Faiz Ahmed Faiz: Two Loves
At the birthday of Faiz Ahmed Faiz (February 13th), I am presenting the translation of one of his most famous and my favorite poem. I am not sure who has translated it; it was found here on the internet. Due to the political turmoil through which our country is going through, Faiz Ahmed Faiz has gained new relevance. It is very important to remember Faiz – again.
Oh rose-like Saqi, fresh yet in my memory
are those days whose bright mirror still vibrates with her;
those moments we met, like an opening flower,
the moments, like fluttering heartbeats, I waited for her—
Lo!—hope, roused by the sad heart’s good luck;
lo!—that love’s night of heartache had come to end;
lo!—that those sleepless stars of sorrow were sinking,
that promised joy so long dormant had awakened.
From this rooftop the sun of your beauty will rise,
from that corner its rays red as henna will dawn,
from this doorway your steps like quicksilver will flow,
by that pathway your twilit dress will blossom!
Fevered days too have I known, separation’s pangs,
when lament was forgotten in the soul’s sorrow,
each night’s dark load so heavy, the heart was crushed,
each morning’s flame piercing it like an arrow.
In solitude, how could I keep from thinking of you?
What refuges did my sad heart not seek?
Sometimes I felt the hand of the morning-breeze on my brow,
sometimes I put my arms around the moon’s neck.
In this same way I have loved my darling country;
in this same way my heart has pounded with devotion to her;
in this same way my passion has sought the respite of a resting-place,
in the curve of her cheek, in the curls of her hair.
In this same way, to that sweetheart world, my heart and eyes
have called out with laughter, cried out with tears.
All the demands of her summons I have fulfilled;
I made light every pain and calmed every fear.
No bidding toward ecstasy ever went unheeded,
never did the bell’s echo return to the tower alone.
The heart’s ease, creature comforts, a station in life,
all the connivers shrewd advice, forgotten.
What befalls all travelers on that road befell me,
a solitary prison cell, my name ridiculed in the market;
self-anointed holy men from their pulpits thundered,
dictators roared from their seats of power.
No treacherous arrows were spared me by strangers,
no scorn was omitted by those most esteemed,
but my heart feels shame neither for this love nor that love;
there is every scar on this heart but the scar of shame.