Three Songs: Kazi Nazrul Islam

Mohammad Shafiqul Islam translates three of Nazrul's famous verses for the birth anniversary of Kazi Nazrul Islam, born on May 24, 1899
Design: Maisha Syeda

A wounded bird

Like a wounded bird, my songs

tumble down at your feet, my love.

Hold in your heart this songbird

wounded with an arrow of love.

At your feet shall I embrace death,

O the peerless beauty, my love.

On lyrical wings, he was flying in the sky,

why did you pierce him with an arrow in the eye?

From his dying voice,

such a tender tune gushes forth!

In the midst of intense agonies,

ambrosia dribbles from my melancholic notes.

The strange bird

In what tune do you sing, O strange bird!

It's sweet wine, not tune—

O Saki strewing a mellow strain.

Sitting by the window,

why, with this agonizing melancholy,

do you wake me every day

calling out so dolefully?

At your tune weeps the dawn,

embracing the sinking moon.

Dews as if tears roll down

soaking the descending dawn sky.

I cannot stay home

for my heart's restlessness.

I cannot keep my mind on work,

with the eyes rife in tears.

Across pathways 

In a trice if we ever meet across pathways,

lay your eyes on mine

as you'd do in the past—

across pathways, my love.

That moment if you feel to weep,

don't pretend to hide your tears.

Once more call me with summer name

that you'd do with in the past, my love.

Your loved one beside you

will be my friend too—don't worry.

I'll implore him to love you

more than I do, my love.

If you get hurt, losing your love,

the distressed and forlorn me,

quietly shall I depart.

A thorn on the way I won't stand—

so forsake me and be happy, my love.

In a trice if we ever meet across pathways…


Mohammad Shafiqul Islam is a poet, translator, and academic, and Professor of English literature at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh. Email: [email protected]