The City of My Heart
The City of My Heart
Muhammad Azizul Haque
(Former Ambassador of China)
I love this great city,
I love all its streets, lanes and by-lanes
And each of its houses and buildings;
At times, I feel my entity has altogether merged
With that of this city, like waters of two merging rivers,
And we are but one.
I must know at least this one great city thoroughly,
I am yet to know much of it,
Though I have known its spirits,
And I can feel its pulse.
This city’s streets I know, they are so vibrant
With thousands of people crowding them by day
I have also seen how the streets wail
And wear melancholy wreaths of lights
When people gradually desert them by night.
This is the city where thousands of young men and women
Fall in love at first sight, like flies flying into the irresistible fire
At breakneck speed; and soon many repent
And snap their love-knots without notice;
I want to roam its streets by night and all alone
And hear their great stories.
These are the streets that silently observed
The heroic struggles of the people of this great country,
These are the streets that have watched them
Fight valiantly against the forces of oppression,
These are the streets that enshrine the spots
Where the martyrs had fallen dead
Battling the forces of despots and tyrants.
The old dying trees of this city bear witness to many
Unforgettable sagas that have added to the glory of our history;
I want to know more about this great city,
I want to probe all its mysteries,
I want to know all its people –all its eccentrics and lunatics,
All its true and fake intellectuals
All its favourite sons and heroes.
I long to know which of its pubs,
Finding no other customers coming,
Close at last in the dead of night;
I long to know where all its homeless and floating people
Stop at last for the night’s rest.
I want to explore all its parks and avenues
And all its slums and footpaths,
Where its toiling masses
Put up with their afflicting lives.
I crave to know all its half-lighted alleys, where prostitutes line up
And wait for their sex-starved customers,
And its bars and night clubs and brothels,
Where drunkards and debauchees contract degenerative diseases
And then waste away bit by bit.
This great city I long to know very meticulously indeed
I want to know how it flares up at long last
To unseat a despot at the helm of affairs
And I want to know how it weeps
At the death of a dear son.
Perpetually I yearn to enjoy the beauty of this city by day and by night
I want to know its summer joys
And its winter hibernation in attires of fog and smog;
Its streetlights mystifying all the more the mist around them;
This is the city of my heart!
This is the only city in my heart!
[The poem was first published in September 2011 in the ‘Anushilon’, a quarterly literary magazine in Sweden,.]