A translation of Al Mahmud's poem
(Translated by Rifat Munim)
A girl quite strange once said with a smile:
“Give me your heart, sailor
Please don’t drift away in the pirate’s ship.
Come step on the land
And embrace me in your salted arms instead.
“Come let us build a home on these corals,
Loving the smell of the soil.
Leave the waters, I beseech
Come let us build a home on this land instead.
“Don’t drift far apart, I beseech
To collect the prized stones!
Leave your dress so blue!
Your eyes are fraught with bubbles of the sea.
Is your heart colored as deeply as the skies?
Your mind is like those seagulls
Spreading wings over the waves!
(A giant palm tree from some remote mountain
Swayed its leaves and whispered right into my ear:
“Your mind is like those seagulls
Don’t you ever fold your wings!
Don’t you ever write your name on the sands of this shore!”)
I called the girl who came as in a dream
“Listen girl, drifting far away off the shore
I will touch the bottom of the sea!
Why do you care so much about the sand on these shores?
Come dive into the waters instead!
Together we’ll swim and
Together we’ll collect the prized stones!
“This heart, if you must know, is
Given to the music of the sea!
Typhoons we saw and countless storms we survived
Deep into the sea!
Those pirates will curse me for sure
Can’t you at all fathom my heart?
I am, after all, a pirate by birth!”
Rifat Munim is literary editor, Dhaka Tribune.