Kazi Nazrul Islam
The Worshipper - Poem by Kazi Nazrul Islam
After all, at this late hour,
Like a whirlwind blind with dust
Day and Night
Dance about in a blood-red Death-game
At long last, at this eleventh hour
It is revealed to me that! know thee through
Thy voice, thy tune shaming the dove,
Thy eye, thy face,
Thy eye-brow, forehead, cheek,
Thy beauty that knows no equal,
Thy wanton ear-ring swinging to and fro
in dance surpassing a swan
I know, I know all!
Hence, after all, I
Standing on the one, weary, hopeless
and dreary beach of life
From the depths of my fainting heart
Cry for thee and thee alone,
Calling by the sweetest name which is constantly
on my lips as a sacred name on the rosary.
I weep with it -
In my broken voice do I cry, I know thee,
I do, do, do know,
Thou art not one with laurels of victory - nor
art thou a beggar-maid,
Thou art virgin nymph, daughter of an
eremite, thou art my eternal worshipper!
Through ages, thou hast loved this hard-hearted one,
Burning thy own self, thou hast kindled light
in my breast,
Many a time thou hast made me a debtor
to thy worship.
I know thee, Beloved, I do, do, do know through
I oft recognize thee in the sun-set
of life, at the hour of death,
Then after recognition
Thou dost go elsewhere.
Leaving me on the lone, deserted
Sitting at the end of the day, bathed in tears,
I recall her far-off, distant memory
I remember the sad, silent welcome night
of mine that came at the close of spring
When my eyes feasted upon thine and were blessed,
Till then a simple, happy boy - my
youth did not put forth blossoms,
Like approaching, aching, eager Dawn
Half-asleep, half-awake was my boyhood,
My rosy nights went blooming
Free of all barriers, ,
Like a whirlwind spontaneously moving
Or the speed of fiery lyrics, or
laughter that knows no end
A wandering traveller from far afar,
I took thee
And along with thee
Came tearful eyes and pangs of homeless forlorn
Thou didst come at night, at peep of Dawn,
I sang 'Awake, Beloved, Awake! '
Thou didst rise from sleep, thou didst come to me,
And looking at my face didst smile a
melancholy smile -
At thy smile I wept - whose tame bird distressed
art thou, now deprived of thy forest
O the message of thine eyes! methought
That voice, that tune of mine
Laden with sadness of separation,
And reverberating in the forest,
Which invites the south wind, causes
the flower to blossom and charms the wild doe,
Thou hast known all of myself since the dawn of
Then, that midnight I did sing
plaintive notes choked with tears of that
unhonoured send-off and wounded feelings.
I did not know whom by the incantation of a song
I wanted then to imprison in my
ever-desolate forlorn heart
Only this I do know that the shade of
thy love-enkindled eyes untimely roused from sleep
Fell upon my eyes.
I saw, too, in the expression of those eyes,
A flood of light mixed with surprise and delight,
A flow of fascination born of profound pain,
With silent sympathy was trembling the love-lorn heart
In the likeness of the dark night
To my thirsty eyes was expectantly welcome,
Worshipper! that sweet, tender light
kindled in the lamp of thy eyes!
Then, at the close of singing .
With a smile I think I called thee near, by the
Suddenly didst thon storm with a pent up
feeling of self-respect offended
(Who knoweth why) .
Like a canoe trembled thy serene eyes
Secured with eye brows,
The swelling water through the mouth
of the fount of agony
Fell in torrents!
Such flood of tears gushing out of thy
depths on a little caress
Where didst thou get, O Neglected!
my wandering Beloved?
Tell me, O tell!
On this broken bosom,
Pillow thy bright face bathed in tears
With a thrill of bashful joy
And tell me, a tell!
Why seeing me art thou overwhelmed with
an undefined feeling?
Why at my call such abundance of tears
overflows thy eyes?
An unknown vagrant wayfarer am I,
Seeing me why tears start to thy
virgin eyes serene?
Others laugh at me;
A happy, secure nest is burnt at .
the very touch of my accursed hot breath,
Taking it to be a jewel some people
wear it as a garland,
But when it turns to be a venomous serpent
And bites them in the breast,
Forthwith they trample it under foot!
With one who is disliked, hated and
disregarded by the world,
Forlorn Beloved! Why dost thou
play this sad game
For one why this secret sensibility?
On what right
The mere calling by name doth cause pain to thee?
Art thou loved by nobody? Art thou
tenderly taken by nobody? Art thou
tenderly taken by none?
From birth art thou neglected as
a Beggar maid? And for that
Such abundant flow of tears and
Such offended spirit exciting compassion?
No, not even that
In a forlorn voice while resting on the breast
Who doth in forlorn sensitiveness Say
'No, not even that'!
I saw hundreds come to this house,
Many of their own accord take thee on their breast,
Still yet in thy eyes and face is writ
large a deep discontent and a profound
Pining for love!
Why at my sight doth so much nectar
of love overflow thy breast?
O Mystry! My Queen!
Nobody doth know
Thou knowest not
Nor do I know.
Love alone knoweth, heart alone doth feel
From whence cometh such poignancy of
Spontaneous attraction of heart to heart.
Even without understanding it, I understood
That day, O unknown! that thou
art eternally know to me, thou my
neglected Sita in every successive birth!
Thou hermit's daughter deserting thy forest home,
Eternal virginity; thy tray of offerings to Gods
I broke in every age, thy garland I tore
In mere sport; ever-silent, ever languishing
under a curse, O heavenly damsel!
In silence didst thou suffer
O thou Simple! Simply hast thou
Known thou art my-Queen of
Victory, myself thy Poet.
Then, towards the end of night
Sitting by thy side
I heard thy melodious song,
Half-interrupted by bashfulness,
Oft the voice reminded me
Of some dim, half-remembered,
half-forgotten, long-lost thing,
Singing in choked voice 'O thou'!
When krishna went to Mathura and forgot
his beloved Radhika,
Methink, she wept out her forlorn
heart singing such sweetest saddest song.
With a breast afflicted by neglect,
it was much like Lalita's lamentation
in secret hour!
Perhaps in lonely forest, alone, wandering,
Damayanti sang in such tired voice
Calling her husband woo was left behind!
Perhaps sad sakuntala remembering her husband
Wept with the forest creepers singing
in such tune, in secret leafy nook!
Perhaps on the peak of the Hem-giri mountain
The long-lost Sati in the person of Uma
Addressed Bholanath in such ever known voice!
Wept she, ever-faithful, beloved of her
husband, to get again her eternal lover!
I see and understand everything,
My youth did not awake, so thy fair face
made no deep impress on my inward eye;
Yet in thy familiar voice my own
I left and went afar in some unremembered
moment along a nameless village path
Scarcely a day or two passed when
on the bank of the same holy Gomati
My heart ached for the first time and a
Strange, fragrant pain I felt in
the lotus of my navel region.
I wandered to-and fro in search of
the source of this pain-laden smell of wine
At the mere touch of my hot, heavy
sighs, trembled the sky, air and earth,
Bewailed leaves and creepers,
Flowers and birds and rivers,.
Bewailed clouds and winds and all,
And bewailed in the breast in fierce
pleasure the insatiate divinity awakened
by youth's tyranny: .
Wretched as I was, I knew not whom I wanted,
So I cried hoarse, 'Where should .
I go, where may I find my Beloved? '
My heart feels a burning passion,
my mind runs riot,
Methink, it is the sad lamentation
of a lover under the load of eternal youth!
Visions float in quick success on
before the eyes of many a color,
red, blue, pink
From whose breast
To my heart of hearts
Doth come and why this painful ecstasy
redolent of musk?
My mind like the musk deer runs a-field.
the air trembles with fear engendered by
my frantic wailings! .
Like the musk of deer
My mind blind with scent roams in
Search of the odour of my own navel!
Mine own love
By drinking itself wants to appease
its own thirst!
My youth under an eternal thirst for
the whole world of love
After emptying an ocean like a drop
longs for another!
Good Heaven! What thirst eternal,
illimitable is this!
Where is contentment? O where?
Where is the Eternal Ocean of Love that
can appease my thirst?
More self-willed, tyrannical, and irresistible than I
Where might I find her
In absence of whom I know no peace
in this wide world!
Thinking like this I go abroad, I only
walk my way,
And meet many a girl on the path,
After them, alas! runs with blind impetuosity
My mind hungering for Love,
If one of them looks back, my
offended sentiment brings a flood
of tears to my eyes!
They laugh at my predicament, .
Some one ignores me, some one
approaches with an offer of favour!
It doth aggravate my grief,
With the deep naked agony of a wretched one,
Like the loud roar of the ocean of
Under pain and wounded self-respect
. doth swell in fierce volume
The flame of my heart agitated with distress!
A street girl doth offer favour!
Under my foot I smash her vanity .
with her presumptuous offer!
In tears she goes back, afraid of coming near;
Like Anath Pindada, disciple of Buddha,
My mendicant heart
Hegs from door to door no common alms
For my love-Buddha,
Give me alms, O citizens!
I beg for Buddha, see my master
goes back hungry from the door!
Many came, many went away, .
Some in fright, some in surprise,
Some with a broken heart,
Some bathed in tears
Thus many a nymph came and went,
I beseech complete surrender,
But it is not understood by the happy damsels
of the city
They carne with a smile,
Then at the end of the smile
In tears they go back
To the shady nook of their living home
They say, 'O way-farer! Tell us, O tell
What Treasure doth thy heart hanker after? .
Why is this pathos in thy voice, for whom
is there so much hunger in 'thy breast? '
No body understands what I want
Some 'rings mind and heart, some brings
Youth and wealth,
While a third offers beauty and body.
A proud princess maddened by her riches
Wants to imprison me in the trap of her
beauty and youth...
All in vain! Loaded with despondency ,
my heart goes abroad
As a vagrant warbler
Singing 'where is my love-loran Beloved
my worshipper, Oh, where? '
She who will say, 'I have turned
an anchorite for the sake of love,
O thou my Lord! '
Forlorn am I and not
thy pride and glory
In vain I roam in the wilderness
My thirst rages fiercely
In such moments my thirst-stricken heart
Loses itself for a moment
At a distant, unknown beckoning with the hand
As if she were weeping aloud-,
Saying 'My Love, I am thy heart's wandering maid,
I know thee
Thou, too, knowest me!
I knew not, it was a she-devil,
It was but an illusion,
No water, but a snare, it was a
deceptive image of a lake in the desert! '
'I am at thy mercy', so saying I
called at her door,
Alas, where was she? Verily it was a witch
Alluring me to my doom!
It was a cruel Fowler's net,
It was a device to win the grace
. of a Beggar's bowel,
No, the trap did defeat itself, .
Entangled in her own snare was
finished the witch
To thy door came I with my heart
bleeding from thorns,
Knew not, even then, thou didst feel
a keen sympathy for my afflictions.
Yet from time to time it struck me
that thy sweet, balmy touch could efface
All my bums and pangs,
That to my heart spoke thy heart ever in tears
O way-farer! Give me those thorns;
Where do they prick thee,
Tell mc, pray!
Thou art a silent eremite, keeping in
thy lone privacy,
Hence thy speechless message
I seldom minded, and little understood
that and thy little reserved bosom
There was so much room for love and hope.
Meanwhile I knew not from where
came my mother floating as it were
like a free stream,
In that stormy night.
She took me in her lap, printed a
thousand kisses on my eyes bathed in tears.
The thoroughfare vanished
The chariot disappeared
Drowned was all sorrow and pain,
A mother's love illumined my dilapidate
temple like the festival of Dewali!
My past history like the previous birth
I seemed to forget on getting back
my lost Mother!
A homeless one was restored to his
home, in tranquil happiness and felicity.
After many an age as it were, I slept a
deep sleep pillowed on my Mother's breast.
There was an end of vagrant minstrelsy,
Disappeared in a piteous
lone my companion the tempestuous wind.
0 0 0
Again, again was I benighted
Perhaps at the door of some all-conquering
nymph, Arjun's chariot came to a stand-still.
I forgot the object of my peregrination,
I forgot. my heart had been eternally wandering
and longing for my Beloved, Beloved and Beloved
I forgot every bit of pain and grief,
The flood of new felicity melted my heart,
And over-flowed my tearless eyes.
It seemed as it were in some lotus of
beauty were imprisoned my eyes,
Its fragrance enraptured my bosom,
And a thrill danced through
some sweetest, saddest sensation.
Life regained and forfeited again
The greedy bird pierced by an arrow
Besmeared with blood the altar of my temple
It could not wake up the stone-image,
Being thus disgraced, I leapt up like a
My poignant, blood-red griefs raised their heads,
With a thundering voice I rushed forth
on the blood-horse of Rebellion,
Against the Original Cause of my
Sorrow the Creator - across the clouds of the sky
Holding aloft the meteor flag of Destruction,
Kindling the sacrificial fire of animosity
and creating terror in a barren dreary desert!
What illusion is this! At intervals
Methought I heard a distant melody
of thy flute singing my name, Dear!
Peering into that far-off privacy
My eyes red with enmity became
Softened with tears of silent Sympathy.
Remembering that melody, remembering that call
discarded all my grief
I threw my grief into oblivion,
I do realize, thou art real-thou dost exist,
Neglected by me, thou dost still desire me,
heart and soul,
Thou art wreathing a garland for me
All by thyself,
In bashful privacy.
Thou art my wandering maid, my Queen,
Whom I wood in all my previous births!
The ocean of fire in me becomes a flower
in bloom and says with a smile
'I know, I know'.
Let life return to my dead soul.
From a-far am I summoned by her,
Without whom I know no peace and joy
in the wide world.
Who wails and laments like that?
Some body must have cried from behind
'Friend, thou art behind time' Poor fellow,
it is too late!
I didn't listen, I didn't mind obstruction,
To me alone came floating as it were
across the barriers of the previous
Birth the sad wailings of a forsaken Lalita.
I came running to thee
Martyrdom, the chariot of fire, all went
a-begging, the blood-red flag cried'
in the wilderness,
I indulged in a world of luxury and felicity
in secretly worshipping thee in my bosom.
To narrate the sequel I lack language today,
Today I have no heart, no tears, no strength,
What I say today is no song, it is but
a blood-red message of a bleeding
heart embalmed in tears.
Yet keep this little bit in mind, Dear,
that from door to door
Baffled I returned
And came to thee for thyself as the Summumbonum.
of my life,
In return for the whole world of my hope and
love and affection.
I worshipped thee, O my unkind Beloved.
Methought thou wouldst smilingly take
charge of one who was too wild for the world.
Thou wouldst tame the rebel of the universe
Quite easily by dint of love alone.
Methought for the glory of conquering the
unruly and unconquerable
the heart would be illumined with an
uncommon lustre, and then one day
Thou wouldst infuse celestial fire
into my arms
And become the embodied victory of this Rebel.
I harboured a hope, I had power, too,
to tear asunder the universe
And place the same under thy rosy feet
as a culled red lotus for an offering
But alas! Where art that 'thou'? Where
is that heart?
Where's that inalienable bond of attachment
between two hearts?
This 'thou' of today art not that 'thou' to be sure;
Today I find thou too art deceitful,
Thou too clammiest to be victorious by
means of falsehood!
Thou dost want to give me something,
retaining the remainder for another,
Unfortunate woman! I laugh out my soul!
Whom dost thou want to deceive?
In my bosom is ever awake the true Divinity,
His eyes are penetrating, they can see
into the heart of things,
And most minutely search its inmost recesses.
Infidelity fouls thy offering today, Dear,
Today thou dost try to deceive him
Whom one day didst thou give all thy heart and soul.
Thus I ponder, whose fault it was
That in thy spotless heart
Was kindled this death-provoking light
Yet I wonder is it true?
Thou too, a deceiving self?
If it were so, then O witch!
Let it be true, O wicked one!
Let full light show thy false world in bold relief.
Myself, thyself, the sun, moon, stars,
Let all be false,
Then, then, O alluring Phantom,
Give to thy contrived world a false gleam
As I look at thy face today,
Shame strikes me like a thunderbolt
As I remember how didst thou disregard
and neglect me, I do remember my shameless ness, too
Today I die before my death,
I feel, I must cry aloud, 'Open thy womb, Mother
And take into darkness thy neglected.
and dust-covered son from the light
of the day that throws his shame into
Yet many a time I came with hope
But alas! whenever I look at that face
Ah me! where's that worshipping damsel,
Where's that forlorn anchorite?
The same accustomed disregard I see,
And the same face devoid of expression.
There's no love lost, but a game
. to ride rough-shod over a heart
My bosom bursts under the load of disgrace!
Alas! What cruel game is this, between hearts!
These girls tread a bleeding rosy breast
Under their feet which seem dyed with lace.
They claim to be goddesses, they are greedy
and want to usurp the worship of all!
For them is not the single-minded devotion
of a lover, nor the complete surrender
of a worshipper
Hence, in the name of true devotion,
their timid heart is so awfully frightened,
Frailty, thy name is Woman! She does
Not like to nestle round one bosom.
She is a goddess, she is greedy, the
more she is worshipped, the more she
Her voracious mind
Is not gratified with one, one is
not sufficient for her,
She seeks many
My creator-Lord received from me not such
worship as was offered to her, yet she
I do realize, in the end, that there comes
encircling darkness as deep as death
as my companion,
So my forlorn heart out of the agony
of bitter pleasure thunders out:
Why then, O my mind, for whom shouldst
thou go lamenting abroad?
Blaze forth now, burning like the
terrible eyes of the god of Destruction,
Clap thy hands striking terror! Fan
the bloody flames of the eternal fire
of thy Rebellion!
Let the fiery Chariot beat thy
Hurl thy battle-axe and trident!
Storm this citadel of Falsehood!
Bring poison made of blood and .
nectar, seize death by the throat!
Let this false world under thy accursed
heavy agonizing wheel be crushed to powder.
In my throat there's today so much venom;
so much wrath
At intervals I recall
I did not love thee
Till I saw thy light red with passion
and embosomed in thy breast,
Thou hadst all the time
Sought my love and played the
Begga-maid at my door,
Till then a small neglect resulting in thy
outraged feelings of rebellion would
have caused a flood of tears to
arise in thine eyes, and agonized
thy soft and sweet heart.
For a small bit of affection, for a tiny caress
Thou didst many a night and many
a day keep by my side on sleepless pillow
I did not vouchsafe to look at thee.
Is this, then, by way of revenge? .
After conquering me by means of falsehood.
Thou hast heaped disgrace and deceit
upon my head and stopped my breath.
Today I wail from the lap of death
O Heartless! What false cruel game
is this with regard to a heart?
After a world of love, how canst
thou hurl so much disregard,
Such a blow is man's job,
I knew, we, men, alone could inflict such injuries
Methought, the gift of a spotless fair Nymph
Finds itself in a single delicious
Moment irrevocably in the bosom of her lover,
And thus she loses her separate entity.
for all Eternity,
It is a vain belief!
Zephyr only makes the flower blossom,
The honey-making bee comes and deflowers it
The former is a type of chivalry;
Love and not the body of the beloved
. is all-in-all to him!
The latter goes by Aromatic and knows
how to ravish the blooming tender
heart of the flower
Myself, the sound Wind a traveler
the end of at spring I depart
For that deathless undiscovered country'
.. of Eternal Night!
On this even of departure my eyes are
filled with tears of joy.
As I feel how happy am I today.
Thou hadst loved me before I loved thee
The soft crimson light of thy maiden heart
From kissed my breast and Jace.
From recollections today of that ardent
happiness a deluge of sensations sweet
inundates the broken heart of this hungry one!
Remembering that love and felicity of
those golden days
I feel my life is full - I sink in the
grave contented and blessed
Unsolicited, thou alone didst love me.
In happy remembrance of that piece of joy,
I with my death-black lips
print now a thousand full kisses upon thy
If one night, Dear,
While in sleep pillowed upon one's breast
Thou dost feel a pain in thy bosom without cause,
Take it that dear and gone the impediment!
None else shall come back
In wild ecstasy to kiss thy lotus-feet
Dead is he- the self-willed, discontented
But he is immortal - thy love hath
bestowed immortality upon the poet
Who like the deathless Nilkantha hath
Swallowed the ocean of pain.
[Translation: Abdul Hakim] .
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