The Dhaka Central Jail

Shamsuzzoha Manik
Art & Literature, Poetry
The Dhaka Central Jail

Here is no bliss of Garden of Eden,
That there is salubrious air
And that there is distant sweet fragrance of flowers.
The night is not covered with twinkling stars
And the air beneath the wing
Do not whisper
To the wretched souls ardor consolation.
Here nights and days pass
Flagellating the empty space.
He has no time.
Riding a ruthless stallion
A cruel rider
Galloping to the endless frontier
With no care for a brief rest.

Here is no bliss of Garden of Eden,
That the birds will chirp and resound
That a stream will meander
Cooling the air
Piercing the verdant tract murmuring softly
And on the banks one may listen
To the fearless laughter of
Men or women.

Here is no bliss of Garden of Eden,
One will find nothing here,
Except iron cages and brick walls.
And here are countless
Stoney human souls.
But they walk hither and tither and they speak,
This is the deep bantering of life.

Here is no bliss of Garden of Eden,
Above all is
The Iron Ruler riding a blazing steed
With cruel smile trampling human souls
Listening to their fearful groan
He is rewarded with their terrified submission
And stacks of jewels and gold
Gathered under his feet.
This Iron Ruler riding on a blazing steed
Has the tongue of a poisonous serpent
And in his hand is the whip of law
His lash falls anytime on anyone’s ear and back
This Iron Ruler flashes a cruel smile
Then he rides the blazing steed
With a jump
Thinking about the money he has gained.

Here is no bliss of Garden of Eden,
This is a prison
It is The Dhaka Central Jail
The wrath of the government has brought the inmates here.
And above all
Is the Iron Ruler upon a blazing steed.
Here is the Iron Ruler
In his hand is the whip of law
He smiles crookedly.

(The Dhaka Central Jail, 13 March, 2016)

Bengali to English translation by Abul Kasem

Shamsuzzoha Manik. He is a Bangladeshi translator, writer, editor, and publisher who was arrested on February 15, 2016 after a religious extremist group warned of violent protests over one of his books. The police shut down Manik’s stall at the...

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