Faiz’s Shaam

Faiz’s poem Shaam with a translation by Agha Shahid Ali. Thanks to Junaid for the contribution.

Iss tarha hai ke har ik perr koi mandir hai
koi ujrra huwa, benoor, puraana mandir
dhooNdta hey jo kharaabi ke bahaaney kab se
chaak har baam, har ik dard ka dam-e-aakhir hey
aasmaaN koi prohit hey jo har baam taley
jism pe raakh maley, maathey pe sindoor maley
sir-niguN betha hey chup chaap naa jaaney kab seyIss tarha hai ke pas-e-parda koi saahir hai
jiss nay aafaaq pe phelaaya hai yuN sehar kaa daam
daaman-e-waqt sey pewast hai yuN daaman-e-shaam
ab kabhi shaam bujhey gi na andhera ho ga
ab kabhi raat dhaley gi na sawera ho gaAasmaaN aas leeye hai ke ye jaadu tootay
chup ki zanjeer katay, waqt ka daaman chhootey
day koi sankh duhaai, koi paayal boley
koi butt jaagey, koi saaNwali ghooNgat kholey

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.
(from The Rebel’s Silhouette)

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