Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984)

We’ll keep on plying the pen

We’ll keep on plying the pen on the page,
Record shall we the tale of our heart.
We’ll keep providing the sorrows of love,
And fertilize the wastes of time.
The virulence of times is yet to grow,
The tyrants will stick to their tyrannous ways.
We welcome the virulence, accept the blows,
Life permitting, we’ll redress our grief.
If the tavern stays, with the purple wine,
We’ll deck the roofs and walls of the mosque.
While there is blood still in our veins,
Our tears will supply the tint to her cheeks.
A style of indifference will be her way,
A style of submission will be our creed.

Bring the flowers to bloom

Bring the flowers to bloom, let the spring breeze blow,
Come, my love, and rouse the garden from its sleep.
Gloom pervades the prison, say something to the breeze,
Someone, for God’s sake, should talk about my love.
Sometime at least the sun should rise from the corner of your lips,
Sometime at least the night should flow from your scented locks.
Strong is the link of grief, no matter if the heart is poor,
Sorrowing hearts will flocking come, once they hear your name.
How I fared matters not, but O lonesome night,
My tears have ensured your peace, here and beyond.
My heart, Faiz, could not approve any place en route,
Forced out of my love’s street, I made for the gallows straight.


We, who were slain in unlit pathways…

(Inspired by the letters of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg; Translated by: Hamid Rahim Sheikh)
Wishing for the roses of your lips,
we offered ourselves to a gallows’ twig.
Longing for the radiance of your glowing hands,
we let ourselves be slain in unlit pathways.
On the gallows away from our face
darted the redness of your ruby lips,
waved the playfulness of your youthful locks,
shone the glow of the silver palms.
When the evening of suffering settled in your alleys
we came, as far as our steps could bring
Words of poetry on our lips, a lamp of anguish in our hearts
Our suffering was a testimony to your beauty
See, we were faithful to our pledge
We, who were slain in unlit pathways.
If failure was our destined end
your love was indeed our own doing.
Who is to blame if all the roads of passion
led to the killing grounds of seperation.
Picking up our flags from these grounds
will march forth more caravans of your lovers
For whose journeys’ sake, our footsteps
have 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.

Ask me not, my love . . .

Ask me not, my love, for the love of the former days,
I had thought, with you around, life ‘uld be dazzling bright,
With your grief to fill my heart, other griefs would vaporize
Your beauty keeps the spring alive,
The world contains naught but your starry eyes,
To own you is to own the fortunes richest prize.
It wasn’t so, I simply wished it could be so!
Besides the griefs of love, there’re other griefs in life,
Besides the joy of union there’re other delights.
The dark, devilish spells o’er several centuries cast,
Woven in silks and satins, in brocade finely wrought;
Human bodies for sale in every street and shop,
Bodies bathed in blood, splashed with gory spots,
I cannot help but see them all.
Your beauty still attracts the heart; but what to do?
There are other griefs in life,
Besides the joy of union, there are other delights.