Dawn Carnage

Poet: Fahmida Riaz


Here again is the hour of dawn carnage


In the killing fields of the dark horizon

have spread again the stains of blood

Again from a tower's height the night’s length is proclaimed


In the branches hang the breezes with held breath

In paralysis the trees

Arrayed on branches the dead birds

On the dark screens of eyes

Plays again only one scene

O beaten soul!

O moist eye...

This dawn carnage

When was it ever a matter of astonishment

Let this scene be played over again

When spirits are recovered, when the soul gathers itself

We will raise this coffin again

Again will we wash the sun's cindered corpse with tears

Will we kiss its blue lips, warm its frozen body

Again in the soul's field

Will we bury the new-born infant


In the empty hands of the mad, glimmer a few rubies and diamonds

When did a thug ever manage to rob a people of its treasury of tears

Do not count so cheap the water that flows from these eyes

Every tear insists, every sigh protests - we do not accept this night

As long as our grief abides, as long as our hearts are battered

However vast grows the promise of oppression, shining is the dawn of hope.


Translated by Prashant Keshavmurthy