Do not hurt the poet

 

Do not hurt the poet, if you hurt him he shall paint his sorrow in bold letters on land, water, air and

the deep blue sky. The poet shrouds his loneliness from head to foot like a coffin, walks alone

on footpaths, the rooftops of houses, floats around beyond the horizon,

approaches the moon, scatters stars here and there like trifling objects.

Do not hurt him, do not turn him away from your doorstep.

If you send him away, the stars and the moon shall go on strike,

the milky way shall fall off under a radioactive spell and the flowers shall disappear in a moment.

 

Often he stands leaning against a street-side lamppost

almost hidden from view, sometimes he sits in a restaurant surrounded by

vast emptiness, face to face with friendless desolation, he turns into

desolation himself. Off and on he digs up street crossings to bring out

a secret fountain and provide a handful of water to some thirsty traveler.

And then at times the exquisite grove of his brains becomes the playground of hide and seek and

cops and murderers.

 

In the middle of the night he quietly leaves some flowers at the door of each house

without speaking a word to anyone.

At the poets’ gatherings in the capital or at suburbs

he bathes in the bright moonlight of a few dozen lines

and then fixing his eyes on his very own bay-window, he thinks

of trading with the deep blue sky, wondering how long more

shall the remote infinity go on winking at him

and make him ramble around in helplessness.

 

The spirited prince of the poets’ gathering is bare and helpless

when faced with the reality of love!

Do not hurt the poet, hidden behind his dreams let him recite intensely

about stones, birds’ breasts, trees, exquisite eyes, skin,

let him walk along a shaded path, let him swim in the air all alone,

or let him stay all by himself in a crowd. Let him be transformed every day

again and again. With an open heart he has entrusted his life to others

in many ways. Do not hurt the poet, let him find his exclusive sorrow to get hurt on his own.

 

Shamsur Rahman
tr. from the Bengali by Shankar Sen