Though I must warn in advance it loses a lot in translation but I still feel Urdu poetry deserves better international exposure. I will start with some of my favorite poetry in English translation. The writer goes by the name of Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Any comments will be very much appreciated I am really very curious how a foreign audience might think of it.
Before You Came
Before you came,
things were as they should be:
the sky was the dead-end of sight,
the road was just a road, wine merely wine.
Now everything is like my heart,
a colour at the edge of blood:
the grey of your absence, the colour of poison, or
the gold when we meet, the season ablaze,
the yellow of autumn, the red of flowers, of flames
and the black when you cover the earth
with the coal of dead fires.
And the sky, the road, the glass of wine?
The sky is a shirt wet with tears,
the road a vein about to break,
and the glass of wine a mirror in which
the sky, the road, the world keep changing.
Donít leave now that youíre hereó
Stay. So the world may become like itself again:
so the sky may be the sky,
the road a road,
and the glass of wine not a mirror, just a glass of
Translated by Agha Shahid AliPredicament
The nightís curtain and my belovedís image Ė before
Once again the blood started to drip from my heart,
Once again the cautiousness has fogged my sight,
Once again the suppressed desire has enfevered my b
eing.Do Not Ask Me For That Love Again
That which then was ours, my love,
don't ask me for that love again.
The world was then gold, burnished with light --
and only because of you. That what I had believed.
How could one weep for sorrows other than yours?
How could one have any sorrow but the one you gave?
So what were these protests, these rumours of injus
A glimpse of your face was evidence of springtime.
The sky, wherever I looked, was nothing but your ey
If you'd fall in my arms, Fate would be helpless.
All this I'd thought all this I'd believed.
But there were other sorrows, comforts other than l
The rich had cast their spell on history:
dark centuries had been embroidered on brocades and
Bitter threads began to unravel before me
as I went into alleys and in open markets
saw bodies plastered with ash, bathed in blood.
I saw them sold and bought, again and again.
This too deserves attention. I can't help but look
when I return from those alleys -- what should one
There are other sorrows in this world,
comforts other than love.
Don't ask me, my love, for that love again.