A Ghazal for Earth Day

Day 22 of NaPoWriMo.  Today is Earth Day, so the prompt was to write a “pastoral” poem.  I was leaning towards a particular idea, but ended up writing a ghazal, instead.

I remember the morning walk in the park this evening
Woodpecker is drilling the tree bark this evening.

Drive from work meanders across fescue grass fields, 
The blades sway, under gentle breeze, and arc this evening.

The brook on the trail is merrily babbling, as are the kids
in their neon-laces, that glow in the dark this evening.

Hyperbole and pandering is nothing new for politicians
But a Republicon must have jumped the shark this evening.

Sun prisms through the steeple’s stained glass windows
On fallow fields struts a streak horned lark this evening.

Columbia snakes against Rocky Butte and lush green canopy
’Mirage’ hopes this scene’s intact as we disembark this evening.

Notes:  All couplets with the exception of the fourth are nature related.  In a ghazal disjunctive ideas are perfectly fine, and I just couldn’t help but get that political dig in!  I mean how else can you use the expression jumped the shark.

All the couplets refer to local imagery.  In second couplet, for example, it is still common to see fields within the urban growth boundary.  The third couplet refers to the brook on the neighborhood trail.  The fourth couplet is specific to a church and fields on the edge of the urban-rural divide.  But, I cannot say I have really seen a streak horned lark – which is endangered and I am assuming rare to spot in Oregon and Washington, its habitat.  And the last couplet place reference is Portland airport which sits on the banks of the Columbia river.

झंझा आह का कोया बुनता रहा (Caterpillar Kept Weaving a Cocoon of Sighs)

“आप की याद आती रही रात भर”
नींद आती जाती रही रात भर
Aap ki yaad aati rahi raat bhar
Neend aati jaati rahi raat bhar

कोई आवाज़ कानो में गूंजती रही
ख़ामोशी शोर मचाती रही रात भर
Koi avaaz kanno mein gunjati rahi
khamoshi shor machati rahi raat bhar

रात ढल गयी चांद फिर छुप गया
चांदनी चांद ढूंढ़ती रही रात भर
Raat dhal gayi chaand phir chupp gaya
Chaandni chaand dhundti rahi raat bhar

एक हम है जो अफ़साने लिखते रहे
एक तुम हो जो किस्से बनाती रही रात भर
Ek hum hai jo afsane likhte rahe
Ek tum ho jo qisse banati rahi raat bhar

हसीन नज़ारे गुमशुदा होने लगे
एक तस्वीर उभर आती रही रात भर
hasiin nazare gum-shauda hone lage
Ek tasveer ubhar aati rahi raat bhar

कोई झंजा आह का कोया बुनता रहा
तितली-ए-आरज़ू पर फड़फड़ती रही रात भर
Koi jhanjaa aah ka koyaa buntaa raha
title-e-arzoo par phadphadati rahi raat bhar

वक़्त के पहेलु में बात अटक गई
चश्म-ए-नम याद दिलाती रही रात भर
Vaqt ke pahelu mein baat atak gayee
Chasm-e-nam yaad dalati rahi raat bhar

Loose English Translation
I kept thinking of you the whole night
Sleep came and went the whole night
A voice kept ringing in my ears
Silence made a big raucous the whole night
The night fell and the moon hid again
Moonlight kept searching for the moon the whole night
For instance, I kept writing our narrative
For instance, you kept making up tales the whole night
Beautiful scenes kept getting lost
One picture kept emerging the whole night
A caterpillar kept weaving cocoon of sighs
A butterfly of wish kept fluttering its wings the whole night
A tale is stuck on the side of time
Wet eyes kept reminding the whole night

This derivative ghazal is based on Makhdoom Mohinuddin’s ghazal. Makhdoom was a freedom fighter, and an urdu poet who was portrayed by Irfaan Khan in a tv series called Kahkashan. The Makhdoom episode is in eight parts, first of which is linked here.

Chaya Ganguli sang the definitive version of the ghazal to the music of Jaidev.  The ghazal appears in movie Gaman.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz, a friend of Makhdoom also wrote a derivative ghazal in his memory. Faiz’s version sung by Dr Radhika Chopra.

Makhdoom Mohinuddin (Original Ghazal)


aap ki yaad aati rahi raat bhar
chashm-e-nam muskurati rahi raat bhar

raat bhar dard ke shamma jalati rahi
gam ke lau tharatharati rahi raat bhar

bansuri ke surili suhani sada
yaad ban ban ke aati rahi raat bhar

yaad ke chand dil mein utarate rahe
chandani jagamati rahi raat bhar

koi divana galiyon mein phirta raha
koi aavaz aati rahi raat bhar

Faiz Ahmed Faiz (written in memoriam of Mahkdoom Mohinuddin)

Aap ki yaad aati rahi raat bhar
Chaandni dil dukhati rahi raat bhar

Gaah jalti hovi, gaah bujhti hovi
Shama-e-gham jhilmilati rahi raat bhar

Koi khushbo badalti rahi pairhan
Koi tasveer gaati rahi raat bhar

Phir saba saaya-e-shaakh-e-gul kay talay
Koi qissa sunaati rahi raat bhar

Jo na aaya usse koi zanjeer-e-dar
Har sada per bulaati rahi raat bhar

Aik umeed se dil behelta raha
Ik tamanna satati rahi raat bhar