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Michael R Burch Apr 2020
Mirza Ghalib Translations

Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869) is considered to be one of the best Urdu poets of all time. The last great poet of the Mughal Empire, Ghalib was a master of the sher (couplet) and the ghazal (a lyric poem formed from couplets). Ghalib remains popular in India, Pakistan, and among the Hindustani diaspora. He also wrote poetry in Persian.

It's Only My Heart!
by Mirza Ghalib
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It’s only my heart, not unfeeling stone,
so why be dismayed when it throbs with pain?
It was made to suffer ten thousand darts;
why let one more torment impede us?

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Inquiry
by Mirza Ghalib
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The miracle of your absence
is that I found myself endlessly searching for you.

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Near Sainthood
by Mirza Ghalib
loose translation/interpretation by Kanu V. Prajapati and Michael R. Burch

On the subject of mystic philosophy, Ghalib,
your words might have struck us as deeply profound
and we might have pronounced you a saint ...
Yes, if only we hadn't found
you drunk
as a skunk!

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Ghazal
by Mirza Ghalib
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Not the blossomings of songs nor the adornments of music:
I am the voice of my own heart breaking.

You toy with your long, dark curls
while I remain captive to my dark, pensive thoughts.

We congratulate ourselves that we two are different:
that this weakness has not burdened us both with inchoate grief.

Now you are here, and I find myself bowing—
as if sadness is a blessing, and longing a sacrament.

I am a fragment of sound rebounding;
you are the walls impounding my echoes.

###

The Mistake
by Mirza Ghalib
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

All your life, O Ghalib,
You kept repeating the same mistake:
Your face was *****
But you were obsessed with cleaning the mirror!

###

The Infidel
by Mirza Ghalib
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Ten thousand desires: each worth dying for ...
So many fulfilled, yet still I yearn for more.

Being in love, for me there was no difference between living and dying ...
and so I lived each dying breath watching you, my lovely Infidel, sighing                       afar.

###

Bleedings
by Mirza Ghalib
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Love requires patience but lust is relentless;
what colors must my heart leak, before it bleeds to death?

###

Ghazal
by Mirza Ghalib
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Life becomes even more complicated
when a man can’t think like a man ...

What irrationality makes me so dependent on her
that I rush off an hour early, then get annoyed when she's "late"?

My lover is so striking! She demands to be seen.
The mirror reflects only her image, yet still dazzles and confounds my eyes.

Love’s stings have left me the deep scar of happiness
while she hovers above me, illuminated.

She promised not to torment me, but only after I was mortally wounded.
How easily she “repents,” my lovely slayer!

###

Ghazal
by Mirza Ghalib
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It’s time for the world to hear Ghalib again!
May these words and their shadows like doors remain open.

Tonight the watery mirror of stars appears
while night-blooming flowers gather where beauty rests.

She who knows my desire is speaking,
or at least her lips have recently moved me.

Why is grief the fundamental element of night
when everything falls as the distant stars rise?

Tell me, how can I be happy, vast oceans from home
when mail from my beloved lies here, so recently opened?

###

Abstinence?
by Mirza Ghalib
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let me get drunk in the mosque,
Or show me the place where God abstains!

###

Shared Blessings
by Mirza Ghalib
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Drunk on love, I made her my God.
She soon informed me that God does not belong to any one man!

###

Exiles
by Mirza Ghalib
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Often we have heard of Adam's banishment from Eden,
but with far greater humiliation, I depart your paradise.

###

To Whom Shall I Complain?
by Mirza Ghalib
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To whom shall I complain when I am denied Good Fortune in acceptable measure?
Thus I demanded Death, but was denied even that dubious pleasure!

###

Ghazal
by Mirza Ghalib
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You should have stayed a little longer;
you left all alone, so why not linger?

We’ll meet again, you said, some day similar to this one,
as if such days can ever recur, not vanish!

You left our house as the moon abandons night's skies,
as the evening light abandons its earlier surmise.

You hated me: a wife abnormally distant, unknown;
you left me before your children were grown.

Only fools ask why old Ghalib still clings to breath
when his fate is to live desiring death.

Keywords/Tags: Mirza Ghalib, translations, Urdu, Hindi, love, philosophy, heart, stone, sainthood
Alisha Patel May 2014
Nahi hota kisi tabib sy is marz ka ilaj,
Ishq la ilaj ha bas ahtiat kijiye...!!!
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Bewaja nahi rota ishq mein GHALIB,
Jisy khud sy barh ky chaho woh rulata zaroor ha...!!!
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Sukoon aur ishq wo bhi dono aik sath,
Rahny do GHALIB koi aqal ki bat karo...!!!
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Misl shesha hain hamein thaam ky rakhna GHALIB,
Ham tery hath sy choty to bikhar jaein gy...!!!
- See more at: http://tinyurl.com/q2du94e
Mirza Ghalib was a great poet of India.

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