with one another,
fly away with their ruddy wings.

I feel tired. No sorrow, no solicitation, no thirst
drives me more.
Even I don't know which wharf I have reached
Having eighteen pitchers on waists, the village
wives go back home.
Someone of them says in intense tune,
'Who knows where this old passer-by will go
crossing the dark bog?'

[Translated by Sayeed Abubakar from Sonali Kabin]

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, March 20, 2012

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