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(3)Prose>Ali Azgor Talukder - Al Mahmud Poetry: An Introduction (part-3)
Al Mahmud presents these daily events, domestic 
activities and things in such a way that creates a sense of 
mystery. Instead of adorning poetry with magic similes 
and metaphors an effort to make mystery is evident in 
his later poetry. He says that ‘for the survival of Bangla 
poetry now it is necessary to rejuvenate a 
penetrating, spiritual and suggestive language. Poetry 
will disappear without mystery.’ The poem ‘kobor’ 
(The Grave) in Ek Chokkhu Horin (A One-eyed Deer) is 
about past love. But it creates mystery when ‘blooming 
flowers’ in ‘the grave’ are compared with the lover’s 
‘fuming eyes’.

A dove chirping flew on to the branch of Jarul 
That came out of the broken grave.
The bird’s breast swelled singing.
Looking into the grave I saw
Enumerable flowers blooming 
Like your fuming eyes.

In ‘Korotoa’ of Mythyabadi Rakhal love, peace and 
silence intermingle. The silence reminds us of eternal 
silence i.e. death. In ‘bertho bedouin’ (The Thwarted 
Bedouin) the thinking of a lady’s comparison leads him 
to the thought of the creator. Exploring the whole 
universe in ‘deho nei daho nei’ (No Body No Pain) the 
poet finds that everything is worshipping god. 
Consequently his heart becomes vaster and powerful to 
negate 
atheism. Even here his thought doesn’t exclude his 
beloved: ‘A fine sheet of affection/ Like atmosphere 
covered you and me’. In ‘porishamaptir bisram’ (respite at 
the end) of Ami Durgami (Going Far Away) his 
language mixes the desire to meet his beloved with the 
desire to meet God. 

What if I fail to reach you at last?
Even after reaching there what if I don’t find you? Or you 
are there
But for unknown reasons if you didn’t meet me. Think
What else would remain for me?	

Is he confused here? A poet can employ words to look 
into the mystery of the creator only when a poet 
achieves completeness of thought and feeling. In the 
opening poem of Ditio Bhangon (The Second Breach) he 
hears a sound of a name. He tries to feel whose name it 
is. Is it of his lover? Or is it of some eternal 
self? Before he reaches a clear feeling, the sound 
disappears into mystery. And this glimmer of mystery has 
made the poem more attractive.  

Not am I a prophet. But hark! A poet’s eyes 
Can pierce the planets, and pass all endeavors and thirst,
Why then so much bleeding, so many dead sighs
Weave the thread of failure and make your sketch first?

The mystery in his poetry embodies his innermost 
feelings, patriotism, love instinct, his thought about the 
power of the poets, and the worldly affairs. The common 
familiar things ‘soil’, ‘earth’ and ‘the bosom of 
the man’ are defamiliarized in the title poem of 
Birampurer Jatri (A Traveler Towards Respite) giving a 
strong sense of life after death. 

I want to have the taste of soil. This soil is not only the 
sweaty blood soaked mud.
This is the bosom of the man. Who terms this soil earth?
Counting the beads of stars so many saints have gone 
through
The stony Iron Gate. They were the travelers towards 
respite
So am I now.

Here death is seen as attractive not fearful. It is the gate 
through which one can go to an eternal life 
where he may see the face of God that each believer 
craves for throughout his life.

About his philosophy of life Al Mahmud says, ‘I know I 
may live at best 15 years more. Where will I stay 
then? Here I am, another me is not in this world. Where 
will I go then? These questions are coming in 
poetry. I think these have everlasting value’ :

Where is my home? O my boy, who is there for us?
Is there any ancestral homestead? Thatch, earthen wall?
Hennaed hands holding a plate of sticky white boiled rice 
of binni?
With a fried koi fish in the middle? Tinkling of her 
bangles?
Let’s go then, my boy, with all the toys, away from the fair
Walking through the autumnal field in sandy feet.  (bela 
sheshe ke balok?)

These mystic thoughts make him a Sufi. About his own 
Sufism Al Mahmud says ‘almost all my ancestors were 
peer (a religious guide). My father Mir Munshi Abdur 
Rob had been so far the disciple of Shah Mastan. I 
myself am also a disciple of a peer. So naturally Sufism 
will have influence on my poetry. But Sufism 
doesn’t grip me fully. I have my own aesthetic thought.’ 
His ‘mukh o mukhush theke berea’ (Coming Out of 
Face and Mask) reads his mystic journey. Here he reaches 
a stage of Sufism that excites him to say: 

No more can I regard anything as the shape of a face. 
For, he
Who creates needs no face, body, hands or feet
Of his own. Why then should I have a face
Before reaching the goal? Why so big a name
Consisting of six letters? Why
Should I wear this tinsel-embroidered big cloak
Made by a tailor of Damascus. This turban?
Look! I have come out of the face and the shape.

He reaches that stage through the way suggested in the 
holy Qur’an that tells human beings to think about 
the natural events of the world to perceive the mystery of 
creation. ‘Verily! In the creation of the heavens 
and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, 
and the ships which sail through the sea with that 
which is of use to mankind, and the water (rain) which 
Allah sends down from the sky and makes the earth 
alive therewith after its death, and the moving (living) 
creatures of all kinds that He has scattered 
therein, and in the veering of winds and clouds which are 
held between the sky and the earth, are indeed 
signs for the people of understanding.’ (Qur’an 2: 164) Al 
Mahmud’s Sufism grows indulging in the pleasures 
of the flesh. He finds mystic suggestion even ‘in the 
violent pangs/ Of childbirth, and in the moans of the 
lovers coupling/ With firm pledge.’ 

This mysticism flowered during his later years because of 
his blindness. A number of his poems introduce us 
to a new world (i.e. the world of a blind man’s feelings, 
emotions and thought) so far unknown. He says that 
the reality under the appearance of a man can be known 
only when one is in the world of mist.

      Since I have lost 
The distinguishing features of appearance I can recognize 
man as man. 
As, when a shoal of rui fish suddenly floats on the pond 
water, all at home 
Say in a voice - look! rui fish, rui, rui. 
(olaukik kuasha, A Miracle Mist)

In ‘Kana Mamuder Ural Kabya - 2 (A Tale of Blind 
Mamud’s Flying Trip) he says, ‘Sensing the presence of 
the 
body I assume whether I know the shape or not.’ Many 
usual experiences are changed in the world of a blind. 

In the past in literary chats, the word insight was uttered 
frequently. Now as a blind I feel the word to 
the kernel of my being. This is like playing with a 
harpoon. Like hunting a wild fish with a spear. 

In this condition he finds his similarities with prophet 
Khijir, although a tone of loss and sadness is 
evident. 

Often I see I am within water. 
Though incredible, this sense pleases me. 
And I wonder does prophet Khijir  foresee 
the future of  the world through this unending liquid?
And my eyes become the big transparent chanda fish 
of sweet water. 
Transparent but the eyesight can’t go through. 
Who said clear eyes are necessary to see the future? 
I wanted mysterious eyes like the rubbed up glass. 
My Lord has bestowed me with that. 
The poet Jibanananda Das loved pale eyes 
like rattan fruits, but can sadness without mystery 
help a poet?

And he thinks that he can now see the final truth of the 
world. In bhut bhabisyathin ei andhakar (Without 
Past and Future This Darkness) he says:
 
It is right that I am waiting for light. 
But the stare of my eyes without eyelash 
Has set me on time’s horse 
to move in an unclean darkness 
And has stilled the rising and setting of the sun.
I will see the final truth in the darkness. 


About this final truth Al Mahmud says, “I have expressed 
my faith about my destination in my later poetry. I 
think as a poet this faith is my success.”  And his 
collection of poems Na Kuno Shunyata Mani Na (No 
Emptiness I Accept) clearly declares his faith and 
philosophy. This collection of poems tries to grasp 
almost all the themes of his long poetic life: women, 
sexuality, carnality, love instinct, nature, country, 
poetry, poetic power, immortality, blindness, freedom, 
the negative impacts of capitalism & imperialism, and 
other world affairs, nothing escape this collection. The 
train of all these themes prompted Al Mahmud to 
fling himself up to ‘self digging’ and ‘seeking for the 
mystery of self-existence’ and thus analyze the 
philosophy of nihilism to finally declare ‘no emptiness I 
accept’. 

The thinking of the sky causes human sight come back. 
But why
Does the flight of human knowledge go to tumble down 
on some waterless 
Gray gravelly planet? Actually, human knowledge does 
not want to 
Float in the emptiness. Does not want to dissolve in the 
endlessness.
All sorts of knowledge need shelter. Wants to stand on 
some supports. As
I am holding you in the void of the domesticity. You
Are neither the Venus nor the Mars. But for poetry’s 
support
An enchanting satellite you are. You or a whole planet.

The thought of the heaven naturally absorbs me now. 
You know
I don’t accept the logic of being perished, being vanished
Or being dissolved. My spiritual sense has so 
strengthened
The confidence of my being imperishable that sometimes 
I feel
Maybe I don’t need to depend on you.
No emptiness I accept. No dissolution. For before my eyes
I see my eternal home. The vital force of my
Love is the desire for getting you back over there. 

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