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« on: Feb 17, 2008 12:15 PM »


Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911 - 1984)


was the most important poet of Pakistan and of the Urdu language in the twentieth century and widely admired through the Islamic world. Born to a wealthy family in the Punjab, he received an excellent education in both English and Arabic literature. During the 1930's, he became involved in the Socialist movement and acquired the political views which were to be of fundamental importance throughout the rest of his life. After serving in the British army during the Second World War, he moved with his family to Pakistan after the Partition in 1947 and become editor of a leftist newspaper, The Pakistan Times. He was arrested and imprisoned in 1951 after being accused of participating in a left-wing plot to overthrow the government; he spent four years, mostly in solitary confinement under the threat of execution. Freed and returned to his position at The Pakistan Times in 1955, he was again removed and reimprisoned in 1958, then freed again and named Pakistan's most important poet by the very government which had imprisoned him. After winning the Soviet Lenin Peace Prize in 1962, he enjoyed wide-spread recognition. He was named chairman of the National Council of Arts but exiled when that Pakistani government fell, living in exile in Beirut for a number of years where he become especially beloved by the Palestinians who saw their struggles as much as Pakistan's in his poetry. He was finally able to return to Pakistan in the 1980's, where he died in 1984.


From the very beginning, Faiz's poetry drew on the tradtion of Urdu love poetry, as a poem like "Last Night" makes clear:

Last Night



At night my lost memory of you returned


and I was like the empty field where springtime,
without being noticed, is bringing flowers;

I was like the desert over which
the breeze moves gently, with great care;

I was like the dying patient
who, for no reason, smiles.

(Translated by Agha Shahid Ali)


"The Day Death Comes" illustrates the complex relationship that can exist between the lover and the beloved:

The Day Death Comes

How will it be, the day death comes?
Perhaps like the gift at the beginning of night,
the first kiss on the lips given unasked,
the kiss that opens the way to brilliant worlds
while, in the distance, an April of nameless flowers
agitates the moon's heart.


Perhaps in this way: when the morning,
green with unopened buds, begins to shimmer
in the bedroom of the beloved,
and the tinkle of stars as they rush to depart
can be heard on the silent windows.


What will it be like, the day death comes?
Perhaps like a vein screaming
with the premonition of pain
under the edge of a knife, while a shadow,
the assassin holding the knife,
spreads out with a wingspan
from one end of the world to the other.


No matter when death comes, or how,
even though in the guise of the disdainful beloved
who is always cold,
there will be the same words of farewell to the heart:
"thank God it is finished, the night of the broken-hearted.
Praise be to the meeting of lips,
the honeyed lips I have known."


(Translated by Naomi Lazard)


But early on Faiz felt the need of extending his poetry to deal with more than the traditional subjects of love:


"Don't Ask Me for That Love Again"


That which then was ours, my love,
don't ask me for that love again.
The world was then gold, burnished with light --
and only because of you. That what I had believed.
How could one weep for sorrows other than yours?
How could one have any sorrow but the one you gave?
So what were these protests, these rumors of injustice?
A glimpse of your face was evidence of springtime.
The sky, wherever I looked, was nothing but your eyes.
If you'd fall in my arms, Fate would be helpless.


All this I'd thought, all this I'd believed.
But there were other sorrows, comforts other than love.
The rich had cast their spell on history:
dark centuries had been embroidered on brocades and silks
Bitter threads began to unravel before me
as I went into alleys and in open markets
saw bodies plastered with ash, bathed in blood.
I saw them sold and bought, again and again.
This too deserves attention. I can't help but look back
when I return from those alleys -- what should one do?
There are other sorrows in this world,
comforts other than love.
Don't ask me, my love, for that love again.


(Translated by Agha Shahid Ali)


But his resolution to this conflict -- whether to choose the traditional subject of the beloved or the subject of political and social activism -- is not the expected one "Don't Ask Me for That Love Again" seems to suggest; rather than abandoning the traditions of romantic poetry, Faiz transforms them so that the "Beloved" becomes not just a woman but Pakistan itself, represented by the "city of lights" in the poem of that name:


"City of Lights"


On each patch of green, from one shade to the next,
the noon is erasing itself by wiping out all color,
becoming pale, desolation everywhere,
the poison of exile painted on the walls.
In the distance,
there are terrible sorrows, like tides:
they draw back, swell, become full, subside.
They've turned the horizon to mist.
And behind that mist is the city of lights,
my city of many lights.


How will I return to you, my city,
where is the road to your lights? My hopes
are in retreat, exhausted by these unlit, broken walls,
and my heart, their leader, is in terrible doubt.


But let all be well, my city, if under
cover of darkness, in a final attack,
my heart leads its reserves of longings
and storms you tonight. Just tell all your lovers
to turn the wicks of their lamps high
so that I may find you, Oh, city,
my city of many lights.

(Translated by Agha Shahid Ali)


This is Faiz's great innovation and contribution to the long tradition of Urdu poetry -- to extend its subject matter to include the political and social within the context of the romantic poetry of the beloved.


Faiz also wrote powerfully of his experiences in prison in a number of his finest poems, such as "A Prison Evening":

A Prison Evening

Each star a rung,
night comes down the spiral
staircase of the evening.
The breeze passes by so very close
as if someone had just happened to speak of love.
In the courtyard,
the trees are absorbed refugees
embroidering maps of return on the sky.
On the roof,
the moon -- lovingly, generously --
is turning the stars
into a dust of sheen.
From every corner, dark-green shadows,
in ripples, come towards me.
At any moment they may break over me,
like the waves of pain each time I remember
this separation from my lover.

This thought keeps consoling me:
though tyrants may command that lamps be smashed
in rooms where lovers are destined to meet,
they cannot snuff out the moon, so today,
nor tomorrow, no tyranny will succeed,
no poison of torture make me bitter,
if just one evening in prison
can be so strangely sweet,
if just one moment anywhere on this earth.

(Translated by Agha Shahid Ali)

Nor does he ever lose hope that things will become better for his beloved, his country, and that he and his suffering will have a part in making a better world come about:

"August 1952"


It's still distant, but there are hints of springtime:
some flowers, aching to bloom, have torn open their collars.

In this era of autumn, almost winter, leaves can still be heard:
their dry orchestras play, hidden in corners of the garden.

Night is still where it was, but colors at times take flight,
leaving red feathers of dawn on the sky.

Don't regret our breath's use as air, our blood's as oil --
some lamps at last are burning in the night.

Tilt your cup, don't hesitate! Having given up all,
we don't need wine. We've freed ourselves, made Time irrelevant.


When imprisoned man opens his eyes, cages will dissolve: air, fire,
water, earth -- all have pledged such dawns, such gardens to him.

Your feet bleed, Faiz, something surely will bloom
as you water the desert simply by walking through it.

(Translated by Agha Shahid Ali)

What must never be forgotten, however, is the suffering of the nameless:

"In Search of Vanished Blood"

There's no sign of blood, not anywhere.
I've searched everywhere.
The executioner's hands are clean, his nails transparent.
The sleeves of each assassin are spotless.
No sign of blood: no trace of red,
not on the edge of the knife, none on the point of the sword.
The ground is without stains, the ceiling white.

The blood which has disappeared without leaving a trace
isn't part of written history: who will guide me to it?
It wasn't spilled in service of emperors --
-- it earned no honor, had no wish granted.
It wasn't offered in rituals of sacrifice --
-- no cup of absolution holds it in a temple.
It wasn't shed in any battle --
-- no one calligraphed it on banners of victory.

But, unheard, it still kept crying out to be heard.
No one had the time to listen, no one the desire.
It kept crying out, this orphan blood,
but there was no witness. No case was filed.
From the beginning this blood was nourished only by dust.
Then it turned to ashes, left no trace, became food for dust.

(Translated by Agha Shahid Ali)

Finally, Faiz seems to recognize that there is no overwhelming once-for-all victory in the struggle, nor is there any one individual who can lead the way and solve all the problems; instead, there is an ongoing process and a succession of individuals who contribute what they can, a process which never ends:

"You Tell Us What To Do"


When we launched life
on the river of grief,
how vital were our arms, how ruby our blood.
With a few strokes, it seemed,
we would cross all pain,
we would soon disembark.
That didn't happen.
In the stillness of each wave we found invisible currents.
The boatmen, too, were unskilled,
their oars untested.
Investigate the matter as you will,
blame whomever, as much as you want,
but the river hasn't changed,
the raft is still the same.
Now you suggest what's to be done,
you tell us how to come ashore.

When we saw the wounds of our country
appear on our skins,
we believed each word of the healers.
Besides, we remembered so many cures,
it seemed at any moment
all troubles would end, each wound would heal completely.
That didn't happen: our ailments
were so many, so deep within us
that all diagnoses proved false, each remedy useless.
Now do whatever, follow each clue,
accuse whomever, as much as you will,
our bodies are still the same,
our wounds still open.
Now tell us what we should do,
you tell us how to heal these wounds.

(Translated by Agha Shahid Ali)
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 17, 2008 12:15 PM »

Do not grieve.

      Do not grieve

            This pain will cease.

            Friends will return

            Wounds will heal

Do not grieve.

      Do not grieve.

            Day will dawn.

            Night will end.

            Clouds will burst.

Do not Grieve.

      Do not grieve.

            Times will change.

            Birds will sing.

            Spring will come.

Do not grieve.

      Do not grieve.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Translated by Daud Kamal

From a newly published book: O City of Lights [named after one of Faiz's poems]
Selected and Edited by Khalid Hasan



Rise now from the dust
My darling young one. Wake.
Wake now. Wake now.
We've your life's bed to make.

Look how the dark night
Comes wrapped in a long blue shawl
Where these crying eyes
Have heaped up pearls—
So many pearls whose light
Casts on your wedding rite
A shimmering tonight
To brighten your name.

Rise now from the ground
My darling young one. Wake.
Wake now. Wake now
While in every house is gold new dawn
But at ours a pitch-dark yard.

Wanton, heroic, how long
Has your young bride to wait
Knowing your time is come?
Look, there is work to be done.
The enemy lords over the throne
And you lie in the dust, young one.
Rise from the ground. Wake.
Don't leave. Rise from the dust.
Wake, my darling young one.

Faiz, 'Lament for a Soldier'




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« Reply #2 on: Feb 17, 2008 12:15 PM »

Be Near Me

You who demolish me, you whom I love,
be near me. Remain near me when evening,
drunk on the blood of the skies,
becomes night, in its one hand
a perfumed balm, in the other
a sword sheathed in the diamond of stars.

Be near me when night laments or sings,
or when it begins to dance,
its steel-blue anklets ringing with grief.

Be here when longings, long submerged
in the heart's waters, resurface
and when everyone begins to look:
Where is the assassin? In whose sleeve
is hidden the redeeming knife?

And when wine, as it is poured, is the sobbing
of children whom nothing will console -
when nothing holds,
when nothing is:
at that dark hour when night mourns,
be near me, my destroyer, my lover,
be near me.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz 'Be Near Me'

Pass Raho
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/mbrs/master/salrp/08216.mp3

tum mere paas raho
mere qaatil, mere dildaar, mere paas raho
jis gha.Dii raat chale
aasamaano.n kaa lahuu pii kar siyah raat chale
marham-e-mushk liye nashtar-e-almaas chale
bain karatii hu_ii, ha.Nsatii hu_ii, gaatii nikale
dard kii kaasanii paazeb bajaatii nikale
jis gha.Dii siino.n me.n Duubate huye dil
aastiino.nme.n nihaa.N haatho.n kii rah takane nikale
aas liye
aur bachcho.n ke bilakhane kii tarah qul-qul-e-may
bahr-e-naasudagii machale to manaaye na mane
jab ko_ii baat banaaye na bane
jab na ko_ii baat chale
jis gha.Dii raat chale
jis gha.Dii maatamii, sun-saan, siyah raat chale
paas raho
mere qaatil, mere dildaar, mere paas raho
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 17, 2008 12:16 PM »

The light of spring seems possible
for a few buds have begun to blossom,
and though dark autumn is still the ruler,
nature's music fills garden corners.

Night's inky darkness seems unchanging,
but the colors of dawn do slowly appear,
and though our life's blood has fuelled the flames,
a few lamps have lit this gathering.

Hold your heads high for having lost all,
we are now indifferent to the whims of fate -
the caged people will wake at this dawn,
which has grown from a hint to a promise.

Though this desert remains barren, Faiz,
the blood from your feet has flooded a few cactii.

Faiz, August, '52
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« Reply #4 on: Feb 17, 2008 12:17 PM »

The crowd gathers to listen on judgement day
As I am accused of loving you;
The spirit of drunkards sets the tavern aflame
Though no alcohol lights the fire.

Having laid a Silent City all around
What does the tyrant's sword seek now?
His game of swords and daggers
Finds its resolution in my blood.

Bring me the order for my execution, I too want to see
Whose seals does the head of my death-warrant bear?

Faiz, 'The Order of My Execution'
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 17, 2008 12:18 PM »

My pain, an unsung song
my being, mere dust.
When my pain is heard,
my life would have a meaning
and when I find out how
I’d know how this world works.

When I'm heard --
it'd be happiness
worth the riches of the worlds.

FAIZ



 think in my heart,
Life is so sweet now
that those who want to mix
oppression in it
will succeed
neither today nor tomorrow.
Even if they can snuff out
our candles of love,
let’s see if they can snuff out the moon !

FAIZ
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« Reply #6 on: Feb 17, 2008 12:18 PM »

Everything about you,
I wove into my poetry,
all I had to say was yours.

Metaphors for color, fragrance,
beauty and goodness,
all about you.

Before you and your promises
I was supported by other things.
When I count the jewels
your pain endowed my heart
all the stars in the sky
fall in my lap.
I pray for her long life,
though she wasn't quite mine....

Faiz, liberal translation


What other road could I’ve taken?
Thorns were strewn on each !

Relationships over,
friends of centuries
gone one by one,
alone,
whichever road and
whatever direction I took
my feet were bloodied.

Those who see me
wonder what am I trying to imply
by coloring my feet ?
They used to say
why am I complaining
needlessly
about the loss of friendship;
Go, wash my feet.

Where these road end
hundreds more will open up,
keep your spirit up
your heart will blunt
hundreds of swords !

Faiz, liberal translation
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 17, 2008 12:19 PM »

Last night
you sneaked into my thoughts
like the Spring quietly took over wasteland
like a breeze softly through a desert
like sudden solace to the sick,
for no reason.

Tonight,
don't touch the sad chords
No need to recall the travails now
No need to complain, let it to the fate
No need to think of the future (hell with it!)
No need to cry over the past
All pain and grief end somehow.

Don’t play on the sad chords again,
tonight.

FAIZ AHMED FAIZ
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 17, 2008 12:20 PM »

Come, I have heard the ecstasy of your drum –
Come, the beating of my blood has become mad –
‘Come, Africa!’
Come, I have lifted my forehead from the dust –
Come, I have scraped from my eyes the skin of grief –
Come, I have released my arm from pain –
Come, I have clawed through the snare of helplessness –
‘Come, Africa!’

In my grasp a link of the manacle has become a mace,
I have broken the iron-collar on my neck and moulded it into a shield –
‘Come, Africa!’

The earth is throbbing along with me, Africa,
The river dances and the forest beats time;
I am Africa; I have taken your figure
I am you; my walk is your lion walk:
‘Come Africa!’
Come with lion walk –
‘Come, Africa!’

Faiz Ahmed Faiz


Speak up,
your voice is free
Speak up, open your mouth
Speak up, you're a free man
Speak up, you are your own person
your life's your own.
Look at the darting flame
and the red-hot iron at a blacksmith's,
locks are unlocked, closed mouths open
and the links in the chain cracks open.
Speak up, the moment is not just a brief moment,
speak before you die, your voice dies
Speak up, the truth is still here, alive
Speak up, speak up,
no matter what, you got to speak up.

FAIZ AHMED FAIZ
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« Reply #9 on: Feb 17, 2008 12:20 PM »

The one in whom are hidden oceans of happiness
a beauty in whose desire are hidden many Edens
Thousands of conflicts lie under her feet
her every glance, intoxicated youth
her youth, lighning to the imagintion
her sedate presence sought by playfulness
a turn of her ankle, many a Doomsday
her cheeks worth more than morning prayer
her hair, full of fragrant promises
languid relief of long nights
Over the shape of her eyes, God could gloat
to eulogize, poetry lacks the power
clothes feel proud to drape her
prayers use her tall frame
A traveler passed this way once
with great prid and pomp
this traveler, lovely and kind
her every fiber, words dipped in wine.
Air is filled with her movements
and her soft quiet voice,
this beauty, now a part of the scenic route
to honor the love, now a play to pray

FAIZ AHMED FAIZ liberal translation
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« Reply #10 on: Feb 17, 2008 12:25 PM »

Today,
don’t ask, friends,
how far away are the days
of happiness,
of laughing, singing
of loving and falling in love ?

Today,
don’t ask, friends,
how many more wounds lie in store
for the sufferers
how many more wildernesses
before the destination
how many more arrows
in the hand of despots ?

Today
is damned, my friends,
caravans of old scars
of pain and sorrow
touch the heart
and every bone cries out
for peace, for mercy.

Today,
don’t ask, friends,
when the stains of your blood
will be seen on the face of
the last sun
when the Grim Reaper will help you
cross the ocean of blood
and cleanse you of the sorrows
of today.

FAIZ AHMED FAIZ
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« Reply #11 on: Feb 17, 2008 12:27 PM »

When will this pain stop, my dear heart,
when will this night end ?
I had heard she was to come,
the day will break !

When will this life have life
when will this tear become a pearl
when these misty eyes will be happy
when will the spring come
when will the wine flow
When will we be free to talk
When will we begin to see ?

No preacher, hermit, advisor or despot,
how will we survive in this place ?
How long shall I wait, my friend,
when is the Doomsday ?
You must have some idea ...

FAIZ AHMED FAIZ
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« Reply #12 on: Feb 17, 2008 12:33 PM »

A few more days, my friend,
just a few more days,
we’ll have to live under this oppression
let's put up with it a little longer (We can't cry);
such is our sad heritage, how helpless we feel !

People in prisons, emotions in chains,
thought held captive, speech not free
but we still live on ...
our life, a beggar’s tattered clothes
patched constantly with pain.

But the days of oppression are numbered,
few are also the pleas for more patience.

We live this burnt-out life --
we don’t have to, not this way !
We submit to strangers' limitless oppression --
we may do it today, but not forever.

Your beauty smeared by relentless sorrow;
our youth, short-lived and defeated;
pangs of the starry nights;
helpless throbs of the heart,
dejected cries of the body ...

For a few more days, my friend,
just a few more days !!

FAIZ AHMED FAIZ liberal translation


Don’t ask me, sweetheart, for the love we had before.

I knew you were the source of my happiness;
I didn’t need other worries when I had you to worry about.

It was you who made the world look so young
What else is there for me but your eyes.

If ever I find you, I'd have the destiny in my hand.
This was not to be, though I’d wanted it so much.

The world has many other woes, besides our love,
many other delights besides our togetherness.
Dark suspicions of centuries
are woven into the rich fabric of life.

Bodies, smeared in dirt and blood,
are sold everywhere.

I can't say why my eyes turn to this
I know you’re still beautiful, but what can I say
the world has many more woes, besides our love,
many more delights besides our togetherness.

Don’t ask, sweetheart, for the love we had before !

FAIZ AHMED FAIZ Liberal Translation
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« Reply #13 on: Feb 17, 2008 12:37 PM »

So much politeness, yet we remain strangers;
how many meetings till we are again lovers?
How long before we see a spring of unsullied green?
How many rains before the blood stains wash away?
Heartless were the moments ending the pain of our love,
Lightless were the mornings following life-giving nights.
I longed to beg forgiveness, even complain as lovers do,
but my heart's crushing defeat gave me no respite.
What I had gone to say, Faiz, risking all -
remained unsaid when all else was done.

FAIZ ['On My Return from Dacca (1974)'; written after the 1971 war between then East and West Pakistan, which ended with the East part becoming free as Bangladesh]


Wet eyes and a crazed will are not enough;
Nor are accusations of a furtive love;
Stride in the bazaar today, shackles on your feet.
Stride with arms spread open and in wild abandon;
Stride with dust-covered hair and blood-stained shirt;
Stride, all the beloved city watches the road.
The official and the commoner;
Sad mornings and barren days;
Arrows of slander and stones of insult.
Who but we can be their companion?
Who in the beloved town remains free of guilt?
Who remains worthy of the killer's hand?
Broken-hearted ones, prepare to leave;
Let us stride to meet our death today.

Faiz ['Shackles on Your Feet' written in Lahore Jail on 11 February, 1959]
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2008 05:55 AM »

My helpmate, My friend

If I were certain of this, my helpmate, my friend
If I could be certain that the weariness of your heart
The sadness of your eyes, the fever in your breast
Would be erased by my consoling, my love
If my reassuring words were the cure by which
Your empty, lampless brain should rise again
Your forehead be washed clean of these stains of humiliation
Your feverish youth be healed
If I were certain of this, my helpmate, my friend
Day and night, dusk and dawn I would comfort you
I would sing light-hearted sweet songs to you
Songs of waterfalls, of springs, of meadows
Songs of dawn, of moonlight, of planets
I would tell stories of beauty and devotion
How the ice-like bodies of proud beauties
Melt in the passion of warm hands
How one's once fixed familiar face
Upon gazing on it unexpectedly changes
How the transparent crystal of the beloved's cheek
Suddenly goes aflame from a ruby red glow
Or the way a rose bows herself before its plucker
Or the way the expanse of night is fragrant
I would keep singing, keep singing for your sake
I would keep weaving melodies while sitting, for your sake
But my songs are not the elixir to your sorrows
Melody is no surgeon, be it consoling and sympathetic
Nor is it a lancet, be it a balm for illness
There is no escape for your illness, save for the lancet
And this murderer-messiah is not in my possession
Nor is it in that of any living soul in this world
yes! except for you, yourself, yourself
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« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2008 12:35 PM »

Assalamo elikuim
Faiz Ahmed Faiz is one of my favourite poets(Bahadur Shah Zafar is also in that group Smiley )
Jannah are you reading his poetry in Urdu ?

Wasalam
tq
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« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2008 05:43 PM »

wsalaam,

no that kind of literary urdu is way too hard, but the translations are not so bad Wink
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« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2008 09:15 AM »

WHEN AUTUMN CAME

This is the way that autumn came to the trees:
it stripped them down to the skin,
left their ebony bodies naked.
It shook out their hearts, the yellow leaves,
scattered them over the ground.
Anyone could trample them out of shape
undisturbed by a single moan of protest.

The birds that herald dreams
were exiled from their song,
each voice torn out of its throat.
They dropped into the dust
even before the hunter strung his bow.

Oh, God of May have mercy.
Bless these withered bodies
with the passion of your resurrection;
make their dead veins flow with blood again.

Give some tree the gift of green again.
Let one bird sing.

               (translated by Naomi Lazard)
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« Reply #18 on: Aug 21, 2008 12:08 PM »

THE DAY DEATH COMES

How will it be, the day death comes?
Perhaps like the gift at the beginning of night,
the first kiss on the lips given unasked,
the kiss that opens the way to brilliant worlds
while, in the distance, an April of nameless flowers
          agitates the moon's heart.


Perhaps in this way: when the morning,
green with unopened buds, begins to shimmer
in the bedroom of the beloved,
and the tinkle of stars as they rush to depart
can be heard on the silent windows.


What will it be like, the day death comes?
Perhaps like a vein screaming
with the premonition of pain
under the edge of a knife, while a shadow,
the assassin holding the knife,
spreads out with a wingspan
            from one end of the world to the other.


No matter when death comes, or how,
even though in the guise of the disdainful beloved
          who is always cold,
there will be the same words of farewell to the heart:
"Thank God it is finished, the night of the broken-hearted.
Praise be to the meeting of lips,
the honeyed lips I have known."



(Translated by Naomi Lazard)

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« Reply #19 on: Dec 02, 2008 11:38 PM »

A Prison Evening

Each star a rung,
night comes down the spiral
staircase of the evening.
The breeze passes by so very close
as if someone just happened to speak of love.
In the courtyard,
the trees are absorbed refugees
embroidering maps of return on the sky.
On the roof,
the moon - lovingly, generously -
is turning the stars
into a dust of sheen.
From every corner, dark-green shadows,
in ripples, come towards me.
At any moment they may break over me,
like the waves of pain each time I remember
this separation from my lover.

This thought keeps consoling me:
though tyrants may command that lamps be smashed
in rooms where lovers are destined to meet,
they cannot snuff out the moon, so today,
nor tomorrow, no tyranny will succeed,
no poison of torture make me bitter,
if just one evening in prison
can be so strangely sweet,
if just one moment anywhere on this earth.

    -- Faiz Ahmed Faiz
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« Reply #20 on: Dec 03, 2008 12:26 AM »


Tanhaa’i

Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Listen (to Faiz read) http://lcweb2.loc.gov/mbrs/master/salrp/08202.mp3

phir ko’ii aayaa, dil-e-zaar! nahiin, ko’ii nahiin;
raah-rau hogaa, kahiin aur chalaa jaaegaa.
dhal chukii raat, bikharne lagaa taaron kaa ghubaar,
larkharaane lage aiwaanon mein khwaabiida charaagh,
so ga’ii raasta tak takke har ek rah guzaar;
ajnabi khaak ne dhundlaa diye qadmon ke suraagh.

gul karo shamiin, barhaa do mai-o-miinaa-o-ayaagh,
apne be khwaab kivaaron ko muqaffal kar lo;
ab yahaan ko’ii nahiin, ko’ii nahiin aayega!


Solitude


Someone, finally, is here! No, unhappy heart, no one -
just a passerby on his way.
The night has surrendered
to clouds of scattered stars.
The lamps in the hall waver.
Having listened with longing for steps,
the roads too are fast asleep.
A strange dust has buried every footprint.

Blow out the lamps, break the glasses, erase
all memory of wine. Heart,
bolt forever your sleepless doors,
tell every dream that knocks to go away.
No one, now no one will ever return.

Tr. by Agha Shahid Ali
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« Reply #21 on: Mar 30, 2009 07:44 PM »

Dasht-e-Tanhaai

dasht-e-tanhaai mein, ai jaan-e-jahaan, larzaan hain
In the desert of my solitude, oh love of my life, quiver
teri avaaz ke saaye,
the shadows of your voice,
tere honthon ke saraab
the mirage of your lips

dasht-e-tanhaai mein,
In the desert of my solitude,
duri ke khas-o-khaak tale
beneath the dust and ashes of distance
khil rahe hain tere pehlu ke saman aur gulaab
bloom the jasmines and roses of your proximity

uht rahi hai kahin qurbat se
From somewhere very close,
teri saans ki aanch
rises the warmth of your breath
apani khushbuu mein sulagti hui
smouldering in its own aroma,
maddham maddham
slowly, bit by bit.

dur ufaq par chamakati hui
far away, across the horizon, glistens

qatra qatra
drop by drop
gir rahi hai teri dil daar nazar ki shabnam
the falling dew of your beguiling glance

is qadar pyaar se hai jaan-e jahaan rakkhaa hai
With such tenderness, O love of my life,
dil ke rukhsaar pe
on the cheek of my heart,

is vaqt teri yaad ne haath
has your memory placed its hand right now

yun guman hota hai
that it looks as if
garche hai abhi subah-e-firaaq
(though it’s still the dawn of adieu)
dhal gaya hijr ka din
the sun of separation has set
aa bhi gaye vasl ki raat
and the night of union has arrived.

- Faiz Ahmed Faiz

(Translated by Ayesha Kaljuvee)
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