TRANSLATED FROM THE URDU BY HUZAIFA PANDIT
In the Parched City
The three of us left in silence
Having enjoyed to hilt the delights of Shalimar Garden.
If you recall, you whispered a warning:
The sun douses its flame behind that mountain.
The musical ecstasy of waterfalls possesses
the evening breeze.
The trees lining the road stand still,
Eyes narrowed in recall –
“Was some important thing forgotten, perchance, at home?”
Tongas have bolted, river banks lie forlorn
and stubble lining the land shorn of harvest.
The groan of a lorry lies lodged in the mind
like a half-forgotten tune.
What struck the apple of your eyes in his
childlike naivety that
a smile stole across his face?
The moon rose behind that mountain
And bared its face –
Pristine pale like pure curd.
The road’s heart softened –
What is the great hurry?
Let us walk a bit!
Look, how the rivulet glides behind
the many shadowed willow groves –
anklets tinkling in merry melody.
Were you to listen to me –
Halt a moment on the bridge
I’ll wash my face with the cool waters
and slake the flare of my heart.
Or look how the river gushes from
reservoirs of snow like a stream of honey.
You are a poet – descend, a virgin world
is revealed unto you.
You alone can hear at such places
the sad still music of whistling woods.
Silences composes such seductive music at such spots.
Why did the village damsel laugh
after I spoke?
Nestled among wild flowers, the cactus
bares its heart.
The sprightly Shalimar breeze and
the city’s listless gaze.
Sing some song,
The whistling woods are fond of evenings.
A mellow ache rustles in memory,
What mesmerising ecstasy washes over me!
Sleep loiters on the drooping lids of chinar shades
and the moon spins gossamer dreams from light.
Walk! Walk that the guileless apple of our eyes
may remember this winding road.
Our adult eyes will feast on his gazelle glide
The Spring of Shalimar will sprout
in the parched city.
The Heart Mulls on Old Times
The heart mulls on old times
raking a raging river of fire
out from the heart
Charred dreams vanish in smoke
within a dream itself
such a potent flame at times.
loneliness from conspiring
my death amidst laughter in loud gatherings.
I hold a mirror before me
I have been in
The regaling nightingale
slumps into the burrowing
hoopoe at times.