Traditionally the insomnia of hot sleepless nights inspired my attempts at translating some of my favourite poems. Tonight, however, I am sleepless because I slept away the late afternoon and evening of an unseasonally cold June day.
I realised that I had left these two poems in Return to The Land of Poems unassailed. So here goes.
when, in your ocean eyes
this edge of sunlight
neither night nor day
tomorrow nor today
eternal for a moment
evanescent the next
at this edge of sunlight
neither true nor false
no need for secrecy
no need for blame
no need for lies
when the evening sun sets
in your ocean eyes
householders will sleep peacefully
and the wanderer shall take to the road
Original: jab teri samundar ankhon mein (faiz ahmed faiz)
just suppose i may be faithful
just suppose i may be crazy
just suppose both these suppositions
may be untrue
may be imaginary
just suppose my heart’s torment
may have been coerced from my heart
just suppose there may be more to things
i may have concealed half
just suppose to make you happy
i may have invented excuses
just suppose these eyes of yours
are actual taverns
just suppose this affliction
this love for you
may be false
just suppose in the distress of this love
each breath may be an ordeal
just suppose this destined union
may be an elaborate masquerade
but just suppose
only our love exists
and all else is an illusion
Original: farz karo (ibn-e-insha)
Confession Time: Some sharp-eyed folks have pointed out that Momin Khan Momin’s couplet in the quoted post remains untranslated.
tum mere paas hote ho goya*
jab koi doosra nahi hota
My excuse/explanation is that this couplet defies translation (at least by myself – haath patthar se ho gaye manoos to shauq kooza-gari ka kya kiije).
The juxtaposition of ‘goya‘ in an already haiku-esque expression opens up a labyrinth of interpretations.
Ghalib’s exaltation of this couplet is not accidental. It is the perfect example of Urdu poetry’s ideal of ‘kooze mein samundar.’
*The word ‘Goya‘ has been explained thus – Goya is an Urdu word that refers to a momentary suspension of disbelief that occurs when fantasy is so realistic that it temporarily becomes reality, usually associated with a story very well told. There is no translation for this word in English.
P.S : Comments and suggestions are welcome as usual.