Monday, 5 April 2010

Ghalib's ghazal 111

There is a theory that if a poem means the same thing to us each time we read it, then either it isn't really a poem, or else, we aren't really reading it. Our exercise is but empty naql, bereft of aql-  blind taqlid, not visionary tahqiq- to employ the terminology of the great Sheikh.. 
One of Ghalib's most translated ghazals is- Sab_kahan_kucch lalao gul me numayaan ho gaen [Begum Akhtar] [Jagjit]
Here is my attempt at re-reading it-

In what the flowers display and what the dust yet hides
Resurrected Beauty,  for aye, Thy veil abides

What in Memory as our colorful legend presides
Life's quotidian but cobwebs provides

The Pleiades, whose conceits our day elides
 Lie naked to a fate, night decides

If from Jacob, Joseph a dungeon hides
His eyes, in darkness, its chink betides

On cutting up rivals, if Love, itself, prides
Zuleikha's jury, Justice derides!

For Separation's dark, the nightmare so rides
The Eye, erupting blood, its ember, chides

If, in Heaven, as houris, Beauty resides
Revenged are we on who weren't our brides!

His is sleep, and mystic dream, & Night & all besides
Your coiffure on whose chest its undoing confides

Wine is life giving; gain Wine and no March's Ides
Mars your hand's hold on the immortal guide's!

 All Faiths are One for their Observance divides.
 Nothing is won by but warring sides.

'Fore Cities and Towns, which tears' flood subsides?
  Dams my isthmus of wreckage a damn Deicide's?


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