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Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

In the Parched City and Other Poems— Abdur Rehman Rahi

Feb 7, 2024 | Poetry | 0 comments

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
sometimes,
raking a raging river of fire
out from the heart 
at times.

Charred dreams vanish in smoke
within a dream itself
Misgiving kindles 
such a potent flame at times. 

To thwart
loneliness from conspiring 
my death amidst laughter in loud gatherings.
I hold a mirror before me 
at times. 

I have been in 
Rahi’s company. 
The regaling nightingale 
slumps into the burrowing
hoopoe at times. 

 


Also, read In The Hands the Moon and Other Poems by Younis Tawfik, translated from The Italian by Marie Orton and published in The Antonym:

In the Hands the Moon and Other Poems— Younis Tawfik


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Abdur Rehman Rahi

Abdur Rehman Rahi (6 May 1925 – 09th January 2023) was a Kashmiri poet, translator and critic. Considered to be one of the foremost exponents of Kashmiri literature, he authored a dozen books and translations and mentored hundreds of students and scholars. For his contributions to the language, he was honoured with almost every award. He was awarded the Indian Sahitya Akademi Award in 1961 for his poetry collection Nawroz-i-Saba, the Padma Shri in 2000, and India’s highest literary award, the Janpith Award (for the year 2004) in 2007. He is the first Kashmiri writer to be awarded the Janpith Award, India’s highest literary award for his poetic collection Siyah Rood Jaeren Manz (In Black Drizzle). He was honoured with Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 2000 by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi.

Huzaifa Pandit

Huzaifa Pandit

Huzaifa Pandit is an Assistant Professor of English in the Higher Education Department, J&K. For his PhD he worked on a comparison between Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Agha Shahid Ali and Mahmoud Darwish under the rubric of Poetics of Resistance’ at University of Kashmir. His first book – Green is the Colour of Memory’ (Hawakal Publishers) was published as the winning manuscript of Rhythm Divine Poets Chapbook Contest 2017. His poems, translations, interviews, essays and papers have been published in various journals like Post-Colonial Studies, Indian Literature, PaperCuts, Life and Legends, Jaggery Lit, JLA India, Outlook and Poetry at Sangam.

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