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  • Published at 09:59 pm January 3rd, 2018
  • Last updated at 08:34 pm January 6th, 2018
(Translated by Sheikh Masud Kamal)   Maybe I am not a man; men are different, I suppose They can walk, they can sit, they move from room to room. Men are different; they run off when snakes bite.   Maybe I am not a man because I stand still all day, I stand like trees. I don't really feel when bitten by snakes, I don’t sing aloud after watching a movie, I haven't drunk ice-cold water in quite a while. It does surprise me that I’m still surviving, painting pictures, Wandering all morning and noon, living all day in my own way. It does surprise me.   Maybe I am not a man. If I were one I would have a pair of shoes, a home and shelter I would have a woman to comfort me at night And she would have portrayed the black-baby of mine In the canvas of her womb.   Maybe I am not a man. If I were one, why would I laugh at the sight of the sky? Men are different; they have hands, a nose And those splendid eyes – Lined with kohl, those eyes would keep the promise If they ever made one.   If I were a man, I would have a spot on my thigh And my eyes would contain signs of loving rage. If I were a man, I would have a father, a sister, a lover I would even have the fear of sudden death.   Maybe I am not a man If I were one, I could perhaps compose no more poems for you, Nor could I pass the whole night without you.   Men run off when bitten by snakes. But I don’t. I rather hold the snakes in a close embrace, Mistaking them for men!
Nirmalendu Goon is one of Bangladesh's leading poets. This poem was published in Premangshur Rokto Chai, Goon's first volume of poems published in 1970. Sheikh Masud Kamal is an author, translator and critic. He is now working as Joint Director in BIWTA.