fled the madhouse, the lunatic darted up the tree.
would make him come down, he said,
for the pleas of that midget-size nurse!
came running, quick as a fire engine,
wildly at him. Her gestures were coded messages
the lunatic to climb down from the tree top
Just as a
koi fish will descend on the dining plate
by the smell of steaming curry,
descended easily and freely
consecutive numbers do when one counts down.
lunatic’s thoughts flickered across the nurse’s consciousness.
that mad man will return once more to his asylum.
his head on the confessional,
soundlessly suffer thirteen electric shocks
to induce thirteen confessions from him
directive of the calm and composed health priest!
Translated from the Bengali by Fakrul Alam, Professor of English,
University of Dhaka
Copyright © Masud Khan 2013
Masud Khan is a
poet and writer from Bangladesh. He did his Bachelor degree
from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and
Masters from Royal Roads University, Canada. Over past two
decades, his writings have been featured in newspapers and
magazines in Bangladesh, India, USA, UK, Belgium, Romania,
Malaysia and Canada. His poems and fictions have appeared in
journals and magazines including Asiatic, Contemporary
Literary Horizon, Kaurab, Ragazine.cc, 3c World Fiction,
Last Bench, Litrasfalsas, Urhalpul, and anthologies
including Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry
from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond (W.W. Norton, New
York/London), Contemporary Literary Horizon Anthology,
Bucharest and Padma Meghna Jamuna: Modern Poetry from
Bangladesh (Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature, New
Delhi). He has, till date, authored four volumes of poetry.
Presently resident of Toronto, Canada, Masud Khan works as
an electrical engineer.
A short bio of the translator
Fakrul Alam is Professor of English at the University of
Dhaka. He has been a Fulbright Scholar and a Visiting
Associate Professor at Clemson University, USA, and has also
been Visiting Professor at India’s Jadavpur University and
Visva-Bharati. He was a member of the jury of the
Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for 2003 (Eurasia region) and
was an adjudicator for the DSC South Asian Prize for
Literature in 2011. His publications include Imperial
Entanglements and Literature in English (Writer’s Ink,
2007); South Asian Writers in English (Thomson Gale, 2006);
Jibananada Das: Selected Poems (Dhaka University Press,
1999); Bharati Mukherjee (Twayne’s Contemporary United
States Authors, 1996); and Daniel Defoe: Colonial
Propagandist (University of Dhaka Publications, 1989). Among
his most recent works are The Essential Tagore (Harvard
University Press, 2011; co-authored with Radha Chakravarti).
His translation of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Unfinished
Memoirs was published in 2012 by University Press in
Bangladesh, Penguin Books in India, and Oxford University
Press in Pakistan, and his Rabindranath Tagore and National
Identity Formation in Bangladesh: Essays and Reviews (Dhaka:
Bangle Academy) is forthcoming. He has been editor of Dhaka
University Studies, Part A (Humanities) and the Asiatic
Society Journal, and guest-editor of a special issue of
Asiatic on South Asian diasporic writing (June 2012).