Heart’s Companion

by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

I said to my heart, let us wander—
An order has gone out that we
Be exiled again from our home.
Let us send echoes down the streets
As we turn from city to city
Searching for some sign
Of a friend with news to tell us.
Let us ask every stranger if
He knows the place where we once lived.

At the end of some urban maze
We will make nights from days,
Talking sometimes to someone
And sometimes to someone else.

The night of longing is a grim trial,
But how could I describe it to you?
We were destined to make a way,
Somehow, to the old conclusion . . .
“Once it comes, if it comes once
And for all, death will be no burden.”

London, 1978
—Translated from the Urdu by Andrew McCord

Faiz Ahmed Faiz wrote the above poem while he was in exile in Beirut. During his stay in Lebanon, Faiz got involved in the politics of Middle East and supported the cause of Palestinian Liberation Organization and Yasser Arafat. However, he could not satisfy his concern for his motherland that was facing one the most bloody dictatorships ever known to people there. The the above cited poem is an expression of the nostalgia that a patriot faces while away from his land as it suffers because of virulent rulers.


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