Eve oh Eve
Why wouldn’t Eve have eaten of the fruit?
Didn’t she have a hand to reach out with,
Fingers with which to make a fist?
Didn’t Eve have a stomach for feeling hunger,
A tongue for feeling thirst,
A heart with which to love?
Well, then, why wouldn’t Eve have eaten of the fruit?
Why would she merely have suppressed her wishes,
Regulated her steps,
Subdued her thirst?
Why would she have been so compelled
To keep Adam moving around in the Garden of Eden all their lives?
Because Eve did eat of the fruit,
There is sky and earth.
Because she has eaten,
There are moon, sun, rivers, seas,
Because she has eaten, trees, plans and vines.
because Eve has eaten of the fruit
there is joy, because she has eaten there is joy.
Eating of the fruit, Eve made a heaven of the earth.
Eve, if you get hold of the fruit
don’t ever refrain from eating
Let the pavilions of religion
be ground to bits,
let the bricks of temples, mosques, guruduaras, churches
be burned in blind fire,
and upon those heaps of destruction
let lovely flower gardens grow, spreading their fragrance.
let children’s schools and study halls grow.
For the welfare of humanity, now let prayer halls
be turned into hospitals, orphanages, universities,
Now let prayer halls become academies of art, fine art centers,
scientific research institutes.
Now let prayer halls be turned to golden rice fields
in the radiant dawn,
Open fields, rivers, restless seas.
From now on, let religion’s other name be humanity.
They have made Noorjahan stand in a hole in the courtyard.
There she stands submerged to her waist, her head hanging.
They’re throwing stones at Noorjahan,
stones that are striking my body.
I feel them on my head, forehead, chest, back,
and I hear laughing, shouts of abuse.
Noorjahan’s fractured forehead pours out blood, mine also.
Noorjahan’s eyes have burst, mine also.
Noorjahan’s nose has been smashed, mine also.
Noorjahan’s torn breast and heart have been pierced, mine also.
Are these stones not striking you?
They’re laughing aloud, laughing and stroking their beards.
Even their caps, stuck to their heads, are shaking with laughter.
They’re laughing and swinging their walking sticks.
From the quiver of their cruel eyes,
Arrows speed to pierce her body,
My body also.
Are these arrows not piercing your body?
THE GAME IN REVERSE
The other day in Ramna park I saw a boy buying a girl.
I‘d really like to buy a boy for five or ten taka,
a clean-shaven boy, with a fresh shirt, combed and parted hair,
a boy on the park bench, or standing on the main road
In a curvaceous pose.
I’d like to grab the boy by his collar
and pull him up into a rickshaw –
tickling his neck and belly, I ‘d make him giggle;
bringing him home, I’d give him a sound thrashing
with high-heeled shoes, then throw him out –
‘”Get lost, bastard!”
Sticking bandages on his forehead,
he would doze on the sidewalks at dawn,
Mangy dogs would lick at the yellow pus
oozing out of the ulcers in his groin.
Seeing them, the girls would laugh with their tingling sound
of glass bangles breaking.
I really want to buy me a boy,
a fresh, nubile boy with a hairy chest –
I’ll buy a boy and rough him up all over.
Kicking him hard on his shriveled balls,
I’ll shout, “Get lost, bastard!”
Was a poet ever kept in house arrest?
Was a poet ever kept in house arrest?
May be she has been a subject of politicking
True she caused clashes once in a while
May be an arson, too.
But no, a poet was never taken to safe custody.
This India, this civilization, this 21st century
They all had welcomed the poet
Ignoring its childish religionism, its merciless politics.
But today, the poet languishes in house arrest.
She has done no offense.
Having been deprived of the view of the sky
No longer she can tell how does the sky look like;
Deprived of the sight of men, no longer can she say how are folks today.
They have left leaving a world of darkness before the poet
They won’t return ever, they informed.
Today for the one hundred and fiftieth day, the poet languishes in safe custody
For one hundred and fifty days the poet is unaware
If this earth yet hosts any creature with a human soul
For one hundred and fifty days the poet is unsure
If she is alive or dead.
Whom she will approach to ask back these days for?
Facing darkness the poet ponders
Who will restore sunrays into her life?
Who is there to bring her back the song of life?
O man, tell me, all who suffered in house arrest
Most of them were poets, a big consolation will that be,
It will relieve the burden of my aloneness.
(Translated by Faizul Latif Chowdhury)