The Safe House – Taslima Nasrin

I’m compelled to live in such a house 

Where I’m forbidden to say ‘I like it not’ 

Though I feel aghast to live in here. 
Such a safe house I live in 

Where I’m destined to live and suffer 

But cannot weep. 

I must avoid eye contact with others 

Lest I should expose my pains inconclusive. 

In this house everyday at dawn 

My longings are slaying and before evening descends 

The pallid corpses are buried on its courtyard. 
My deep sighs break the silence of the safe house 

All other sounds are inconspicuous within and without the house. 

Every night I go to bed trepidation, 

And with the same feelings I wake up, 

While awake, I subject my own shadow to a monologue. 
I’m caught unawares by the invasion of a venomous snake, 

Hurtling wrath and loathing, squirms all over my body 

And hiss: Be off transcending boundaries 

Hush-hush escape to a far off quaint land 

Towards the impassable mountains. 

While creeping around the shadow, the serpent demands: 

Get lost forever. 
Friends, do pray for me 

For my safe exit, from the safe house, 

Pray for my lucky sojourn, 

Once in safety in an unsafe house. 
[This poem was written while Taslima was forced to live in confinement in an undisclosed location in Delhi from 22 November 2007 to 19 March 2008. Sujal Bhattacharya translated this poem from her book PRISONERS POEMS]

Torn In Shreds – Mirabai

Mine is Gopal, the Mountain-Holder; there is no one else. 

On his head he wears the peacock-crown: He alone is my husband. 

Father, mother, brother, relative: I have none to call my own. 

I’ve forsaken both God, and the family’s honor: what should I do? 

I’ve sat near the holy ones, and I’ve lost shame before the people. 

I’ve torn my scarf into shreds; I’m all wrapped up in a blanket. 

I took off my finery of pearls and coral, and strung a garland of wildwood flowers. 

With my tears, I watered the creeper of love that I planted; 

Now the creeper has grown spread all over, and borne the fruit of bliss. 

The churner of the milk churned with great love. 

When I took out the butter, no need to drink any buttermilk. 

I came for the sake of love-devotion; seeing the world, I wept. 

Mira is the maidservant of the Mountain-Holder: now with love He takes me across to the further shore. 
~~~~~~~ 

mere to giridhara gupaala, duusaraa na koii | 

jaa ke sira mora mukuTa, mero pati soii || 

taata, maata, bhraata, baMdhu, apanaa nahiM koii | 

ghaaM.Da daii, kula kii kaana, kyaa karegaa koii? 

saMtana Dhiga baiThi baiThi, loka laaja khoii || 

chunarii ke kiye Tuuka Tuuka, o.Dha liinha loii | 

motii muu.Nge utaara bana maalaa poii || 

a.Nsuvana jala siiMchi siiMchi prema beli boii | 

aba to beli phaila gaii, aanaMda phala hoii || 

duudha kii mathaniyaa, ba.De prema se biloii | 

maakhana jaba kaa.Dhi liyo, ghaagha piye koii || 

aaii maiM bhakti kaaja, jagata dekha roii | 

daasii miiraa.N giradhara prabhu taare aba moii ||

 

The Heat Of Midnight Tears – Mirabai

Listen, my friend, this road is the heart opening, 

Kissing his feet, resistance broken, tears all night. 
If we could reach the Lord through immersion in water, 

I would have asked to be born a fish in this life. 

If we could reach Him through nothing but berries and wild nuts, 

Then surely the saints would have been monkeys when they came from the womb! 

If we could reach him by munching lettuce and dry leaves, 

Then the goats would surely go to the Holy One before us! 
If the worship of stone statues could bring us all the way, 

I would have adored a granite mountain years ago. 
Mirabai says: The heat of midnight tears will bring you to God. 

Why Mira Can’T Come Back To Her Old House – Mirabai

The colors of the Dark One have penetrated Mira’s body; all the other colors washed out. 

Making love with the Dark One and eating little, those are my pearls and my carnelians. 

Meditation beads and the forehead streak, those are my scarves and my rings. 

That’s enough feminine wiles for me. My teacher taught me this. 

Approve me or disapprove me: I praise the Mountain Energy night and day. 

I take the path that ecstatic human beings have taken for centuries. 

I don’t steal money, I don’t hit anyone. What will you charge me with? 

I have felt the swaying of the elephant’s shoulders; 

and now you want me to climb on a jackass? 

Try to be serious 

Poem – Poems On Love – Rabindranath Tagore

Love adorns itself; 

it seeks to prove inward joy by outward beauty. 
Love does not claim possession, 

but gives freedom. 
Love is an endless mystery, 

for it has nothing else to explain it. 
Love’s gift cannot be given, 

it waits to be accepted.

Poem – Lotus – Rabindranath Tagore

On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying, 

and I knew it not. My basket was empty and the flower remained unheeded. 
Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from my 

dream and felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the south wind. 
That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing and it seemed to 

me that is was the eager breath of the summer seeking for its completion. 
I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and that this 

perfect sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own heart.

Poem – The Game In Reverse – Taslima Nasrin 

The other day in Ramna park I saw a boy buying a girl. 
I‘d really like to buy a boy for five or ten taka, 

a clean-shaven boy, with a fresh shirt, combed and parted hair, 

a boy on the park bench, or standing on the main road 

In a curvaceous pose. 
I’d like to grab the boy by his collar 

and pull him up into a rickshaw – 

tickling his neck and belly, I ‘d make him giggle; 

bringing him home, I’d give him a sound thrashing 

with high-heeled shoes, then throw him out – 

‘’Get lost, bastard! ‘ 
Sticking bandages on his forehead, 

he would doze on the sidewalks at dawn, 

scratching scabies. 

Mangy dogs would lick at the yellow pus 

oozing out of the ulcers in his groin. 

Seeing them, the girls would laugh with their tingling sound 

of glass bangles breaking. 
I really want to buy me a boy, 

a fresh, nubile boy with a hairy chest – 

I’ll buy a boy and rough him up all over. 

Kicking him hard on his shriveled balls, 

I’ll shout, ‘Get lost, bastard! ‘