Poetry Friday

UNDER THIS SKY

There’s an enormous comfort knowing
we all live under this same sky,
whether in New York or Dhaka,
we see the same sun and same moon.

When it is night in New York,
the sun shines in Dhaka,
but that doesn’t matter.
Flowers that blossom here in spring
are unknown in meadows of distant Bengal —
that too doesn’t matter.
There’s no rainy season here —
the peasant in Bengal welcomes the new crop
with homemade sweets
while here, winter brings mountains of snow.

No one here knows Grandmother’s hand-sewn quilt —
even that doesn’t matter.
There’s an enormous comfort knowing
we all live under this same sky.

The Hudson River freezes,
automobiles can’t move.
Slowly city workers will remove the snow.
The old lady next door won’t go to work —
it’s too cold.
Maybe my old mother far away
will also enter her kitchen late.
Naked trees in Central Park and Ramna Park
quiver with dreams of new life and love.

Fog hangs on the horizon —
suddenly New York, Broadway, and Times Square
look dimly like Dhaka, Buriganga, and Laxmi Bazaar.

Zia Hyder
Bangladesh
Translated by Bhabani Sengupta with Naomi Shihab Nye

I shared this poem with my student teachers this summer (who, in turn, shared it with 4th graders), and came across it today as I was preparing course materials for the coming semester. It is from Naomi Shihab Nye’s beautiful anthology This Same Sky. Let’s hope for a peaceful year ahead.

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