fidelity to flame

The slow mourn -
    what makes fidelity to flame lack
    lustre for the fog?

ا
kis tarah dhund
ki sham’ay se rawaadaari ho
kyuNkar ho fursat ke tasaadum ka hayoola mumkin
kaun bichRay huoN se rooh ka parcham chheenay
kub talak hosh ka maatam ho maddham maddham?

night's silence translates
    into a pejorative muting of,
    burrowing of dawn
ب
dasht-e-Khumaar 
    ka ranj kyuN, haalat-e
    Khamr ka marz kyuN?

saakit huN ab
    ke raat bhar, sukoot-e
    fajr ka ramz kyuN?

lazzat-e-be-panaah
    ko yuN moqay ki jo
    talaash hai, uss be-

hijr zabt ka zabt 
    kyuN, woh la-deeni
    yat bilfarz kyuN?

ushshaaq aur kamaan
    ab haathoN se farq
    Dhaa chukay, iss

shaaKh-e-be-kamaan
    ka, hasil-e-fard
    be-rung kyuN?
a droplet's beckon -
    a desert's foreboding of,
    dissolution of resolve

پ
maiN tabaahi ki tajassus

may ghaayal ho kar

iss bayabaN se taghaaful
ho kar tajawuz ker

ke, ik CheeNTay ki faqat
rah takooN andhere

may; ye barabar hua lutf
yuN Thikanay lagay

maiKhaanay.

Decree of refusal

A necessarily clumsy translation of the last four lines of Faiz’s 1966 poem, sar-e-waadi-e-seena, written after the Arab Israeli war would go thus:

As the chosen few have ritualized oppression
And the preacher exhorts holy surrender to servitude
Reversing centuries of acquiescence to injustice
Mandates an urgent decree of refusal.

Here are the last four lines in transcribed Urdu:
ab rasm-e-sitam hikmat-e-Khaasaan-e-zameeN hai
taeed-e-sitam maslihat-e-mufti-e-deeN hai
ab sadyoN ke iqraar-e-ataa’at ko badalnay
laazim hai ke inkaar ka farmaaN koi utray

Here now is my own rendition of those four lines, taking the spirit of what Faiz says and transfiguring it, correcting it even, to fit the spirit of our times. The self-love imagery – and the line from Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” – comes from my visit to the gym earlier today where I saw a man continually admiring himself in the mirror. On my way back home, the line on sewage was decreed.

Narcissus is want is need is
Me and I, I, I -
The flex of an inflexible memory, the creed of
Muscle and
Harm - The stench of sewage will overpower
The lord of mercy as he pleads, "Man, what are you doing here?"

faiz

sun lo

raakh ab ke musafir hai, muqabil hai, muKhatib
hai tum se; sun lo ke jabr Khoon ka hasil hai

kub se; sun lo ke ayaaN honay ko hai Khaak ki narmi;
sun lo ke Doboee hai qalam hiddat ki siyahee may.

himmat-e-sawaal

ab Khwaab ki vehshat ka koi
waqt muayyan to nahiN; ab kabhi

soz ki lazzat ka tum kar lo jawaaz;
jo koi rok sake tum ko to jhuTla

dena; kuchh kaminoN ke ta’ayyun
ka gila ker lena; ab mukammal hua

aKhbaar-e-juz, chhin chuka
himmat-e-sawaal; ab shukar hai

ke tumhe muslehatan dekha hum ne;
kaun jhuTlaae ga kis taur se hoga

ab hisaab? iss tarah Khauf hi
chillaata hai sannaaTay may.