Abdul Mannan Syed was one of the prominemt members of the “Sad Generation”. He has taught Bangla in various colleges and served as Director General of the Nazrul Academy. He is prolific both as a poet and as a critic.

Each Other

A short winter day: wrapped in fog, the whole day
permeated with a fiery grace, like our life,
so foggy – lights everywhere glittering like stones;
switching on their lights the carriages slowly moved
along the winding streets continuously neighing,
their diamond eyes dripped like the fog’s signals –
as if, one by one. double decker ships loaded
with love, light, and the blue sky started on their
voyage this Sunday.

Below the shouts lay our white city revealing
its back, shoulders, chin, thigh and hip:
a tiny transparent dazed blue dew drop
on the green leaf of time. Blessings like water,
over our head in eager expectation. A short
day: there was no sound in the neighbouring
woods, no breeze in the city, the city was
in a swoon. The fog had bound men’s eyes
as if with a thick burlap.

We two have walked thus far in life,
coming out of a huge tilted glass tumbler,
leaving behind doves and grapefruit;
we are leaping from one rocky footpath
into another silent one like delighted hares.
We can’t see each other and so from time to time
we stretch our hands and go on discovering
the source of our pain, as if we were two
pioneering explorers harassed by the attacks
of some red and green parrot.

I whispered into the ears of your heart,
“This one, single day is like a thousand years
to me” and you laughed gaily, and a
thousand pigeons flew away, scattered
all over the sky, perched on the King’s palace,
balustrade, main gate, the top of the ancient
fountain, minaret, and courtyard.


Now you could see the dull sun looking like an
etherised grapefruit. The fog, like an Ethiopian,
drew around him his loose robe and slunk off
into January. We could now read each other.
Look, there on that street pins still fell
like a premature dusk. Suddenly the sun rang out
in the East and in the West: and the mosque
in our front shone like the waters of the
most placid lake.

January’s cold diamonds shone all around
like a row of shops in the evening.
In your eyes and on your face descended paradise
as an unmistakable fact. And a ray from the sun
struck our neat and well rounded tale
like the sharp edge of a knife.

I said to you, “This day went away like a
single moment.” You bent your head and
covered the lotus with the petals of your
two hands and wept. Your tears went on
glittering like dew drops in the sharp
undulating sunlight.

Translated by Kabir Chowdhury