Ink On My Face, Ink On My Hands
by Kazi Nazrul Islam


there's ink on my hands, ink on my hands
ink on my face, Goddess
the neighbors laugh

my education amounts to nothing ...

I see "ShyaMa" in the letter "M"
and Kali in the letter "K"
and I dance and clap my hands

only my tears multiply when my eyes
see the black marks in the times-tables

I love not the alphabet's shades of sound
your beautiful black is not among them

but Goddess, in the leaves in the forest
in the waters of the sea and in the sky
I can read every word you write

let them call me illiterate.


Kazi Nazrul Islam was the National Poet of Bangladesh

he was both a Sufi and a Shakta and venerated Fatima and Kali as theaphanies of the Great Goddess in his poetry and song

he makes extensive use of wordplay to bring out the subliminal connections between the visual language alive in words and makes references to the cross-cultural Hurufi mystery tradition that has survived in certain Sufi communities




Shyama .:. श्यामा .:. means "dark blue or black" and is one of the names of Kali and also that of the Great Goddess of the Jains


Loading more stuff…

Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?

Loading videos…