The desert of solitude


dasht-e-tanhai mein, ai jaan-e-jahaan, larzaan hain

teri aavaaz ke saaye, tere honthon ke saraab

dasht-e-tanhai mein duri ke khas-o-khaak tale

khil rahe hain tere pehlu ke saman aur gulaab

uth rahi hai kahin qurbat se, teri saans ki aanch

apni khushbu mein sulagti hui, maddham maddham

dur ufaq paar, chamakti hui, qatra qatra

gir rahi hai teri dildaar nazar ki shabnam

is qadar pyaar se, ai jaane jahaan, rakkha hai

dil ke rukhsaar pe is vaqt, teri yaad ne haath

yun gumaan hota hai, garche hai abhi sub’h-e-firaaq

dhal gaya hijr ka din, aa hi gayi vasl ki raat

– Faiz Ahmed Faiz

and a humble attempt at translation, with some poetic licence..

in this desert of solitude, my love, quiver

shadows of your voice, mirages of your lips

over the dust and thorns of this distant desert

blossom the flowers of your proximity

from somewhere intimately close, rises

the quiet flame of your breath

glowing in its own fragrance, softly, slowly

and far, at the horizon, drop by drop

fall the glistening tears of your love-filled eyes

so tenderly, tonight, my love, has your memory

placed its hand on my heart

that although it is still the beginning of your absence

it seems, as if

the day of separation has set

and the night of union has finally arrived.. 

I feel that most of the time, poetry is not translatable. In trying to evoke the same emotions in another language, the translator creates a new poem of his own. A different brush, that too in different hands, yields a different image. I translate to understand the poem better, to make it more a part of my heart and mind.

But although it cannot be translated, poetry can surely be sung, perhaps just as the poet meant it:

~ by tdcatss on July 14, 2011.

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