Saturday, June 22, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Poor man eating

Update : 06 Jul 2017, 07:01 PM
Were I a painter I am sure My signature theme would be The title of this poem. The sun races to the zenith, Imperious as an oriental autocrat. The poor man crouches In imitation Tommy Hilfiger rags In the dwindling shade Of a denuded tree. His hands cradle A bowl of fired earth– It could be an Ouija board To conjure up goodies, Courtesy of the weak of conscience. And when they come, How he falls to it! Eyes focused in mystic concentration, Left arm protectively around The pile of comestibles, As right hand shovels them Into an eager mouth. I would paint the scene Over and over In luscious oil: The painted proliferation Might work magic, Converting seeming impossibility Into palpable reality: All the world’s poor Men and women Gathered as if on the mythic day Of final reckoning, On this lowly earth, Devouring earthly fare: O the gods would come down To bless and share! (Reprinted with permission)
Kaiser Haq is Bangladesh's biggest English language poet. His poetry collections include Pariah and Other Poems (Bengal Lights Books 2013), Starting Lines (Dhaka 1978), A Little Ado (Dhaka 1978), A Happy Farewell (Dhaka: UPL 1994), Black Orchid (London: Aark Arts 1996), The Logopathic Reviewer’s Song (Dhaka: UPL and London: Aark Arts 2002).He has edited an anthology, Contemporary Indian Poetry (Ohio State University Press 1990) and translated the Selected Poems of Shamsur Rahman (Dhaka: BRAC 1985); a novel by Rabindranath Tagore, Quartet (Heinemann Asian Writers Series, 1993); and an eighteenth century travel narrative, The Wonders of Vilayet (Leeds: Peepal Tree 2002). He is represented in such anthologies as the Arnold Anthology of Postcolonial Literature in English. Recent works include translation of a novel by Nasreen Jahan, The Woman Who Flew (Penguin India); the poetry collections: Published in the Streets of Dhaka: collected poems (UPL, Dhaka); Combien de Bouddhas, a bilingual poetry selection with French translators by Olivier Litvine (Editions Caracteres, Paris) and the retold Bengali epic: The Triumph of the Snake Goddess (Harvard University Press).
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