Bridge to Global Literature

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.

The Sea and I & Other Poems— Naseem Shafaiye

Aug 28, 2022 | Poetry | 0 comments

Translated from the Kashmiri by Mohammad Zahid 
The Sea and I

The sea exhausted, looking at me,
burned and after a while
I was collecting sand
in my fist and releasing it.
For ages, it has been there this way
gazing and searing from within, for nothing
sometimes sending some waves towards me slowly.
They said, stand up and swirl for a while,
and whirled around me for a while,
at last, they drenched the hem of my raiment
they would jubilate looking at my gaze,
waiting for a moment then flee stealthily.
The sea could not tolerate losing the game
It now sent the waves laced with singing paeans,
clothed in black dresses, full of anger
they collected everything around me to let me see
I was standing and they pushed me down
The waves saw me sitting and knocked me aside
my every breath wore down, I held on to my life
the waves sensed something and retreated
but ran into the fuming sea
Heartlessly the waves turned around and approached me again,
Dancing around me in a strange way,
they bundled me in their arms.
The sea was waiting with its mouth wide open
the waves threw me and the sea said, come, I’ll swallow you
the sea was thrilled, somehow, someway
its rage for winning was loud and clear
and I stared coldly, with determination
that angered it more and it threw me afar
And since I wasn’t brave enough myself
my wounds shivered in the cold, drowning
my feet kept stomping the wet sand
The sea, fatigued now apparently became a bit calm,
conveyed something to the waves in signs
they washed my feet and left slowly
from a distance I could feel, they were repentant,
the sea was there now with its head lowered
its thirsty lips were quivering
it did not have the strength to look at me
I secretly sniggered at it from a distance
It might have to say something in justification
I had already reached my home by then.

You Didn’t Come Then 

You did what was not reasonable
I could not decipher the meaning of what you said

I told you, you ask for my hand from them, openly
I told you that you should not suffer from any hesitation, from within
I told you when your heart agrees and when you have time
You just only ask me from my people
I told you to ask for me like a lover, a brave heart,
Write with pride the union of your steps and mine
You erected so tall barricades between yourself and me
We could not untangle the meaning of the words
Even the dreams of finding the city did not come from anywhere
You told me to wait for you behind the entrance of my house
You said that you would yourself come, someday
You said I should not knock on the window while you call me

You said, ‘the path of love is not easy, would you endure
Lest someone knows that we had exchanged vows of love
Even if the scorching season fades the crimson dress
You should keep your eyes burning in pain, like lamps
And keep my thoughts secure in your heartbeats as of now
There would be a time when I would travel by your street’

Morning, noon, afternoon, and now evening
The moon hid her face and the night arrived with silent steps
You neither got time nor you remembered the way
Waiting even I get lost while walking in the shadows
Even today my desire awakens to the old longings
Even today I skip a beat at the knock at the door

Even now you are a silent secret and I am at ease
Even now for what reason are you coloring the shadows.

I Could Not Understand

I could not understand
I could not understand
            I’ve to carve words
            embellish them after carving
            with the blood from my throat
            have to color them
            and bedecking them with flowers
            have to tell them
            I could not understand

If someone holds my collar
I’ve to offer my throat
If someone asks a question
I don’t have to answer
             If I bear a thought
             It is to be chewed within
             I could not understand

Their pots had
strange water in them
they told me to have a sip
for it is the elixir
someone may tell me
that I have a blue throat
            I could not understand

Is laughing allowed?
Is crying forbidden?
Did you commit a crime?
Does it call for a sentence?
             If they write on my forehead
             What can I do?
             I could not understand

They told me I was a kid
and I had to learn
the pen comes out
slicing the tongue
             As this tongue is sliced
             what would happen to me?
             I could not understand
             I could not understand.

Reconciliation of Love

Love is yet un-reconciled
The answers to the questions are still awaited
The tears are still there in the eyes
Love is yet un-reconciled
Why couldn’t you hold your patience,
For love is yet unreconciled?

                I tied the bouquets of roses at night
                I thought I would hold them in my fist in the morning
                I knew you would leave without asking
                I wrote my goodbyes on the air
                The real agony is still pending
                 Love is yet un-reconciled

Advancing, I moved a few steps, you retreated
I slowed my steps, you departed slowly
I kept my lawns and doors decorated
I turned my eyes into grilled windows, see
The mad heart is still alive
Love is yet un-reconciled

                I have to make garlands of memories
                Some tokens are there with you still
                That basket of memories and all the souvenirs
                Return them to me and sever the threads of attachment
                The book of pain is still unfinished
                Love is yet un-reconciled

The strewn rose petals are still moist
The fragrance clings to my body still
The secrets of the night are still held tight
And I burn all night long, even now
The dreams are still longing in the eyes
Love is yet un-reconciled

                Love is yet un-reconciled
                The answers to the questions are still awaited
                The tears are still there in the eyes 
                Love is still un-reconciled
                Why couldn’t you hold your patience,
                For love is yet unreconciled?

Whom Shall I Tell 

I walked through the garden and a thorny shrub caught my hem
I walked up the hill and an angry wind pulled at my scarf
I tried to rest but that rock slipped away from beneath my feet
I tried to grasp but that feeble straw was washed away by the current
The time too left stealthily and I am still in the way
The thorns, the gusts of wind, the strength of the rock and straws
I don’t feel afraid of them, either close or at a distance, they might slay
I gradually pulled them together and lifted them in my hem

A message came from the garden to come and tread over fresh roses
A cool breeze came from the mountain telling me
Come and I’ll wrap myself around your burning body
The ground beneath my feet desires my feet should stumble
The overflowing wharf feels proud as I feel lightheaded
Time slips from beneath my door stealthily
The tongue of the cycle of time wears away exemplifying me
The knots of the snares are undone witnessing my flight
Just one feeling and thought I nurse within me
From a distance, this world kept spying on my shadows.

Also, read two English poems by Robin Myers , published in The Antonym 

Two English Poems by Robin Myers

Naseem Shafaie (born 1952) is a contemporary Kashmiri poet who writes, among other things, about Kashmir, women from Kashmir, and their perspectives. In 2011, she was honored with the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award for her collection of poems, Neither a Shadow Nor a Reflection (published in 2007).

Mohammad Zahid, poet and translator from Kashmir, India has an award-winning poetry collection, The Pheromone Trail to his credit. Translation editor at Muse India and Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts, his works are published by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, and Academy of Art Culture and Languages, J&K.


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