A poem about the Language Movement martyrs
The twenty first of February!
Let’s carry the history of those
Who gifted us the harvest of life dancing on the stalk of death.
A nation oppressed by a reign of terror
Is amazed to see that the night is suddenly over,
Those who brought the light of dawn with their sacrificial blood—
Let’s contain their pride.
Heart throbs in chest devoid of language
Barely taps out a spirited rhythm:
Those who gave us the right to use that language with their lives—
Let’s hold them in veneration.
The shore of our timid life is now inundated with a high tide
Blessed are we because our brothers
Walked down the path of self-immolation
Where else in history would you find a tale like this?
Those who with their own lives
threaded millions of lives along
into the harmony of an identical melody
We have absorbed them into our souls.
Today’s scripts will fade away
Yet this nation will hold their memories dear,
Waking up in this morn,
People of this country will take this oath:
The tear-inducing, blood-welling,
Memory-laden twenty-first of February is upon us again,
The twenty-first of February infusing wild, unbounded energy
Into the doubt-ridden, lifeless souls of ours.
(Translated by Arts & Letters. Reprinted from DT archive)