Shamim Azad was a vibrant media personality in Bangladesh before she got married and emigrated to the UK, where she teaches in a school and gives performances as a storyteller. She has several collections of poetry to her credit.

First Love

In Jamalpur, behind the Public Library,
in the house near the steps down to the river
I first met you.
The sky was filled with fragrance, and
youth, your song

was my first love –
Perhaps because you were so young

you’d swim away so easily –
before I could turn you into a verse
you eluded me again and again.
All day it was like this – all night, all day
I looked for you through that curtain of smoke.

After a while, profoundly weary, I lay down –
suddenly a sound broke through my sleep:

even with my eyes closed I could feel
the red moonlight outside,
the sound of water in the wind,
in the room.
I got up to look for the source, and you
were right next to my heart.

– Translated by Carolyne Wright with Syed Manzoorul Islam and the author