What A Country! - Poem by Taslima Nasrin
For more than an era,
my Country relished the pains I suffer,
watching my banishment in alien lands.
When the vision is blurred by distance,
they spy me through the hole of a binocular,
and roar in peels of laughter;
one forty million of them relish my own holocaust.
Never had my country been like this before,
She had something called Heart,
teeming with humanity.
Now she ceases to be the country I knew.
Now she is all some decrepit rivers only,
some hamlets and towns,
here and there some vegetations;
Some houses, markets and on the grey meadows,
some people who just resemble humans.
Once my country throbbed with life,
My countrymen recited poems.
Now none thinks twice before banishing a poet,
Now at dead of night, the whole country feel free to send a poet to the gallows;
one hundred and fifty million of them,
derive a lucretian pleasure
out of a poet's execution.
Once the country knew how to love.
Now She has learnt violence and frowning.
Sharp swords at her disposal,deadly weapons
tucked into her waist, fatal explosives in hand,
no longer can She sing a song.
Over an age, in search of a country,
I've been ransacking the globe;
Without a wink of sleep, decade after decade,
In my maddening pursuit of a country.
Reaching on the edge of my own country,
I wait with arms outstretched for her.
Alack! I've heard them say:
If my country ever gets me in her grip,
She'll build my sepulchre there.
[Translated by Sujal Bhattacharya]
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