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Apr 2020
Last Night
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Last night, your memory stole into my heart—
as spring sweeps uninvited into barren gardens,
as morning breezes reinvigorate dormant deserts,
as a patient suddenly feels better, for no apparent reason …

Published by Reader’s Digest (website) in "Best Romantic Poems"



Last Night (II)
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Last night, your memory stole into my heart ...
as spring steals uninvited into barren gardens,
as gentle breezes revive dormant deserts,
as a patient suddenly feels better, for no apparent reason ...



Last Night (III)
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Last night, your lost memory returned ...
as spring steals silently into barren gardens,
as gentle breezes stir desert sands,
as an ailing man suddenly recovers, for no apparent reason ...

Raat yunh dil mein teri khoee hui yaad aayee
Jaise veeraaney mein chupkey sey bahaar aayee
Jaisey sehra on mein howley se chaley baadey naseem
Jaisey beemaar ko bey wajhey Qaraar aaye.



Tonight
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Do not strike the melancholy chord tonight!
Days smoldering with pain end up in ashes
and who the hell knows what the future may bring?
Last night’s long lost, tomorrow's horizon’s a wavering mirage,
and how can we know if we’ll see another dawn?
Life is nothing, unless together we make it ring!
Tonight we are gods! Sing!

Do not strike the melancholy chord tonight!
Don’t harp constantly on human suffering!
Stop complaining; let Fate conduct her song!
Give no thought to the future, seize now, this precious thing!
Shed no more tears for temperate seasons long vanished!
All sighs and cries soon weakly dissipate ... stop dithering!
Oh, do not strike the same flat chord again!



Memory
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, as performed by Iqbal Bano
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

In the wastelands of solitude, my love,
the echoes of your voice quiver,
the mirages of your lips waver.

In the deserts of alienation,
out of the expanses of distance and isolation's debris
the fragrant jasmines and roses of your presence delicately blossom.

Now from somewhere nearby,
the warmth of your breath rises,
smoldering forth an exotic perfume?gently, languorously.

Now far-off, across the distant horizon,
drop by shimmering drop,
fall the glistening dews of your beguiling glances.

With such tenderness and affection—oh my love!—
your memory has touched my heart's cheek so that it now seems
the sun of separation has set; the night of blessed union has arrived.



Wasted
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

You have noticed her forehead, her cheeks, her lips ...
In whose imagination I have lost everything.



Countless
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I recounted the world's countless griefs
by recounting your image countless times.



Speak!
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Speak, if your lips are free.
Speak, if your tongue is still your own.
While your body is still upright,
Speak if your life is still your own.



When Autumn Came
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

So it was that autumn came to flay the trees,
to strip them ****,
to rudely abase their slender dark bodies.

Fall fell in vengeance on the dying leaves,
flung them down to the floor of the forest
where anyone could trample them to mush
undeterred by their sighs of protest.

The birds that herald spring
were exiled from their songs—
the notes ripped from their sweet throats,
they plummeted to the earth below, undone
even before the hunter strung his bow.

Please, gods of May, have mercy!
Bless these disintegrating corpses
with the passion of your resurrection;
allow their veins to pulse with blood again.

Let at least one tree remain green.
Let one bird sing.



Do Not Ask
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Do not ask, my love, for the love that we shared before:
You existed, I told myself, so existence shone.
For a moment the only light that I knew, alone,
was yours; worldly griefs remained dark, distant, afar.

Spring shone, as revealed in your face, but what did I know?
Beyond your bright eyes, what delights could the sad world hold?
Had I won you, cruel Fate would have ceded, no longer bold.
Yet all this was not to be, though I wished it so.

The world knows sorrows beyond love’s brief dreams betrayed,
and pleasures beyond all sweet, idle ideals of romance:
the dread dark spell of countless centuries and chance
is woven with silk and satin and gold brocade.

Bodies are sold everywhere for a pittance—it’s true!
Besmeared with dirt and bathed in bright oceans of blood,
Crawling from infested ovens, a gory cud.
My gaze returns to you: what else can I do?

Your beauty haunts me still, and will to the last.
But the world is burdened by sorrows beyond those of love,
By pleasures beyond romance.
So please do not demand a love that is over, and past.

Keywords/Tags: Ahmed Faiz, translation, Urdu, Pakistan, Pakistani, love, life, memory, spring, mrburdu
Written by
Michael R Burch  62/M/Nashville, Tennessee
(62/M/Nashville, Tennessee)   
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