Winter 2001


Hassan Al Abdullah


Slicing off a piece from the body of the night,
And examining it from top to bottom, one may find
That the fearful darkness does not have its heart,
Backbone and sinew.  It does not even have the feelings
Of hardship in the stomach and liver, nor does it try to elicit
The past, digging for memories to put them
On its neck and then sits to cry like a human.

Spreading the dust on each and every cell of the century
The darkness smiles with its irritating, ugly teeth.
It tears off applied physics; setting its feet on math's
Head, shows its anger in the street.  It's violent, cruel, hypocrite-
Destroys the truthfulness with its poisonous act.  Cutting its
Edge with the aid of a sharp blade, I finally have discovered that
The darkness also holds some light, love and dreams of future.

Translated from the Bengali by the poet

HASSAN AL ABDULLAH is the author of five books of poetry in Bengali, a novel, and a textbook on Bengali rhetoric and prosody.  He is the editor of Shabdaguchha, a journal of Bengali Poetry, published in New York.  He teaches high school mathematics for the NYC Board of Education.  His latest book, Breath of Bengal, a bilingual edition, translated by Nazrul Islam Naz--the first in a Bengali Poetry Series--was published in 2000 by Cross-Cultural Communications.


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