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Of tree and birds

Next door to me lives a tree, tall and darkly handsome, almost a forest with its branches and twigs, leaves and foliage, like a green lake in midsummer sun. My neighbor is generous. Birds, centipedes, insects, mossy creepers and stars live with him, yet he is partial to the birds. When darkness gathers deep, he worries. One bird has not returned. He knows some birds do not come back, like leaves, when torn, will fly away. But the little bird-eggs glowing like glow worms get wet in the first rains. The stars embrace them when darkness sets in, the slender leaves shrink under the dense clouds. These days my neighbor is sad and morose. Birds drift in the sky and nest in the tree, tree with wide arms protecting them as the river holds tiny fish in the caverns of her womb. But the birds love color and the singing birds, the song. When trees are leafless or leaves pale and brown, when music ceases in the sky, some birds leave their nests and fly away. Birds, like rivers, come back home, but some birds lose their way leaving no address behind. Birds, like rivers . . . Tree branches whistling in the breeze, dancing waves and wildflowers, fish with pollen on their fins. Morning leaves dew drops in the eyes of birds, sun dries them up. Earth and water burn. Birds leave the tree sad as sunset, birds leave their nests and fly away. When darkness and clouds gather in the sky, mother bird waits with food in her beak. Little fish tremble as birds penetrate the darkness -- beyond the clouds there is light and color. Birds returning home like rivers, the waterfall of birds cools the sky. Trees sing and shimmer but some birds do not leave any address behind. Some birds fly too far away and do not come back. The author is Ambassador of Bangladesh in Washington, D.C. The translation is by him and Naomi Shihab Nye.

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