The Dawn of Freedom

This translation of a famous poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Subh-e-Azadi, was introduced to me by Mat Noir in a comment at the Red Diary.

The Dawn of Freedom (August 1947)

This leprous daybreak, this night-bitten dawn,
this is not the dawn we awaited with longing sighs;
this is not the dawn that drew our friends on
believing that, somewhere in the desert of these skies,
they would find the resting-place of the stars,
somewhere find where night’s sluggish tides reach shore,
somewhere find the boat of heartache and drop anchor.
When we friends set out by the secret byways of youth
how many hands bid us stay, pulling at our hems!
From eager bedchambers in the palace of truth,
sweet arms kept crying out, flesh calling us to come;
but dearer was the seductive face of daylight,
dearer still her robe aglow with sprites:
my longing seemed to buoy me, my weariness grew light.
It is said that the division of day from night is done,
it is said our goals are realized and unflawed;
but only the ways of our hurtful leaders are new-sprung,
collective joy decreed, the anguish of separation outlawed.
The fire in our livers, the burning in our hearts, the riots in our
eyes—
this severing cannot cure any of these.
When did that dear morning wind arrive—and must it go yet?
The lamps on these byroads have not felt its breeze;
no one has come to lighten this night’s heavy load yet,
our heart’s inheritance has not been bestowed yet.
Come with me, come, our goal lies down the road yet.

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