Now that it's August, cry out in sorrow Bengalis!
I know you weren't allowed to mourn for a long, long time
I know, hapless Bengalis, you weren't able to cry at all
For twenty-one long years, but you can do so now!
Cry your hearts out now for the time to mourn has come
Clear the debt of sorrow you've piled up for over two decades
In tears that can flow completely freely now!
With the tears of pent-up passion released from your hearts
Let Bengal's delta be flooded and swept away.
Most people have no idea how striking shared tears
Can look on them. Let everyone know that truth now.
Like crickets chirping soulfully across earth
Let your clamorous cries pervade and overwhelm it.
Cry out soulfully, making earth quiver with your cries!
Citizens of an ill-fated country shorn of happiness
Cry out now like a hungry baby deprived of milk
Cry out now like a lonely sister grieving for a lost brother
Cry out now like a dear daughter wailing for her dead father
Cry out now like poor people who've lost all in ruinous floods
Cry out now like a mother who has just birthed a still-born child
Cry out now like a wailing old man who has just buried his own son,
Returned home, and is flailing helplessly about on his courtyard floor.
You couldn't mourn when you wanted to but cry out now
And let go of your pent up and till now impotent anger and pain!
After twenty-one years the sun called Mujib has burst through
Clouds and now blazes in Bengal's skies again. Not in celebration
But with funeral cries greet him now. Cry, Bengalis, cry!
Like the immaculate juice oozing out of an uprooted baat tree
Let tears ooze out of your eyes and flow down your face
Like the warm juice of a date palm tree that has been tapped
Let the tears pent up in your bosom trickle down to its earthly urn.
Twenty-one years have gone by and August has come again
August is the cruelest month
August is the month of mourning, soaked in sin, harsh, cruel
Free it from its sins with overflowing tears!
Fakrul Alam has recently retired as Professor of English from the University of Dhaka. Currently, he is the Consulting Editor of The Daily Star Literature pages.