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Salil Tripathi writes to Shahidul Alam

Thursday 15 November 2018 - 12:43pm

Shahidul Alam

A POEM FOR SHAHIDUL ALAM

Salil Tripathi

She tells me
You have a new friend now:

A sparrow
Visits at dawn,
Chirping by your window

But you are awake,
Waiting.

The sparrow's wings
Not flapping, now
Still
Learning unfreedom.

The poet once wrote about a tame bird and a free bird.

The free bird cried, "O my love, let us fly to the wood."
This caged bird did not want to whisper
"Come hither, let us both live in the cage."

Can you spread wings in the cage?
Can you perch in the sky?

We are all sparrows now -
We fly over the wall
And perch at your window

We sing in a hundred languages
Bringing words not yet said,

In our eyes -
Your images
A world witnessed

      d fists

     e

    s

   i

 a

R       Sweat on the brow

Shadows on water

Silhouettes through perforated sheets

A VOTE is   c

      a

      s

      t

A house rebuilt
Rainwater on tent
Unlit stove
Men in a jeep.

The tame bird is free.
The free bird never left.

Lalon Fokir sees the cage wither and die.

The closed doors of the cage
Fear you.

You make a garland of
Fallen flowers for her -
Sheuli, togor, and now rongon -

The land
Outside
Unfree -

You
Inside -

Free.