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,.]