Patriotism

Pakistan Independence Day

I'm sorry Pakistan 14 August Independence day!

If you got my veins I bleed Pakistan,
I ache when you ache Pakistan,
I'm the cause of you Pakistan
Happy birthday
You gave me show much
But I gave you nothing but pain
You gave me the freedom I yearned
But in return I bind you in chains
You give me an identity
But I took that from you
You gave me a place
I could call home
But I left you scared, deserted and alone
So I'm so sorry about Pakistan
Forgive me for burning you alive
Call give me for letting you down
Forgive me for all the times a finger what pointed on you
Forgive me for being silent times when I had to stand
Forgive me for giving you the label of a terrorist
Forgive me for making you the charity box
There is so much to say!

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Poem by Shery and Shehzy twin sister on Independence Day

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সুন্দর দেশ গড়ি

দেশে আইন কানুন থাকতে,


ধর্মের নামে সন্ত্রাসে লিপ্ত হতে,


কাঁপে না কি বুক তাদের একটুও,


প্রকাশ্য দিবালোকে ঠাণ্ডা মাথায় করে খুনও!


 

পথচারীরা হয় সার্কাসের দর্শকের মত,


দাঁড়িয়ে তামাশা দেখায় থাকে ব্যস্ত,


কেউ বা মরুভূমিতে উটের মত দেখেও দেখে না,


চোরের মত যায় সরে, আর ফিরেও তাকায় না!


 

কে মরল কে বাঁচল মানুষের আসে যায় না কিছু তাতে,


যে যার কাজে ব্যস্ত সবে, মানবতা গুমরে মরে প্রতি মুহূর্তে,


আইন আছে ঠিকই দেশে, আইনের শাসন নেই,


লুটপাটের প্রতিযোগিতায় নেমেছে যেন আজ সবেই।


 

দেশপ্রেমের নামে বাজাচ্ছে দেশের বারোটা,


দেশ গোল্লায় গেলেও নিচ্ছে ওরা গুছিয়ে নিজের আখেরটা!


সাধারণ মানুষও সমান দোষী,


অন্যায় দেখেও প্রতিবাদ না করাটা খারাপ বেশী।


 

যখন কেউ আক্ষেপের সুরে বলে এ দেশটার কিছুই হবে না,


তখন বলি আমি- হতাশ হলে চলবে না,


সুন্দর দেশটাকে তুলব সবে আরও সুন্দর করে গড়ে,


বিশ্বের মানচিত্রে যেন রয় তার নাম অম্লান, যুগ যুগ ধরে।

 

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NIGERIA WE HAIL THEE

1.      

Nigeria, we hail thee,
The Nation of the brave,
with wealth invaluable,
a confluence of many.

Ten decades are gone-by,
The visions of our fathers yet unseen,
How much longer shall we wait,
For the UHURU they’d fought for?

A century into existence,
We still struggle for a common ground,
Our potentials yet untapped,
And our wealth still for a few.

Nigeria we hail thee,
A galaxy of milk and honey,
but crumbled in cacophony,
When shall this scorn be over?
When will every life count and matter,
When will the ordinary man,
Begin to such of your milk,
And the masses lick from your honey?

Nigeria, we hail thee.
A magical nation of the blacks,
Surviving all odds and pressures,
War, flood and now Terrorism.
Let your resilient spirit awake,
As your unity is still a mystery.

 

Nigeria we hail thee,
But hear the cries of your children,
And the yearnings of Nigerians,
Give us light, food and Security,
And we shall hail thee till eternity,
And your call obey,
Even for another century to come.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Nigeria! Oh, that the vision of our founders, may not die in our own time.

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Imaginary Homeland!

 

"The world suffers a lot not because of the ‘violence’ of bad people but because of the ‘silence’ of good people." (Napoleon Bonaparte)

 

On the face of it, the title suggests our desire for a homeland that is imaginary in nature; a utopia, meaning “good place” in preference to dystopia and Napoleon’s words below the headline are accurate for all ages, for all times. Though he was considered a tyrant and usurper by his opponents, he deserves respect for ending lawlessness and disorder in Post-revolutionary France.

 

Let us focus on the present condition of Bangladesh from the perspective of literature and some deep-seated theories. Concerning the heading, the name of Samuel Taylor Coleridge deserves mentioning. He incidentally imagined his famous poem, “Kubla Khan” due to an opium haze, consequently wrote a poem of vivid imagination. Likewise, we have only one way out as each and every road tends to lead us towards a cul-de-sac. Ironically, the solution is nothing but delving ourselves (as Coleridge did once, though unknowingly) deeper into the world of ‘dream’ where we will not have to face all the anarchies, brutalities, kidnappings, breach of law and order, injustice and the like. It is high time we dreamt such a special as well as exceptional dream that will, though temporarily, pacify and digress us from the surrounding dreadful atmosphere.

 

It is not a sweeping generalization for sure; it is a demand of the day to surrender ourselves to the world of dreams! But, keeping the present disorders and feelings of insecurity in mind, it is next to impossible for the commoners to take the help of dreams with a view to escaping bitter reality, the Waste Land certainly not from the perspective of literal meaning but taking the term to visualize about a land, a country, which (many sagacious men as well as commoners reckon) is marching towards being a morally corrupt waste land to a large degree. Obviously, T.S. Eliot’s "The Waste Land", begins with the sentence- “April is the cruellest month”, which, if rephrased in a bit different way for the time being, will echo the present condition of our nation as a whole i.e. “Now is the cruellest time” when many so-called criminals fall a victim to hellish encounters giving them no chance to have an attorney; commoners are murdered, the public lands are engulfed by the giant big fishes and so on. Here, we should beseech apology to a great soul, Albert Einstein, who once said, “Now is the most important time.” But, we must bring the readers’ attention to the fact that this is not a generalisation at all; in many cases, the culprits are imprisoned and the poetic justice is seen. Unfortunately, in most of the cases, the criminals are on the loose for sine die, which is terribly disappointing. This is how, as usual, things fall apart as was also reflected in Chinua Achebe’s magnum opus, "Things Fall Apart". Actually, to be frank, things themselves cannot fall apart unless they, somehow, are made to.

 

Undoubtedly, facts are hard to establish and are painted with a wide range of colours. Reality consists of our prejudices, fallacies and lack of knowledge as well as our wisdom and knowledge. Each individual has his own way to read the world and it certainly deserves respect and appreciation. But, reading the world is not going to save us from our miseries; however, it is another thing that the Mariner was relieved from the intolerable agonies that he was undergoing in S.T. Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” only after showing his deep admiration and affection for the exquisite water snakes crawling
in the sea-water; it is worth mentioning that such things do happen especially if the reality is magical or if we discover ourselves inside the country packed with magic realism. Besides, it is extremely difficult to ignore the surrounding muddled state that is on the go as it goes without saying that we cannot always put ourselves into Coleridge’s shoes and blindly believe in his willing suspension of disbelief, which is not going to save us whatsoever.

 

Let us discuss about something that is a bit ambiguous as well as witty. Since we have conscience, we naturally possess a responsibility to think about many things (though not everything) and we even cannot deny our duties by keeping ourselves in an ostrich position because Mr. René Descartes has already proved the fact that we ‘exist’- 'Cogito ergo sum' (“I think, therefore I am”) What else to be done, then? We cannot solve all the problems overnight, still the gradual development of our country should get momentum for the existence of our motherland. Even though she cannot think, she holds an existence in the world and it is none but her people who ought to take every positive and influential initiative possible to lead the nation towards the road of prosperity, and only then the rest of the world shall look at us with a different outlook, with different feelings as was done by the Mariner. However, the situation is totally upside down here. In the poem, the Old Man was redeemed but other countries are not going to be relieved for their (proposed) changed perspective towards us rather it is us who will be regarded as citizens of an enlightened nation; thus, this shall be a kind of moral redemption for all of us.

 

Now, we must move on to the aforesaid dream-phenomenon. As far as the common concept about dream goes, all the peculiarities of dream life are understandable as the puzzled effort, due to some physiological stimulus, of certain organs, or of the cortical elements of a brain otherwise asleep. However, Sigmund Freud says in his magnum opus, "Dream Psychology" (1920): “…analysis discovered that the dream was provoked by an unimportant occurrence the evening before the dream”. Is it that simple to pivot on dreams and avoid reality? Well, we strongly think otherwise. Nevertheless, gone are the days when a large number of observers used to acknowledge that dream-life is capable of extraordinary achievements—at any rate, in certain fields. We have to say sorry to Freud as the blessing of modern technology is making us redefine the very concept of dream and its maneuvers; now, people are on the verge of controlling dreams! In this regard, the information, appearing in one of the distinguished dailies in Bangladesh, The Prothom-Alo of 18th April, 2012, needs to be stated here. It says, “I-phone apps named dream-on is capable of letting us dream sweet dreams as was announced in the Edinburgh International Science Festival 2012 (held on 12 April at the National Museum of Scotland). Moreover, the inventor of this apps Richard Wiseman (he truly is a
wise man as his name suggests!), Professor of the Hartford University, left the people spellbound when he further said that ‘I hope that users will be able to record or save their dreams…and the apps is entirely on gratis.”Wow! Not to mention, we, the Bangladeshi citizens, need plenty of such apps which shall surely help us to get rid of the surrounding anarchies by letting us sleep well, at least.

 

Correspondingly, it will not be an exaggeration to say that it is the imperative requirement of the present era to own a new name- Post-postmodern Age (? – now) where anything is possible and from the viewpoint of Bangladesh, almost everything is. Now, let us talk about meaninglessness that is in vogue in every nook and corner. Here, we can take Noam Chomsky’s famous ‘meaningless’ sentence into consideration, Colourless green ideas sleep furiously that is cited in Susan Bassnett’s "Translation Studies" (1980). Here, the meaning would not be content bound, but would be sign bound, in that both the individual words and the relationship of ideas would add meaning as the poem is read. On the other hand, with due respect to Chomsky’s famous supposed  meaningless sentence, some (not all) of our politicians are, we are sorry to say, degrading their image as well as status by making bizarre comments, which we find totally uncalled for. For instance, “Alla-r mal Alla-i nia gese” ["Allah has taken His goods (human lives) back"], “We are looking for shotruz (enemies)” “We cannot guard the bedrooms around the clock” and so forth. We really are perplexed thinking about figuring their statements out from the viewpoint of content or sign! Their remarks further make us think of Benjamin Lee Whorf, who is widely known for his ideas about linguistic relativity, the hypothesis that language influences thought. We are sure that the statements made by the politicians do influence our thought since we react (though not always) to whatever is wrongly said, but we are doubtful whether the politicians themselves think likewise or not; the guess permits us to mention that, in their case,
thought influences language, a certain sort of mundus inversus!

 

The present circumstances make us think that the government, administration, public officers etc. are a part of a privileged world and we, the common people, belong to an alien planet named 'Other' allocated for the suppressed; we are really thankful to Edward Said for his introduction of the famous concept, 'The Other', and we, ironically, are constantly discovering ourselves in the midst of that undesired planet and our feelings hardly have any value right now. This reminds us of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak who is best known for the essay “Can the Subaltern Speak?”, which is considered a founding text of post-colonialism; she tried to prove that the subaltern cannot speak. However, we are not subaltern and we can speak, speak loudly and forcefully when needed; at the same time, we have to make sure that others must not get the least chance to turn us into supposed subaltern.

 

Now, it is time to ponder over another noteworthy and tragic incident that took place in March- Khalaf al Ali, 45, a Saudi citizen and Head of Citizens’ Affairs unit of Saudi Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh was shot dead at Gulshan region in the capital. Nonetheless, at the moment, all of us who are Bangladeshi by citizenship, or birth, or race, ought to admit that this murder disgraces us all; fortunately, all the alleged goons have been brought to book lately. It is, by all
means, the momentous duty of our government to ensure the utmost safety of the high-profile officers (including the commoners of course). As D. H. Lawrence declared, “I do esteem individual liberty above everything. What is a nation for, but to secure the maximum liberty to every individual?” It is high time we stopped our country from turning into a dystopia; we do not want the foreigners to have more negative impressions about our country; otherwise, it will not surprise us at all if we hear them say just before their entrance into our country, as mentioned in Dante Alighieri’s the "Divine Comedy" – “Abandon all hope, all ye who enter here.”

 

Finally, it will be better to conclude with Spivak’s invented term, “strategic essentialism,” which refers to a sort of temporary unity for the purpose of social action. However, we do not want the unity to be temporary, rather it should be permanent so that all of us can always raise our voice against- suppression, corruption, disorder- above all, the falsehood and negativities. Hence, we wish we could be a part of an ‘imaginary homeland’; since it is not going to happen, all we want is- peace prevailing everywhere as is the plea made by T.S. Eliot in the last line of "The Waste Land", the mantra in the Sanskrit language, “Shantih shantih shantih.”

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No Desert Poppies

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Viet Nam Pieces

In desert sands no poppies grow.
Unmarked, their crosses, row on row.
Young life cut down, Youth tarries, dead.
Hope hovers high; mem'ries un-fled,
still held despite the fate we'll know.

'Spite death, love lives - unbowed - to show
yon lives the way Justice must flow,
'though ardor and fervor have yet yielded
no desert poppies.

Truth rose, fought darkness, met its foe,
wrestled, won; failed, and rose again. So
guard its journey 'mid blackness wide.
Still burns its torch ! Held high with pride !
Cowards lack the will, 'though Heroes know
no desert poppies.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

In the Villanelle form, as is Flanders Fields.

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O'er Countess Graves

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Viet Nam Pieces

O'er countless graves Love's teardrops flow
to earth to nourish mem'ries that grow.
Cherished the place, beloved each face,
each sparce, narrow garden is a holy place;
those whose Love turned Grief now know.

Strong word is "Love", despite Death's throe.
'Tis sunrise there, still night here below.
Peaceful Love with Stately Grief God doth replace,
o'er countless graves.

"Take up our dream!", they tell us, "GO !
Liberty's strong thread, run it! So
lives, hopes, dreams, fires-of-Soul may pace
yet coming runners in Life's race,
and ALL win !" 'Though Death counts countless tears
. . . . . o'er countless graves.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

The young generation who fought the latest war knows the futility of war better than anyone else knows it. They stand at their fellow warriors' graves and remember why they died. They alone can tell future populations of that futility, but will that population listen? Will they learn?

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Your Warriors Are Still Dying

Folder: 
Viet Nam Pieces

Survived the iridescent tongue
of battle. Now no longer young;
"Obey!" Obedient, we went,
no thought to waver or relent,
although our hearts might be fainting:
rice quagmire, desert storms, we wrung
our victory. Now see, one-by-one
at solitary battlement
your Warriors are dying!
Don't call it "error", or say, "It's wrong",
for 'LIBERTY AND JUSTICE' sung.
Taught unfamiliar thoughts, intent,
learned strange emotions, minds, conscience bent,
now home, solitary, or in throng,
Your Warriors Are Dying.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

So many men come home from war, only to find that war will not leave them alone. The constant fear and threat in the mind is impossible to bear. Suicide is their answer. So, DO SOMETHING!!

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THE NAVY ENGINEER

Working in the belly,
Of a haze grey beast,
Tending the engines,
Throughout their enormous feast.

 

I sweat in the heat,
As the engines scream nearby,
In this man-made iron hell,
It reminds me of a banshees cry.

 

I’m surrounded by arteries and veins,
A maze of valves and pipes,
Every one of them is vital,

To carry fluids of many types.

 

Running the Navy is the job,
Of myself and my peers,
Providing power to the ship,
We are Naval engineers.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

I was a Machinist Mate in the Navy, and this one goes out to all my fellow engineers.

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For Love and War

Unpredictability awaits the destined journey.
Good day, good bye..
Bells ringing and whistling.
Concerts of movement and sound.
The masked enemy faces true discovery;
founders of all lost.
Contagious melodies unchain his heartfelt shakedown.
Illusions of a troubled mindset,
ensemble man's weakness.
Entrapment is the closure of open lines.
Exploration of death encourages victory as this voice whispers,
"Walk beneath the shadow of my wings, I shall carry you home."
Unfamiliar statues are among them,
building its surviving energy for burial.
Adaptation of gratitude barely stands for fighters.
Bleeding colors paint the all seeing skies.
Left with stripes and stars,
for love and war.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

This is dedicated to those who have fought for what is underappreciated, freedom

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