parable illegit

protector of secrets1, harbinger, truth-in-stain 
      as the scream that wills 
      as a parable illegit as a mountain-stone
      rolling threads of incomprehension
      So that in the depths of the darkest night
      The sun shines forever a

tell us that story again2, of the flow and its night
      as the sandgrain that wills
      as a parable illegit as a mountain-stone
      rolling waves of inconstancy
      So that in the depths of the darkest night
      The sun shines forever 

worshiping love alone3, subsisting in subsistence 
     alone, so that in the depths 
     of the darkest night, the sun shines 
     forever - harbinger, truth-in-stain
     parable illegit as a mountain-stone, I,
     sandgrain, subsist, scream -

qudrat ke puraane bhedoN may jo bhaid chhupaae chhup na sakay, is bhaid ki tu rakhwaali hai

– from ‘haraami’ by Meeraji

So that in the depths of the darkest night
The sun shines forever

– from ‘Songs That Cannot Be Silenced’ by Hien Luong from Vietnam

puraani kahaani may kya lutf aae, hamay aaj kis nay kaha tha — puraani kahaani sunaao

– from ‘aik thee aurat’ by Meeraji

jo chaahay reet ki baat kahay, hum peet hi ke matwaalay haiN

– from ‘haraami’ by Meeraji

10 comments on “parable illegit

  1. I see a ghazal almost.

  2. But then, not really. But one to come back to.

    • huzaifazoom says:

      Thanks 🙂

      Since you mention ghazal… in mere form, the ghazal is innocuous, but in its fealty to a consistent set of themes, it has been hostage to a much longer classical Urdu romantic poetic tradition going back to the likes of Ghalib and Meer (at least). A minority opinion – to which I subscribe – is deeply suspicious of that tradition.

      Meeraji and N.M Rashid are considered to be the pioneers of experimentation in Urdu free verse. But Meeraji’s spirit goes a few leaps further than most when it comes to deshackling.

      And these days, I am trying to come to terms with just what he might have unleashed.

      • I read up about Meeraji after your previous post introduced him. I can’t find any of his poems translated into English. The atmosphere would probably be lost if it was. I reminded myself just now of what I read before and he’s firmly placed as the Woman Pirate in my mind. He invented himself. Tragic how he died. I enjoy the repetitions of both the Ghazal and the Pantoum, the song-like qualities. I look forward to the next unpacking of the guy’s work.

      • huzaifazoom says:

        Woman Pirate is so apt..

        I came across Geeta Patel’s work ( Her take on Miraji is fascinating, but I find her language very academic and difficult to understand. But skimming through her work did help in refamiliarizing myself with Miraji.

        I am wary of all translation. Hopefully, I would be able to bring out some of his fire in my follow up pieces.

        Thanks again.

  3. Deshackling … Read about Thelonius Monk last night (and listened to the music). Very similar journey: the different approach, the drink and drugs, the ‘madness’ (the scream to the higher heavens) except Thelonius lived a lot longer. Talking of suspicions: how Meeraji died, apparently while undergoing electro-therapy, couldn’t stop the thought they ‘took him out’. Regarded him as dangerous – to tradition. I’m probably not the only one thinking so.

    • huzaifazoom says:

      I don’t enough about Miraji’s last days to comment on that. But I know that as far as the status quo is concerned, the sooner such spirits are taken out the better… thanks for introducing me to Thelonious Monk. His groove should fit right in there with Nina and Billie’s it seems.
      (Thomas Merton, another outspoken soul, actual monk; now there the electrocution is every bit suspect.)

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