aaj ek harf ko phir dhoondta phirta hai khayaal…

madd bhara harf koi

zeher bhara harf koi

dil-nasheen harf koi

qeher bhara harf koi

aaj ek harf ko phir dhoondta phirta hai khayaal…


harf-e-ulfat koi dildaar nazar ho jaise

jisse milti hai nazar, bosa-e-lab ki surat

itna raushan ke sar-e-mauja-zar ho jaise

sohbat-e-yaar mein aaghaaz-e-tarab ki surat

harf-e-nafrat koi shamshir-e-ghazab ho jaise

aaj ek harf ko phir dhoondta phirta hai khayaal…


ta aabaad shehr-e-sitam jisse tabaah ho jaayein

itna tariq ke shamshan ki shab ho jaise

lab pe laaun to mere honth siyah ho jaayein

aaj ek harf ko phir dhoondta phirta hai khayaal…

– Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Today, once again, thought searches for a word..

A word sweet as nectar

A word of poison

A word that captures the heart

A word of fury

Today, once again, thought searches for a word..


A word of love, like the glance of the beloved

A word, intimate like a kiss on the lips

A word luminous, like a wave riding the glimmering sea

Like the first sensation of joy in the beloved’s company

A word of hate, like a terrifying sword

Today, once again, thought searches for a word…


A word to destroy these sprawling cities of sorrow

A word dark like the night of the cremation grounds

So dark that lips turn black when they utter it

Today, once again, thought searches for a word…


~ by tdcatss on August 15, 2011.

10 Responses to “Creativity”

  1. You words are captivating. What inspired this poem?

  2. Thank you Brian. The first part of the post is the original poem, in Urdu, which I have read many times in the last few years. Today, it came to mind and I decided to translate it to understand it better and make it deeper part of me.

    I think what inspired me to do this was to capture some of the sense of magic, fascination and joy that the poet conveys when he talks about a thought looking out for just the right word to convey its truth – in short, a sense of the creative life.

    I am glad you liked the translation :). If it captures even 10% of the original, I would be happy.

  3. Kaif, what a gift you have, to be able to translate, to think in more than one language. I think there is something so wonderful about that, but I need more creativity to express why. :) At church, they would have someone sign the songs and message for the deaf. It would make me cry. This has some of that same affect for me.
    Thank you!

  4. Thank you Debbie… I know what you mean about songs being conveyed in sign language to the deaf. It can be really touching! I sometimes feel that by talking we probably overuse one form of communication, and sometimes it is just more natural to communicate by a poem, a song, whistling a tune, or even a touch :)

  5. No other language–which uses words to express feelings–can be as beautiful as Urdu.

    Kaif, I’m sure you’ve studied Rumi and Shams Tabrij. Can you suggest some titles? Something light and yet informative.

  6. It’s interesting that you say that about Urdu, Prommila. I feel there are other languages too which have their distinct quality and can be more beautiful than Urdu, in the sense that they cannot convey what Urdu does, and vice versa. I wouldn’t expect much out of translating a philosophical passage from the Upanishads into Urdu!

    Actually, I have not studied Rumi and Shams Tabriz. I have a little book of Rumi’s poems translated, called Whispers from the Beloved, which is all right I think.

    Coleman Barks is generally recognised as the populariser and primary translator of Rumi for the non-academic audience. You could try his books. There are other translations online, like this one: .

    If you would like something about Rumi and his thought, I think ‘The Sufi Doctrine of Rumi’ by William Chittick should be good. He is a very nice scholar and not too heavy. On general Sufism, try ‘Sufi Essays’ and ‘The Garden of Truth’ by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, who is probably the Sachin Tendulkar of Islamic Studies in current times!

    All of these should be available on Flipkart.

  7. Quite possible. But I love Urdu! It’s not just beautiful but passionate too, if you know what i mean…
    Thanks much! This is quite helpful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: