Kazi Nazrul Islam was a Bangladeshi poet, writer and musician who was later recognized as the national poet of the country.
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Famous Kazi Nazrul Islam Poems
The earth has cloaked the folds of the horizon
with its mud-dyed, faded grey anchal
of deep pathos.
out of some depth of the clouds, as though
towards some inviting home
lit by evening lamp.
Through the sunset-dim casement of the sky
which lovelorn bride of endless time
casts her fearful eyes
in the direction of sunrise
having lit her golden lamp
perhaps waiting for her love
with a promise to return.
The sighs making the realm of sunset
heavy with cloud and vapour.
In the sad eyes of the
ever-waiting primordially tragic maiden
in the lamplight brought at the doorway
to light up her love’s path
falls the shadow of Mother Earth.
The cry of pity condenses
in the downward looking still horizon.
Timeless pains of the eternally suffering Mother Earth
pours down through the ages perhaps
in this late autumn.
That load of accumulated pains
lies prostrate, its face buried
the fragrance of pain, as though,
weeps in muted sorrow
in such quiet serene evening.
Slowly descends Night
spreading around her dust-smeared unkempt tresses
the evening star sinks
day’s configuration melts away.
Amid this, for no reason, alas
the cloud of pain hovers in my two eyes.
In my heart echo
the cries of nought
and some pining lover wails
‘Everything is empty, everything
the sky, earth, this evening
the compassion of the universe
can spare for you no tears.’
Hearing this I am reminded
how many times I visited the temple
and like the contemptible street beggar
made supplications for divine grace.
‘Open the door O worshipper
at your door has arrived a suppliant.’
The door was opened
I saw the god in the shrine
I made an offering of blood and tears
The god spoke no words.
Oh, these are the eyes
that spared for me no tears,
I lament, what love-bereft
shrine of god it is,
bare of all compassion.
O fatuous ones! Where are the gods!
From them one seeks love!
Like a volcano coming to the desert
and pleading for jets of water.
In the houses around me
there is so much worshipping.
Seeing this my love-sick heart weeps
and looks back again and again
and humiliated, it comes back
I am afraid someone may laugh
over my foolish earnestness.
The gods have laughter, not tears.
O my heart, neglected you are through the ages
come let us beat a retreat.
This evening I feel
there is beyond this emptiness
a greater emptiness
in this heart of mine,
the heart that was disdainfully ignored
by the gods.
That’s why perhaps my tortured love
is as destructive as it is.
These arms shall never embrace
The rejected love of mine is not a garland
but naked lance.
[Original: Bela sheshe, Translation: Zakeria Shirazi]
Enamoured Of Self
I look for her
Who is closer to me than my own self.
I seem to hear her footsteps
In my burning desire.
Like the skylark, in unquenched thirst,
She pines for water in the parched
Sky of my mind
Like the chakor she steals into my dream
In soft, moon-lit night.
In the green foliage of my mind
I see her as the dark benevolent cloud..
In the sharp lightning-flash I find
Her as thunders roar aloud.
I sit in the bower I made
And garland my beloved;
But suddenly with a start I wake
And find it, alas, around my own neck.
[Translation: Kabir Chowdhury]
My Distant Friend
To which lonesome abode do you beckon me
again and again, my friend!
My roadside home, full of sorrows,
is blown up by the storm every now and then
and so, made homeless, I roam around.
The haunting tune of your flute
loosens all ties.
That’s how I am a wayfarer
searching round and round
farther and farther afield
for the roadside bride.
you get jealous for the slightest cause,
that’s why you never stop by the wayside.
your pains wring my heart.
To make a home by the wayside
your eyes become tearful.
The scarf sweeps the wet grass.
Your doleful tune, friend,
draws up sighs
and moistens the eyes.
[Translation: Zakeria Shirazi]
The Bird Pierced By An Arrow
O bird! deprived of nest, and pierced
by an arrow in thy tender bosom!
How and where should I keep thee
Where, tell me where dost thou feel pain?
Blinded by tears I fail to see anything…..
O my treasure! Thou shouldst not
It is not within my powers to allay the pain
a my Bird pierced in the tender bosom
by an arrow!
How and where may I keep thee under protection?
With a poisoned arrow in thy bosom
dost thou now fall and flutter?
Who led thee, alas, to the door of this
Dost thou think that relief of thy pain
lies concealed in my abode?
O my Bird with an arrow imbedded
in the tender bosom!
How and where may I give thee protection?
Alas! This is no fit place for thy relief!
Clouds thunder, winds howl, my cottage trembles
My lamp is extinguished and doors are broken by storms,
The endless wails of the night of sorrow roar
from time to time in the bosom
O my Bird with an arrow embedded,
in the tender bosom,
Amid such inclement weather where
may I keep thee concealed?
My child, death embraces him who
comes to this powerless woman’s
door calling her ‘mother’!
I lose my ‘treasure as many times
as I get it
So my heart trembles in fear last
thou shouldst forsake me
O my lost treasure! O my Bird!
How and where may protect thee?
O my Paradise regained!
I do at once recognize thee, let me hold
thee on my breast for some time
Others may not take thee on their
Lap seeing thy bosom pierced by an arrow,
But how can thy ever-loving Mother
forsake thee lest she lose thee?
O my Bird with an arrow embedded in the tender
How and where may I harbour thee?
This is indeed thy ever known love!
Thou art no gust of old to me.
Thou hast adorned this house from
time to time under different names.
Let thy remaining days, my Child.
repose in this mother’s breast
Can one who was thy mother at thy
creation keep thee away from her heart?
To lose thee? O my fond Child!
That is but an illusion! .
[Translation: Abdul Hakim]
You captives of hunger, arise.
You harassed, down-trodden masses,
Spell thunder at the oppressors –
The stirred voices of the sufferers cry.
A new world reborn is soon to dawn.
These fetters of ancient scriptures
Wrought this utter ruin;
Come, let us break in,
Shattering the devil’s dungeon.
Ye, hapless masses, arise,
So that no ‘one beneath
The feet of others lies.
On a new foundation
A young world shall dawn.
Listen, you tyrant!
Listen, you rich!
Through the war,
We shall recover
With the unity of sufferers
All the world over.
[Translation: Syed Mujibul Huq]
Your luxury cars are plying through the streets
And your big ships are cruising Over the Oceans.
The fast steam engines are running on railways,
The country is filled with plants and machinery:
Can you tell me whose contributions are all these?
With whose blood are your buildings
Painted red? Dismantle them and you’ll find
On each piece of brick vividly written the names.
You may not know; but each and
Every grain of dust is aware of it,
The meaning of those roads, vessels, trains,
And of those decorative palaces.
The good days are coming soon:
Day after day your debts are being inflated
You must pay back those heavy debts.
Those who with hard labour broke the rugged hills
With hammer, shovel and pick-axe,
Their bones today are strewn ‘on either side
Of those very roads. Those who, in order to render
You service, became day-labourers.
Those who covered their cherished body with dust
Only to carry you and your belongings,
They are indeed the real human beings,
they are the saints.
I sing their ‘inner voice’ through my songs.
Marching over their painful suffering breasts
The New Revolution will raise its new head.
You are reclining at ease
On the top of the third floor,
While we are rotting at the bottom;
Still you love to be
Addressed as ‘My Lord’?
Absurd! That cannot be! !
The helm of this world must remain under
Those, whose mind and soul are soaked with
Sweet love for the motherland;
Those who journeyed with others through
The tiresome roads and covered their
Feet with dust; I shall pick up
That very dust from their feet and put it
on my head as a holy sacred offering.
Smeared with the blood of the pain stricken
Suffering humanity of the world
the new sun of the new Dawn is rising
above the horizon.
Break open today those ugly rusty doors
Of your narrow congested heart;
Take off those artificial garments of yours
Which look unnatural like coloured leather.
Look at the concentrated condensed air
Appearing deep blue in the sky,
Let them enter free in a frolicsome way
direct into your inner hearts –
Unlock all those obstructing clutches!
Let the entire blue Heaven fall down in our midst,
Let the moon, the sun and the stars shower on us.
Let all people of all times
and all climes come together
And stand up at the same confluence to listen to
The anthem of great unity under one flag-
If you torment here a single soul
The pain resounds in a crescendo
In the aggrieved hearts of all others.
Insult to a single person here means
Humiliating the whole of humanity
An insult to all of us.
Today is the day of upheaval
Against the heart-rending agony and pain
Of the great Human-beings of the world.
[Translation: Amir Hossain Chowdhury]
Thy forlorn child covered with the dust
of this Earth doth cry for redress,..
Give him a reply, Lord, the Original Father!
With the sad light of my eyes I wander
about Thy Creation.,
The little I see fills me with wonder
and my whole heart becomes full to the brim
So Good art Thou? So much dost
Thou love? So Sublime art Thou?
God, O god?
How beautiful is Thy Creation
How noble is it, Father’?
Yet sitting at the head of the Creation
dost Thou weep like an anxious
Mother! It seems as if Thou hast
no rest, no happiness!
Now destroying and creating, now
creating and destroying and
anxious ever, ever and ever –
Thou hast covered the sky with a canopy
of diamond – lest our eyes should be
troubled by the heat of the sun
The breeze doth blow to cool our body
tormented by the sun,
Lord, 0 Lord!
The sun, moon and stars, at Dawn and
Dusk, proclaim Thy Ordinance ~
‘This Day and Night, Sky and Air are
meant for no particular individuals
the wealth of this world –
Fragrant flowers, sweet ambrosial
fruits, balmy earth, necter-like
water, Birds’ Songs, –
Each and all of them is and are
the common heritage of all mankind,
and this is Divine ‘Firman’-
God, O God! It was Thy Divine Will to create Men
with white or yellow or black complexion,
We are black and Thou knowest
well that it is no disgrace
Thou hast not said that in the white
Island alone, the sun and moon will
shine and the white nation dominate
all the rest; it is indeed not Thy Decree!
Thy own Children today transgress Thy
Lord, O lord!
Thy gift of dust and earth went to
Earth, Thy Youngest daughter
With that she hoids a cup of milk
to her children.
Spreading the wings like a Peacock
Her joy doth go round –
Her children are not happy, they are
greedy, they are Satanic!
Actuated by animosity they cut
one another, they plant barriers everyday.
God, O God!
Ousting Thee from Thy Seat there
doth sit the greedy,
His avarice hath converted the
fruitful luxuriant Earth into
a barren, dreary desert.
Seated on a throne of Sand, the King
of a day pursues a relentless,
repressive policy, which doth but
make his own throne give way
and prepare a grave yard!
By snatching away food from the
mouth of a brother, he becomes a hero.
O Lord, O Lord!
They call him ‘Mohajan’ who sucks
like the leech the blood of people,
They are not landholders who look
after the lands like their children,
Those who set not their foot on earth
become the owners of earth –
the more one is a hypocrite, the more
a cheat, the greater is one’s influence!
Every day the butcher makes a new
knife and parades his scientific intention.
God, a God!
The greatness of a nation is measured by
the extent of its resources for unlawful war,
Seven great warriors killed a boy
and the shameless heroes brag of it!
O Shame! Thy divine disc is today
overpowered by the silver-wheel of
a commercial class!
O Thou Most Glorious! Why dost Thou
put up with such wrong! The suffering
humanity can bear no more, this
injustice shall not be tolerated’
Lord, a Lord!
Hark, the war-cry on all sides!
There’s no fear! From the mouth of
the dying comet the cry
‘Kill, Kill! ‘
Whatever blood was there has been
sucked; let the bloodless body
now fight with bones –
The bones that a hundred centuries
Could not smash now sing aloud
‘Three cheers for suffering humanity,
Hip, Hip, Hurrah! ! !
Three cheers for New order,
Hip, Hip, Hurrah! ! !
Victory to Thee, a Lord!
This gift of Thine, this multitudinous
Earth we all will enjoy,
There’s a flesh and blood relation between
this Earth and the day of Creation’
With fresh flowers and fruits in both hands
the Earth goes round every house,
Who is such a robber as will steal
the paddy of my granary?
In the food of my hunger I feel
the fragrance of my life –
After all, O God!
Who are they that fly airplanes and
hurl bombs from the sky from which
descents Thy gift in the shape of
light and rain?
Who do now convert the serene sky
and air into a wilderness of terror?
Whose cannons like sentinels surround
and guard Thy limitless space?
Will truth not be free of the demon?
Is there no remedy?
God, O God!
Whose fetters corrode the God-gifted
hands’? Whose tyrannical laws ban
my freedom of movement? Subject
to hunger and thirst, I own a life,
I too am a man, I too am sublime!
This tongue of mine is under my control,
this straight neck, too! I have
broken the fetters of my mind, I
am hurt by the fetters of my hands now,
After all, O God!
The ever-humbled now raise their heads
high into the sky, the-imprisoned
shatter their chains to pieces and
pull down the prison walls!
After long, today they like the sky,
air and light of Heaven,
The captive now understand that
liberty is sweeter than life. In spontaneous
notes one voice rises in the liberated
world – ‘Victory to suffering humanity,
Victory to the New campaign,
Victory to the New order! ‘
[Translation: Abdul Hakim]
I sing of Equality –
Sinners of all grades are all my sisters
In this valley of sin, who is there among
men and women that hath not committed a sin?
I am but an abominable person; – the
pilot of sinners sunk in the quagmire of sin.
Heaven itself is tottering under the weight
of the sin of 330 million gods.
The demons enter Heaven through
the sinful path of the gods,
from Adam down to this Nazrul
all haven, more or less, butchered virtue
with the knife of sin.
The world is a domain of sin –
Half of it is God, the other half is satan!
Listen, a fanatics! Before counting
another’s sins, count thy own!
Out of the quagmire of sin growth virtue
like a lotus; in every flower there’s sin.
This beautiful world is full of mere deceit and curse.
Unable to get rid of them sage after
Sage pledged their heart and soul
to.virtue, and their body to vice.
Friend, I have said no untruth,
Begin with Brahma, Bishnu, Siva and
come downward gradually-
Leave aside Men, be they devotees, saints,
Sages or hermits –
Their souls are self-denying ascetics,
their bodies are self-indulgent hedonists!
This world is a caravanserai of vice,
Here on the back of Religion’s Ass the
bag of virtue is empty
Here all are equally sinful.
By the measure of our sin we measure another’s sin.
If thou dost really run a godly race,
why such ample ceremony of outward show?
Putting on a cap and keeping a tuft of
hair on head thou dost seem to proclaim
that thou art not a sinner
If not a sinner, why such extravagant
parade of trade Mark’?
The culprit has concealed himself in the
official costume of a Police officer!
Friend, let me tell thee a funny story,
Once Angels sinless assembled at a certain
meeting of Heaven were finding fault
with the dispensation of God as follows:
‘Day and Night and Night and Day, we
Worship Him and attend his pleasure,
Yet He does not seem well-pleased –
all His boundless love and mercy flows
for mankind who are made of clay
and earth and are sunk in sin!
All-knowing God knew it and addressed
them smiling -‘Children of humble dust
they are with very frail minds,
In every flower on earth there’s pain
in the eyes, on the lips, there’s curse,
in the sandal wood there’s a burning
desire, in the moon a thirst for kisses!
There in the eyes of a maiden is collyrium,
On the waist a silver chain, on the
margin of the feet a red juice of a
particular tree, on the lips a red
hue of chewed betel, cupid himself
is a captive of these charms! A
beautiful Satan with vigilant eyes
guards the door, in every breast
there’s a quiver of flowers,
and everywhere the eyes send arrows
of flowers! ‘
Angels all said, ‘ lord, Let us see the
Earth and see how flowers blossom
there at whose head lies decrepitude and death.’
Said God, – ‘ Let two among you
decidedly superior to the rest go to
the earth and know the awful
nature of its temptation.’
Haroot and Maroot – the glory
of the Angels as the Sun and the Moon
in the sky -came down into human
habitation, and became partners of the
dust-be-decked Earth! Here some
spell nestles round every human shape
and everywhere is spread a snare,
in the water of the Lotus-Lake, one
moon of the sky has become seven hundred
Moons! Sound, Smell, colour have
Set up a magic noose; here on
every bank laughter overflows the
pitchers of water, and in fields
and meadows are heard the
sweetest saddest songs
Soon was softened the heart of
the Angecls of fire with the juice of Earth,
the amorous looks of carp-like eyes
leave their mark on the bosom
Waving her Ghaghri
with a small pitcher of water on
her waist goes the artful, amorous Zohora –
The Ambassadors of Heaven were
captivated by that beauty., and
surrendered themselves at her rosy feet.
drowned in the nectar of her lips like Anar-juice
The earthen pot of water was intoxicated
with the blood-red juice of grapes.
Away, away was swept the four
walls of self-restraint, the citadel
was bathered, to their heart’s content
They drank the wine of Earth with
their flowery lips.
In Heaven God addressed all the
Angels smilingly as follows:
‘See what has been done to Haroot
and Maroot by the wily Earth!
A damsel has a fatal gift of
smell there, one speechless
message of her eyes, friends, is
enough to set at naught the
merits of the great penance
of a million ages!
Nymph Earth is possessed of eternal
Youth, Her Lord is Cupid – not Siva!
[Translation: Sajed Kamal]
The Poet’s Queen
You love me and so I am a poet.
My present form – that’s the image of your loving.
The sky, the wind, the morning light
the evening star of the parting day
the scarlet sun of the east –
they all caress me with the warmth of intimacy
and love me because you love me.
My own self lay enwrapped in your love
your sudden advent heralded a new hope for me.
You steal into my presence
and play a melody upon my lance
transmuted into a flute,
all the ceremony of my worship
is the oblation for your soul.
My verses of triumph
are the garlands, all for you.
My present form –
that’s the image of your loving.
[Translation: Zakeria Shirazi]
The forlorn traveller muses
At the end of the day
He has to traverse
A long long way.
‘Come home’ the evening
Beckons to all.
No, not you
This is not your call.
The traveller makes the road
His own abode.
The forlorn traveller ponders,
Who has need for him,
The shadow of the forest
With love so deep,
On the hair of the nymph.
To be lured into
The realm of clouds,
From the mountain
Descends the fountain.
With the light,
Comes the thought
Of the lovely night
And a mysterious fear of joy hides
In the heart of the bride.
The lonely singer
Will now sing
The song of solitute.
Suddenly he loses the way
In the dark dungeon
Of mysterious gloom,
His longing now wails
In the distant stars.
Will he find the path ever?
Ponders the forlorn traveller.
[Translation: Syed Mujibul Huq]
When I shall be no more
You will suffer, I promise,
Cursed, friendless and alone.
Then you will ask the evening star about me,
And with my picture engrave, fin your heart
Will roam through forests and seas
And around hills and dales,
Weeping many a desolate tear.
Then you will realise, my dear,
Then you will search for me desperately
Far and near.
When your soul will tremble
At some one’s familiar touch,
And your heart will gladden
Imagining my presence by your bed,
You will suddenly wake up with a start
From your sleep,
And discover with a freezing heart
That it was nothing but an empty dream.
With eager arms spread
You will advance to embrace,
But there will be no trace of me.
Instead, you will meet
An emptiness, dull and dreary.
In anguish you will close your eyes,
Then my darling will you realise.
Trying to sing
You will find your voice choked with tears.
And, all around, people will whisper
About the song, taught by that stranger,
And then you will remember me,
And the fond caresses I bestowed on you.
Thinking of those nights
Your hard and glittering eyes
Will overflow with brimming tears
Then will you regret your past deceptions,
Then will you realise the pang of separation.
When your garden will grow fragrant
With daisies, jasmine and ivy bowers
You will suddenly think of my grave
Covered with snow-white flowers,
And your fingers, busy in making a garland
Will suddenly grow1hesitant and numb.
Your smiling face will turn pale and wan,
And tears will swim in your eyes,
Then, my dear, will you realise.
Autumn wind will come again,
And the lovely dewy nights will reappear
All, all will remain
Save this traveller, bound for the eternal night.
Friends will gather by your side.
And the love will take you in his arms,
But suddenly his touch
Will bring to your mind
The touch of another one.
Turning the joyous moment poisonous and bitter.
That is my cruse for you, sweetheart dear.
Winter nights will come again
But I will return no more.
Yet you will remember the time
When resting your head on my loving arm
You quietly slept, with only contempt in your heart.
The memory of those days
Will make your bed one of singing thorns,
The tide will come in the river again.
Again the boat will float en a pleasure cruise
With gay and loving company.
And yet, the memory of other voyages,
Of a boat speeding by the dark coast,
And of me sitting close beside
Will haunt you like a ghost relentlessly.
Then will Your tears mingle with your sighs,
Then you will realise..
When Your friend will be imprisoned like me
You will shed bitter tears,
When he will treat You negligently
Your happiness will lie in ruins
Then will You find Your days
Cheerless, dreary and lying.
Then will you realise, how very wrong
You were about me.
The rises will blossom again
Again the stars will shine,
And the pale moon reign in the sky:
Season will follow season in regular order,.
But for you
There will be no pleasure.
You will only cry and bewail your lost treasure.
The storm will come,
All tornado will appear,
All ties will break asunder.
And your tiny cottage will tremble in fear.
Then you will remember him
Who will not be by your side.
And you will hanker for his caresses, my dear.
At that hour will you realise.
At that hour will you regret your profuse lies.
The wound in my bosom
That once hurt you so..
Would perhaps appear sweet to. you now.
Tired and weary and forlorn at last
You might now seek it yourself,
And then shall I reappear.
And who knows
You will probably throw yourself
In my arms in a pleasant swoon
And worship me in humility.
Then will you know, my dear,
Then will the final truth be simple and clear.
[Translation: Kabir Chowdhury]
The Ecstasy Of Creation
In the ecstasy of creation today
Laughs my face, smile my eyes
Glows my boiling blood
In the brook of my shuttered soul
The roaring tide brings the flood.
Streams laughter, tears together
Freedom comes, unity nearer.
Opens my mouth, heart cries
From bitter sorrows bliss arise
There comes the forlorn breast’s cry of woe
In the ecstasy of creation today ho!
Comes desolation, breaths dejection
Heart rending sigh beyond creation.
Swelling the sea, blowing the wind, shaking the firmament
Exploding in the space,
God Vishnu’s wheel is flying
Sparks in the air,
God Shivas landing – trident.
Behold! the Comet with the meteors
Out to over turn the creation-doors
Watching which today
Flowers of a million garden
Dance in my heart with gay
In the ecstasy of new order today.
Translation: Rezaul Karim Talukdar
Do not cast that look
Again and again
With those tearful eyes
Oh those eyes with pain!
In that plaintive tone
Do not sing those swan-songs.
If the agonies of your life
You could smile away,
Then smile and do not weep
On this parting day.
Those melancholy eyes,
And a weeping face
I look on
And ‘my heart cries.
Oh traveller, do not fill
These fleeting hours
With a melancholy note
And flowing tears.
Oh piqued traveller,
Why do you think
No one shares your anguish?
In your agony
You alone perish.
The forlorn traveller,
Who has lost his way,
No dweller of home
Wants him to stay.
Are you still hurt
By these scars in your heart?
And those plaintive songs
From a Baul afar,
Agonies, in the barren field,
A lonely traveller?
It is meaningless sentiment
And vain bewilderment.
Would you ever hear
That your parting words
Have shattered many hearts?
And many a soul
Has broken into tears?
You have not been loved
So you must part.
Go you must,
But not with agony
In your heart.