Frances Berenson’s “Understanding Art and Understanding Person” starts with the question that “whether it is possible to understand the art of other
culture.” The following is a translation of a poem by Bengali poet Shamsur Rahman. As suggested by the title, it is on freedom. Let’s see if we can dissect, understand and appreciate it. Consider these question: 1. Why did the poet choose to describe his idea of freedom in this way? 2. What is your definition of freedom and how is it similar to the poet’s? (If you need anymore info on the poet, follow this wikipedia(That’s the best I was able to find on the net) link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamsur_Rahman. The poem also refers to some other important and famous bengali poets. Look them up in the net if you need to.
This is the poem:
Rabi Thakur’s timeless poetry and everlasting lyrics.
Kazi Nazrul, his willowy mane swaying,
rapturous with the joy of creation, a great man.
the radiant gathering at Shahid Minar on the
immortalized February 21.
the flag-draped, slogan-serenaded boisterous
the farmer’s beam amidst his fields.
the lightsome swim of a village lass in a pond in
the sinewy muscle on a young laborer’s sun-bronzed,
the gleam in a freedom-fighter’s eyes, scanning the
horizon draped in darkness.
the crisply-worded, spirited speech of a bright, young
learner in the shade of a banyan tree.
the tumult of chats in tea-shops, parks and fields.
the roaring swoop of kal-boishakhi across the horizon.
the heart of river Meghna, shoreless in Sraban.
the soft stretch of father’s chivalrous prayer-mat.
the ripples on mother’s bright sari spread out on the
the hue of henna on sister’s gentle hands.
the colorful poster, tremulous as starlight in the
hands of a friend.
the homemaker’s raven hair, luxurious and undone,
untamed and wild in the wind.
the colorful jacket on a lad.
the playful sunlight bouncing off a young girl’s supple
The home amidst a flower garden; the warble of
The twittering leaves of antediluvian banyan trees.
My notebook of poetry, to pen poems as I please.
Translated by Syed M. Islam. Copyrighted, 2004.