In the desert of my loneliness
A nazm by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, an edited cut-paste from the net, plus my own, inadequate, translation. The translation is non-literal; refer to it to get the general drift of the poem, only if you need to ofcourse.
dasht-e-tanhaaii men ae jaan-e-jahaaN larzaaN hain
terii aavaaz ke saaye tere honThon ke saraab
dasht-e-tanhaaii men duurii ke Khas-o-Khaak tale
khil rahe hain tere pahaluu ke saman aur gulaab (Dasht=desert,wasteland, larzaan hai = are shimmering; saraab=mirages; khas-o-khaak= the leaves and gen debris to be found under trees in the woods; pahalu=thought; saman=flowers)
In the wasteland deserts of my loneliness, are shimmering,
the echoes of your voice, the mirages of your lips...
And, under the rubble and dirt of our separation,
Thoughts and memories of you cause fresh flowers to bloom
uTh rahii hai kahiin, qurbat se, terii saaNs kii aaNch
apanii Khushbuu men sulagatii huii, madham, madham
duur ufaq-paar chamakatii huii, qataraa, qataraa
gir rahii hai terii dildaar nazar kii shabanam (qurbat se= from close by; aanch=warmth; sulagatii hui= simmering; ufaq-paar=beyond the horizon; qatraa, qatraa=drop by drop; dildaar=generous; shabanam=dew)
The warmth of your breath seems to rise from close-by
slowly simmering in its own fragrance.
The shining mist that covers the horizon,
seems like a hundred dew-drops of your loving glance.
is qadar pyaar se, ae jaan-e-jahaaN rakkhaa hai
dil ke ruKhsaar pe is vaqt terii yaad ne haath
yuuN gumaaN hotaa hai garche hai abhii subah-e-firaaq
Dhal gayaa hijr kaa din aa bhii gaii vasl kii raat (rukhsaar=cheek; gumaan=illusion; subah-e-firaaq = the morning (beginning) of separation; hijr=separation; vasl=meeting, union)
The loving hand of a thousand memories
so seems to caress the cheek of my soul,
that I forget it is only just the beginning of our separation,
and it seems the night of our union draws near again.
In the deserted wastelands of my loneliness are shimmering...
Iqbal Bano has done a great job of singing this song. It is probably one of her popular ones too, considering it appears in several of her albums. Each stanza is sung twice and adds to the effect...like a second shave...And she sings it so lovingly. It's as if the poet's sweetheart were herself singing the poem written after her...you can imagine the effect...hmmm. One can almost feel the 'warmth of the breath' and 'the loving caress on the cheek of the soul.'
Listening to the song one feels lucky to be alive. I am not exaggerating, but I guess hearing is believing.
Over the tens of times I have listened to this song, it has become my favourite Faiz poem, and maybe my favourite love song too.
Other Faiz favourites are: 'Tere gham ko jaan ki talaash thi', a song of reconciled disillusionment, a song that says 'its too late now sweetheart' and 'Hum Dekhenge, Woh din ke jis ka waada hai' a song of resilience, of revolt, of hope. The former can be found on www.urdupoetry.com, under Faiz.
Ghalib and Shakespeare are masters of flourish, of cleverness and wit, of brilliance, of good humour. Mir writes with a diffident pride and a diffident arrogance. Daag is characterized by sheer simplicity, and Omar Khayyam (who I have just started reading) by pragmatism and worldly wisdom.
Faiz seems to write with a depth of emotion. From the heart, and with great feeling. The ego of the poet is missing or unperceptible in Faiz's poems. This perhaps distinguishes him from the other great poets.