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Letter to Mirza Ghalib

Today is the third day of NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month).  The idea is to write a poem a day.  The site NaPoWriMo.net lists prompts every single day in April.  This is my first entry in the month.  Today’s prompt was to write a fourteener, a form in which each line contains 14 syallables.  There can be any number of lines.  I also saw a site that’s asking 5-12 graders to write to a poet this month.  I combined these 2 prompts and wrote a letter to Mirza Ghalib.  This is more or less interpreting many of his couplets.  So this can also be treated as a poor translation.  The inspiration couplets appear below in English transliteration.

Salaam Mirza, I write to you across this chasm of time -
Did you think life and grief are twisted together in a rhyme?
Did you think world to be a child's toy but not for hoi pollio?
You a fan of blood that drips from eyes or you being coy?
Those ideologues, they still haven't changed their stripes
They frequent the pubs, imbibing wine while shouting their gripes
While on subject of wine, let's talk about what you really meant
Your hands lack strength, you’d drink with your eyes, is that the intent?
And you nailed how exhausting a single desire can be
Much less fulfill a cascade of thousands, while being free.
Lest we forget about Adam, Eve and the garden of Eden,
The cost of knowing or not is always high for the mere plebeian.
Said Janaab ’Ghalib’ there is no dying or living in love
No ’Mirage’ can inject life and kill in a single breath.

 

Ghalib’s couplets:

Kaid-e-hayaat bandh-e-gham, asla mein donoo ek hai
Maut se pehle aadmi gham se nijaat paye kyun
Baziccha-e-atfaal hai duniya mere aage
Hotaa hai shab-o-roz tamashaa mere aage
Ragon mein dudte phirne ke nahin qaaiil
Jab anhk se hii naa tapke tau phir lahu kya hai
Kahaan maikhana ka darvazaa ’Ghalib’ aur kahan vaaiz
Per itna jaante hain kal wo jata tha ki hum nikle
Go haath ko jumbish nahin aankhon mein toh dum hai
Rahne do abhi saaghar-o-meena meray aage
Hazaron khawishishey aisi ke har khawish pe dam nikle
Bahut nikle mere armaan lekin phir bhi kam nikle
Nikalna khuld se aadam ka sunte aaye hain lekin
Bahut be-abroo ho kar tere kuche se ham nikle
Mohabbat mein nahin hai farq jiine or Marne kaa
Usii ko dekh ke jiite hain jis kafir pe dam nikle
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