Rivers Lament

Mohammad Shafiqul Islam

Rivers lament over why they were born, they

Question their existence, ask their maker if any

The rivers weep copious tears no one can see

For the loss irreparable. Clinically dead, they

Seem to wait for a time when news echoes in

The air: the wasteland returns. Cuckoos will

No more sing to declare the advent of spring

Deadly and ear-piercing cries of humans and

Animals will break stones. O agonized rivers

You don’t shout like human beings absolutely

Vacuum within! You’re calm like trees gifting

Nature with gentle breeze. Desperate and evil

Land grabbers ravage banks extending gluttony

To the rivers, eating out life, destroying beauty

And disturbing cadence like Grendel. The rivers

Had golden days with stream of water as a force

To create rhythmic sounds as if celestial music

And petite white flakes made many a shoal of

Small white fish swim, jump and fall in between

Giant boulders to have a flower nearby blossom

Rapidly and feast the eyes of travelers. Children

Would bathe in a group, young girls would swim

Together, farmers wash mud after plowing their

Fields to sow seeds for golden crops. Toxic water

In different colors spawns fetor making distance

Between humans and rivers—to touch water now

Is to catch incurable diseases! O rivers, you do not

Inundate fields to bring silt for healthier crops and

Bountiful harvests anymore! The soil has already

Begun to crack, trees stopped growing and a new

Form of epizootic is imminent. Ether couriers your

Valued missives: don’t kill water, let your life flow.

 

 

Read the interview with Mohammad Shafiqul Islam here.

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Author: Mohammad Shafiqul Islam

Mohammad Shafiqul Islam is the author of three books: Wings of Winds (Poetry, 2015), Humayun Ahmed: Selected Short Stories (Translation, 2016) and Aphorisms of Humayun Azad (Translation, 2017). His poetry and translation have appeared in Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Poem, Reckoning, Critical Survey, Dibur, Armarolla, Light, SNReview, LossLit, Arts & Letters, Bengal Lights, and elsewhere. His work has been anthologised in a number of books, including The Book of Dhaka: A City in Short Fiction. He is a PhD candidate in the Department of English, Assam University, India, and teaches English at Shahjalal University of Science & Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh.

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