A poem by Belal Chowdhury in Rifat Munim's translation
Abruptly one day
did I enter this forest;
like someone who, in spite of himself,
flips through the thousand pages a book,
not reading it and yet going through the motions
because his indolence wouldn’t let him
get up and close the book and put it back.
Far behind this uninterrupted silence in the forest,
I left the human settlements;
people’s voices do not reach here
even though our deafness is bigger than the number of people;
the forest is like a distant place, filled with darkness
and prized mountains
—Aren’t we even more incomprehensible and inaccessible than that?
Piled up is firewood
while a charming, cold darkness is enveloping the forest
but this time, come what may
I have to flow out
through all the exit routes that I can find.
Rifat Munim is literary editor, Dhaka Tribune.