Khondakar Ashraf Hossain is professor and chairman of the Department of English at Dhaka University. He has been a prolific poet since the seventies, and he edits an influential little magazine, Ekobingsho (“The Twenty-First”).


The sun and the rain

take their turn to whirl

in a mad tango
from one end of the watery marsh
to the other.

The cloud figure skates
on the swaying aman sheaves.
Touching the boat’s prow

on the dark waters of the beel
the turbulent cloud hoofs up a

flamenco swirl,
long hair
floating in frenzied glee.

But I’m no longer
impressed by the absurd: I often
have to preside over the wedding

of a swan and a crocodile.

Nonchalant, I watch the laudugi snake

put on a new dress on its birthday.
As the fishes die.

The village Shylock sits in a yogic mudra
on top of a kalmi creeper:
He seems an old wizard
glimmering in a water drop
on a glossy arum leaf.

The otter dances a frenzied tango.
As the shore cries in a rainy chorus,
a fishbone pierces the otter’s heart.