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Salman Ali

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The sources of values
by Antoine Raphael

Certainly, we live in a new century. Unfortunately, everywhere on our planet, humankind betrays a widespread distressing situation, confusion, perplexity, a lack of conta..  
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Translations - Faiz
by Salman Ali
Saturday, July 19, 2014
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Recent poems by Salman Ali
•  Translations - Others
•  O' Ocean
•  Pain + A Poem Written In Helplessness
•  Kiss + Thread Of Your Memory + My Feelings
•  Endless Wanderings + Feeble Footsteps Of Sadness
           >> View all 14

 

(Poetry by Faiz Ahmed “Faiz”)
 
We, who were slain in unlit pathways.......
 
Wishing for the roses of your lips
we were hanged on a gallows' dry twig
Kept longing for the radiance of your glowing hands,
we, who were slain in unlit pathways.
 
On the gallows away from our lips
darted the redness of your ruby lips,
waved the playfulness of your youthful locks,
shone the glow of your silver palms.
 
When the evening of suffering settled in your alleys,
we came, as far as our steps could bring us,
Words of poetry on our lips, lamp of anguish in our hearts,
Our suffering was a testimony to your beauty,
See, we were faithful to our that pledge
We, who were slain in unlit pathways.
 
If not reaching you was our destiny,
your love was indeed our own doing,
So we don't blame anyone else,
If all the roads of passion,
led to the killing grounds of separation.
 
Picking up our flags from these grounds,
will march forth more caravans of your lovers,
For whose journeys' sake, our footsteps,
Shortened the lengths of the agonizing quest,
For whose sake we have made universal,
By losing our lives, the pledge to your faithfulness,
We, who were slain in unlit pathways.
(Faiz)
 
Heart Attack……………………
 
The pain was so much that night,
That my savage heart
Wanted to meddle with every single vein of my body,
Ooze from every single pore of my skin.
 
And somewhere, faraway, in your courtyard,
Every single fallen leaf,
Washed with my plaintive blood,
Started seeming mopish under the beautiful moonlight.
 
Inside the solitude of my body,
Breaking all the restrictions,
All my hurting cells of body,
Started revealing serially,
About the imminence
Of the departure of expectations.
 
And when,
In the dwindling lights of memories,
I saw, somewhere,
A jiff – One last moment,
Of your darlingness,
Pain was so much,
That it wanted to go beyond that too!
 
Even though I wanted to,
But the heart didn’t want to stop there.
(Faiz)
 
Some Lover To Some Beloved...............
 
Down the memory lanes, on which
you've strolled since ages past,
They will end if you walk farther a step or two,
Where exits the turn towards the wilderness of forgetfulness,
beyond which, there isn't any Me, nor any You,
My eyes hold their breath, for any moment you
may turn back, move ahead, or at least turn to look back.
 
Although my sight knows that the wish is just a farce,
For if ever it were to run across your eyes again,
right there will spring forth another pathway,
Like always, where ever we run into, there will begin,
another journey of your lock's shadow, your embrace's tremor.
 
The other wish is also in error, for my heart knows,
There is no turn here, no wilderness, no mountain-range,
beyond whose horizon, my perpetual sun-of-your-Love can set,
May you continue walking these pathways, its better this way,
If you don't even turn to look back, it is okay.
(Faiz)
 
Stay with me...................................
 
My killer, my beloved,
stay with me.
 
When evening,
drunk on the blood of skies,
becomes dark night,
 
When the poisonous arrow,
Sheathed in sweet fragrance,
Leaps towards me,
 
When night laments or sings,
or when it begins to dance,
its steel-blue anklets ringing with grief.
 
When longings, long submerged
in the heart’s waters, resurface,
and everyone begins to wonder:
Who is the assasin? In whose sleeve
is hidden the redeeming knife?
 
And when wine, as it is poured,
sounds like the sobbing of children,
whom nothing will console–
when nothing holds,
Nothing makes out,
at that dark hour when night mourns,
Stay with me.
 
My killer, my beloved,
Stay with me.
(Faiz)
 
Wasteland Of Solitude..........................
 
In the wasteland of solitude, my love, quiver,
shadows of your voice, illusions of your lips.
In the wasteland of solitude, from the dusts of parting,
Sprout jasmines and roses of your presence.
 
From somewhere close by you, rises the warmth of your breath,
smouldering in its own aroma, slowly, bit by bit,
Far-off, across the horizon, drop by glistening drop,
Falls the dew of your beguiling glance.
 
With such overwhelming love, O my love,
your memory has placed its hand on my heart's cheek,
that it feels as if, although it is still the dawn of the adieu,
the day of parting has ended; the night of union has arrived.
(Faiz)
 
Before You Came...........................................
 
Before you came things were just what they were:
the road precisely a road, the horizon fixed,
the limit of what could be seen,
a glass of wine was no more than a glass of wine.
 
With you the world took on the spectrum
radiating from my heart: your eyes gold
as they open to me, slate the colour
that falls each time I lost all hope.
 
With your advent roses burst into flame:
you were the artist of dried-up leaves, sorceress
who flicked her wrist to change dust into soot.
You lacquered the night black.
 
As for the sky, the road, the cup of wine:
one was my tear-drenched shirt,
the other an aching nerve,
the third a mirror that never reflected the same thing.
 
Now you are here again—stay with me.
This time things will fall into place;
the road can be the road,
the sky nothing but sky;
the glass of wine, as it should be, the glass of wine.
(Faiz)
 
The Incarceration Of Loneliness......................
 
On the far horizon waved some flicker of light,
My heart, a city of suffering, awoke in a state of dream,
My eyes, turning restless, still dreaming,
the morning, dawning in this vacuous abode of separation.
 
In the wine-cup of my heart, I poured my morning wine,
Mixing in the bitterness of the past, the poison of the present.
 
On the far horizon waved some flicker of light,
far from the eye, a precursor to some morning,
Some song, some scent, some unbelievably pretty face,
went by unknowingly, carrying a distressful hope.
 
Mixing in the bitterness of the past, the poison of the present,
I proposed a toast to the longings on this day of prison-visit
To the fellow drinkers of my homeland and beyond,
To the beauty of the worlds, the grace of beloved's lips and cheeks.
(Faiz)
 
My Interview...................
 
The wall has grown all black, up to the circling roof.
Roads are empty, travellers all gone. Once again
My night begins to converse with its loneliness;
My visitor, I feel, has come once again.
Henna stains one palm, blood wets another;
One eye poisons, the other cures.
 
None leaves or enters my heart's lodging;
Loneliness leaves the flower of pain unwatered,
Who is there to fill the cup of its wound with colour?
 
My visitor, I feel, has come once again,
Of her own will, my old friend--her name
Is Death: a friend in need, yet an enemy--
The murderess and the sweetheart!
(Faiz)
 
Let Me Think............
 
You ask me about that country whose details now escape me,
I don't remember its geography, nothing of its history.
And should I visit it in memory,
It would be as I would a past lover,
After years, for a night, no longer restless with passion,
With no fear or regret.
Now I have reached that age, when occasionally, casually,
I go and visit my heart, merely as a courtesy.
(faiz)
 
 
My Heart, My Traveler...................
 
My heart, my fellow traveller,
It has been decreed again,
That you and I be exiled,
go calling out in every street,
turn to every town,
To search for a clue,
of a messenger from our Beloved,
To ask every stranger,
the way back to our home.
 
In this town of unfamiliar folk,
we drudge the day into the night,
Talk to this stranger at times,
to that one at others.
 
How can I convey to you, my friend,
how horrible is a night of loneliness,
It would suffice to me,
if there were just some count of my pains,
I would gladly welcome death,
if it were to come but once.
(Faiz)
 
Evening......................................
 
The trees are dark ruins of temples,
seeking excuses to tremble,
since who knows when,
their roofs are cracked,
their doors lost to ancient winds.
And the sky is a priest,
saffron marks on his forehead,
ashes smeared on his body.
He sits by the temples, worn to a shadow, not looking up.
Some terrible magician, hidden behind curtains,
has hypnotized Time,
so this evening is a net,
in which the twilight is caught.
Now darkness will never come,
and there will never be morning.
 
The sky waits for this spell to be broken,
for history to tear itself from this net,
for Silence to break its chains,
so that a symphony of conch shells,
may wake up to the statues,
and a beautiful, dark goddess,
her anklets echoing, may unveil herself,
(Faiz)
 
Wash the blood off your feet......................................
 
What could I have done, gone where?
My feet were bare,
and every road was covered with thorns,
of ruined friendships, of loves left behind,
of eras of loyalty that finished, one by one.
 
Wherever I went, in whatever direction,
my feet got so bloodied,
that bystanders couldn’t help asking:
What fashion is this, what new tradition?
What is this ritual you have devised?
For which festival have you dyed your feet?
 
They went on asking:
Why do you still complain,
of the utter famine of love?
There’s no chance of fidelity now,
So wash this blood off your feet!
 
These roads, now soft with blood, will harden again,
And a hundred new paths will break through their dried mud,
Keep your feet ready for these roads, they said.
 
You must steady your heart, they said,
It still has to break open,
into a thousand different wounds,
It still has to take,
knife after knife after knife.
(Faiz)
 
Memories of the past............................
 
Sometimes memories of the past,
Blurred and faint comes to the mind,
Subtly testing heart and eye,
Some very near, some left behind.
 
In the desert of desire,
Caravans stop, sometimes half-seen,
Words of love, vague and unsaid,
A union that might have been.
 
The heart and eye find no repose,
Joys and sadness are not few.
When she meets me, every time,
Love for her begins anew.
 
This luxury of loneliness,
Oppressive sometimes, sometimes free;
That inner anguish I have borne,
For which the world befriended me.
 
The censor and the profligate,
In the end gained the same score;
One took his place and drank his fill,
The other left by the tavern door.
(Faiz)
 
We Shall See................................
 
We shall see
Certainly we, too, shall see,
that day that has been promised to us.
 
When these high mountains,
Of tyranny and oppression,
turn to fluff and evaporate.
 
And we oppressed,
Beneath our feet will have,
this earth shiver, shake and beat.
And heads of rulers will be struck,
With crackling lightening,
and thunder roars.
 
When from this God's earth,
All falseness (idols) will be removed,
Then we of clean hearts-condemned by Zealots,
those keepers of faith,
We will be invited to that altar to sit and govern.
When crowns will be thrown off,
and over turned will be thrones.
 
We shall see
Certainly we, too, shall see
that day that has been promised to us.
 
Only the God's name will remain,
Who is invisible and is visible too,
Who is the seer and is the seen.
 
There will rise one cheer- "I AM GOD!"
Who I am too,
and so are you.
 
Then the masses will rule,
Who I am too,
and so are you.
(Faiz)
 
Highway.....................................
 
A despondent highway is stretched,
its eyes set on the far horizon,
On the cold dirt of its bosom,
its grayish beauty spread.
 
As if some saddened woman
in her lonely abode, lost in thought,
In contemplation of union with her Beloved,
every pore sore, limbs limp with exhaustion.
(Faiz)
 
Loneliness like a good, old friend,
visits my house to pour wine in the evening.
And we sit together, waiting for the moon,
and for your face to sparkle in every shadow.
(Faiz)
 
If they snatch my ink and pen,
I should not complain,
For I have dipped my fingers,
In the blood of my heart.
I should not complain,
Even if they seal my tongue,
For every ring of my chain,
Is a tongue ready to speak.
(Faiz)
 
From Prison cell……………
 
When the lights went off,
In the tiny creek of the cell door,
My heart thought,
That the parting in your hair,
Must have been filled with the stars.
 
When the chains shone up,
I assumed,
That the dawn must have spread,
On your rose face.
(Faiz)
 
Come, let us too, raise our hands,
We, who don’t even remember any word of prayer
We, who, except love's ache
Remember neither any idol, nor God.
(Faiz)
 
In the paths,
no place seemed worth staying at,
After walking out of beloved's street,
we went straight to hanging nooses.
(Faiz)
 
The door chain,
kept calling out on every sound,
to the one,
who never came back all night.
(Faiz)
 
The grace with which one went to the gallows,
That majesty lives for ever,
This material existence is only temporary,
Why care much about it!
(Faiz)
 
O’ you clerks and accountants,
What do you ask me, a shabby-bodied person,
About my hidden wealth and treasures.
Whatever I accumulated in life,
I am bringing it all in front of you;
 
In my lappet is a handful of ashes of my heart,
In my wine cup is the blood of my desires,
Take it, I have poured forth my lappet for you,
Take it, I have inverted my wine cup for you.
(Faiz)
 
Last night........................
 
Last night, your lost memories crept into my heart,
as spring arrives secretly into a barren garden,
as a cool morning breeze blows slowly in a desert,
as a sick person feels well, for no reason.
(Faiz)
 
Tonight..................
 
Do not strike the chord of sorrow tonight!
Days burning with pain turn to ashes,
Who knows what happens tomorrow?
Last night is lost; tomorrow's frontier wiped out:
Who knows if there will be another dawn?
Life is nothing, it's only tonight!
Tonight we can be what the gods are!
 
Do not strike the chord of sorrow, tonight!
Do not repeat stories of sufferings now,
Do not complain, let your fate play its role,
Do not think of tomorrows, give a damn--
Shed no tears for seasons gone by,
All sighs and cries wind up their tales,
Oh, do not strike the same chord again!
(Faiz)
 
A Prison Evening......................
 
Each star a rung,
night comes down the spiral
staircase of the evening.
The breeze passes by so very close,
as if someone just happened to speak of love.
In the courtyard,
the trees are absorbed refugees,
embroidering maps of return on the sky.
On the roof,
the moon - lovingly, generously -
is turning the stars,
into a dust of sheen.
From every corner, dark-green shadows,
in ripples, come towards me.
At any moment they may break over me,
like the waves of pain each time I remember,
this separation from my lover.
 
This thought keeps consoling me:
though tyrants may command that lamps be smashed,
in rooms where lovers are destined to meet,
they cannot snuff out the moon, not today,
nor tomorrow, no tyranny will succeed,
no poison of torture make me bitter,
if just one evening in prison,
can be so strangely sweet,
if just one moment anywhere on this earth.
(Faiz)
 
When Autumn Came.....................
 
This is the way that autumn came to the trees:
it stripped them down to the skin,
left their ebony bodies naked.
It shook out their hearts, the yellow leaves,
scattered them over the ground.
Anyone could trample them out of shape,
undisturbed by a single moan of protest.
 
The birds that herald dreams
were exiled from their song,
each voice torn out of its throat.
They dropped into the dust,
even before the hunter strung his bow.
 
Oh, God of May have mercy.
Bless these withered bodies
with the passion of your resurrection;
make their dead veins flow with blood again.
 
Give some tree the gift of green again.
Let one bird sing.
(Faiz)
 
It Is Spring Again......................
 
It is spring, and the ledger is opened again.
From the abyss where they were frozen,
those days suddenly return, those days,
that passed away from your lips, that died
with all our kisses, unaccounted.
The roses return: they are your fragrance;
they are the blood of your lovers.
Sorrow returns. I go through my pain,
and the agony of friends still lost in the memory,
of moon-silver arms, the caresses of vanished lover.
I go through page after page. There are no answers,
and spring has come once again, asking,
the same questions, reopening account after account.
(Faiz)
 
Speak...........................
 
Speak, your lips are free.
Speak, it is your own tongue.
Speak, it is your own body.
Speak, your life is still yours.
 
See how in the blacksmith's shop,
The flame burns wild, the iron glows red;
The locks open their jaws,
And every chain begins to break.
 
Speak, this brief hour is long enough,
Before the death of body and tongue:
Speak, 'cause the truth is not dead yet,
Speak, speak, whatever you must speak.
(Faiz)
 
Dont ask me for the same love, my sweetheart.................
 
Dont ask me for the same love, my sweetheart.
I thought that life was radiant because of you,
Why complain of worldly woes, once in your love-affliction,
Your countenance brings eternity to the youth of spring,
What else is there in the world but for the beauty of your eyes!
If you were mine, my destiny would surrender to me.
 
This was not so, only my wish for it to be.
There are sufferings in the world other than the suffering of love,
There are pleasures other than the delight of our union.
 
Dark, heinous spells of uncountable centuries,
Woven into rich silk and precious brocades,
being sold in every corner, bodies,
covered in dirt, drenched in blood,
Bodies, burning in hot ovens of disease,
Pus seeping from open, lacerating wounds.
 
My sight returns to this as well, I am helpless,
Your beauty is heart-warming still, but I am helpless.
 
There are sufferings in the world other than the suffering of love,
There are pleasures other than the delight of our union.
Dont ask me for the same love, my sweetheart!
(Faiz)
 
Loneliness......................
 
Someone is at the door again, my weeping heart, no, no one,
Perhaps a passerby, who will go somewhere else.
 
The night has passed, waiting, the star-dust is settling,
Sleepy candle-flames are flickering in distant palaces,
Every pathway has passed into sleep, tired of waiting,
Alien dust has smudged all traces of footsteps.
 
Blow out the candles, let the wine and cup flow,
Close and lock your sleepless doors,
No one, no one will come here now.
(Faiz)

 



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