Translated by Azfar Hussain
[For his help with my translations, I'm indebted to Arab activist Rashid Abdullah – one whom I met at Washington State University and one whose knowledge of Arabic language and literature has always fascinated me – translator]
If they rob my poetry of the flower
one of my four seasons will die.
If they rob my poetry of the presence of my love
two of those seasons will die.
If they rob my poetry of bread
three of them will die.
But if they rob my poetry of freedom
my entire year will die,
and I myself will die.
Together they were drawing the picture of a man.
Four children: a Turk, a Persian, an Arab and a Kurd.
The first child drew the man's head
The second one drew his hands and his shoulder
The third drew his legs and his torso
And the fourth child drew a gun on his shoulder.
Now and then
The nightmare tonight
was very dense, believe me:
a dining table,
a bottle of wine,
and three men without heads.
Good morning, Fakhani
[For me this poem interestingly echoes Langston Hughes]
Good Morning to roads and rifles
Good Morning to coloured berets and the sunlight pouring generously on them
Good Morning to you: the headquarters guard
to nocturnal guns and nocturnal secrets
to the beautiful fatigue glistening in your dark eyes
Good Morning to children in their uniforms
Good Morning to Umme Nabil
Good Morning to Abu Ali's coffee house
Good Morning to you who yearn with guns for the roaring of jet planes
Good Morning to janitors and garbage workers
to the radio announcer
to the young men tired of hackneyed metaphors and sterile debates
to the accumulated silences of Toledo
to the young man who handed me
a copy of a new radical views weekly twice
to the students passing their exams in cafes
Good Morning to revolutions erupting like fires and volcanoes
in the very first draft of a manifest to the young rebel wrote
in the middle of those bullets piercing the flesh of the people
Good Morning to the revolutionary in my heart: Good Morning
to my love, O my love,
Azfar Hussain is a Bangladeshi theorist, critic, academic, bilingual writer, poet, translator and activist. He is Associate Professor of Liberal Studies/Interdisciplinary Studies at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, and Vice-President of the Global Center for Advanced Studies (GCAS) and Honorary GCAS Professor of English, World Literature and Interdisciplinary Studies.