Buoy the population of the soul
Toward their destination before they drown
~ Robert Pinsky
February 2021
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Ghazal - Momin Khan Momin

The harmony that was in you, and was in me, perhaps you remember it, or not
That to which we were to be faithful, perhaps you remember it, or not

Those overtures in general, those hands of kindness over mine,
Everything I remember, a little - perhaps you remember too, or not

Once there was desire in you and me, just as once there was a road between us
Once we were completely lost in each other - perhaps you remember this, or not?

Translated, approximately, from the Urdu

Watch Nayyara Noor's searing performance of this famous ghazal


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Another Sher Remembered

For Beloved' street, so much longing,
and in my dejection's blood, this drowning.

Note: Remembered this sher from a Mir's ghazal as I was eating dinner yesterday


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Ghazal - Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Another empty evening dissolves in shadows of a fading sun.
And soon from a bath of moonlight will rise another clear night.
Once again these closed eyes will open in eagerness.
Once again these longing hands will entwine with yours.

Is that the brocade of your dress or the radiance of your face?
It must be something for the curtains are all ablaze.
And aren't those your dense tresses, in whose shadows
the moon hides, and burns its body in solitary yearning?

And again tonight, your beauty in full effulgence
And from your dreamy eyes, highways of antimony.
And on your face, the rosy dew just before daybreak.
And on your hands, sandalwood, mandalas in henna.

Such is the subject of this verse, of these thoughts.
Such is the fate of another of these doomed poets.
What other subject should be the subject of these conversations?
To what other kingdom should the mind travel to but the beloved's?

Is that the warm smell of blood or the fragrance of the beloved's lips?
Someone go and report back from which direction the wind blows today.
Do you also feel spring, do you also sense a resurrection of the estranged?
Someone go and find out who is the fool that sings such serenades today.

Translated from the Urdu of "Gul Hui Jaati Hai"

Note: I find it extremely hard to translate the musicality inherent in Faiz's verse. In particular, this ghazal more than others has been daunting, mainly because it reads, in the beginning, as an over the top love poem, with all those moons and such. Yet its power, if you will, resides entirely in its finish, with its inversion.


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