'I Sing Slowly': Two new poems by Tarzina Khatun

Oxford Writers' HouseRe-fresh2017February'I Sing Slowly': Two new poems by Tarzina Khatun

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'I Sing Slowly': Two new poems by Tarzina Khatun

Tarzina Khatun (second from left) reading her poetry at the Refugee Studies Centre (Oxford), in January. Photo by Theophilus Kwek. 


This week, we're very proud to present two pieces by the talented young poet, Tarzina Khatun, winner of her category in the Cheltenham Literature Festival's Poetry Competition in 2015. Having lived in Bangladesh in her early childhood, Tarzina draws on both her national backgrounds in her writing, and has been praised for her 'use of senses and concrete detail' - a soulful and 'believable voice'.

- Theophilus Kwek, Publications Director 

Ghazal: World 

I sing slowly, to the curved ears of the world

I sing slowly, to the curved ears of the world,
until the end of the song, it becomes my world. 

I sing to the fuchsia roses, touching waxy petals of flesh. 
I do so as they release their potency into my unimposing world. 

The song I sing blushes as the sun sets, where the creamy sky softens, 
until the dark void of space and the sky becomes one world. 

I sing so that I may conceal my wounds with soft fleece, like the skin 
floating in warm milk, until all is but a secret in this world. 

I sing so that crackling tumbleweed transforms into coarse coconut hair, 
so that I, Tarzina, poet, can make my mark on this world.


Ship 1971 

How small waves would give her blue kisses. 

There she lies; marooned 
in the sombre eeriness,
with dark oaky dimples. 

The seagulls peck at her,
peeling away her rotten woody cheeks.
She doesn't mind.

And as they jab at her glory days, 
removing her salty sea-water flesh,
she recalls her years out at sea. 

How small waves would give her blue kisses. 
Those bitterly cold nights
in the dark north. 

She has nostalgic memories of her days 
conjoined to the right. 
Living in harmony with her sister. 

Those days enclosing 
the bright coloured spicy dust 
and freshness of exotic fruit. 

She remembers her last voyage of liberation, 
how she'd carried farmers, soldiers, 
teachers, scholars, writers and poets. 
All of whom took arms. 

And then the following months, 
when blue kisses succumbed to large tempests,
and became beasts. 

When those men who died proudly 
for their mother tongue 
were shot mercilessly into the abyss. 



Tarzina Khatun

Tarzina Khatun

Tarzina Khatun is an 18-year-old poet who has immersed herself in writing from the age of 13. Since then, her work has been published in 6 anthologies, and it has helped her speak openly about the politics of her home country. Being a dual-nationality writer means that she can play on the distinction of the two lives she has led and can write personally about them.

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