Languid Shadows

Translation of a ghazal by Adil Mansuri.

Languid shadows have sprawled across the city
Where else can they escape, entrapped in thoughts?

From east, my path takes me towards west
Her journey is from south to north.

Whether it’s distasteful narrative, or harsh news
She’ll understand if explained using rosy metaphors.

The parents sit quietly and don’t say a thing,
The children are spoilt with too much care.

Look at the colors reflect on the floor of the room,
Look how the glass shield parries the attack of rays.

There is no signs of tears in the eyes.
Now with her handkerchief, clean the shoes.

Her downcast face and distressed curls.
Now only God can save her enemies from coming ruin.

Again the waters reflect the shadows of silver bells,
Again the night sparkles on the silver plate.

Notes: Day 30 of NaPoWriMo 2016.  Today’s prompt was to try translating a poem from another language.  I picked an Urdu poem by Adil Mansuri, a fellow Gujarati, who also wrote in Gujarati.  I wonder if he wrote in English as well – as I do in three languages.  This was third year in last four that I have attempted 30 poems in 30 days.  First time, I got to 30 in 30 days.  Feels good!

Here’s the original poem in Devanagari:

फैले हुए हैं शहर में साए निढाल से
जाएँ कहाँ निकल के ख़यालों के जाल से

मशरिक़ से मेरा रास्ता मग़रिब की सम्त था
उस का सफ़र जुनूब की जानिब शुमाल से

कैसा भी तल्ख़ ज़िक्र हो कैसी भी तुर्श बात
उन की समझ में आएगी गुल की मिसाल से

चुप-चाप बैठे रहते हैं कुछ बोलते नहीं
बच्चे बिगड़ गए हैं बहुत देख-भाल से

रंगों को बहते देखिए कमरे के फ़र्श पर
किरनों के वार रोकिए शीशे की ढाल से

आँखों में आँसुओ का कहीं नाम तक नहीं
अब जूते साफ़ कीजिए उन के रुमाल से

चेहरा बुझा बुझा सा परेशान ज़ुल्फ़ ज़ुल्फ़
अल्लाह दुश्मनों को बचाए वबाल से

फिर पानियों में नूक्रई साए उतर गए
फिर रात जगमगा उठी चांदी के थाल से



बसंत बहार


गुलों कंद में
छुपे हुऐ, बाद-ए-बहार छूते
निखर, निखर आये
gulon kand mein
chupe hue, baad-e-bahaar choote
nikhar, nikhar aaye

पंखुड़ियों-ए-गुलों जो
बेताब थे, लिहाफ-ए-ज़मीन बनके
कुचल, मचल गये
pankhu.Diyo.n-e-gulon jo
betaab the, lihaaf-e-zameen banke
kuchal, machal gaye

अटकी, अटकी, थकी
नदी, आज साहिल छोड़ कर
बहक, बहक चली
atki, atki, thaki
nadi, aaj saahil chood ker
bahak,bahak chali

बंजर सफ़-ए-अशजार
पर कोंपलें फूट फूट के
दहक, दहक उठे
banjar saf-e-ashjaar
per konpalen phoot phoot ke
dahak, dahak uthe

ख़िज़ाँ के सोये
परिंदे, नग्मे सुर-ओ-लय में
चेहेक, चेहेकने लगे
khizaan ke soye
parindhe, nagme sur-o-ly mein
chehek, chehekne lage

दबे हुऐ, घटा बिखरते ही
भड़क, भड़क गये
dabe hue, ghata bikharte hi
bhadak, bhadak gaye

दिलों की ज़ुस्तज़ु
लबों पे शबाब बन कर
उभर, उभर गयी
dillon ki justajuu,
labon pe shabaab ban kar
ubhar, ubhar gayi

तीरगी के आलम
पर रौशनी छायी, रंग-ए-बहार
झलक, झलक गयी

tiirgii ke aalam
per raushnii chayee, rang-e-bahaar
jhalak, jhalak gayi

Word List:
kand – कंद – bulb
baad-e-baahar – बाद-ए-बाहर – spring breeze
pankhu.Diyo.n – पंखुड़ियों -petals
lihaaf – लिहाफ़ – Quilt
soz – सोज़ – burning, heat, passion, ardour
soz-e-ummid-o-armaan – सोज़-ए-उम्मीद-ओ-अरमान – ardour of hopes and desires
saf-e-ashjaar – सफ़-ए-अशजार -line of trees
justujuu – जुस्तुजू – search, inquiry, scrutiny
shabaab – शबाब – youth,prime of life
tiirgii – तीरगी -darkness, gloom

This form is a Jack Collom lune. Also, referred to American haiku. But, instead of counting syllables, it is simply a 3-5-3 words tercet. I have written in this form in English before. It was meant to used by school age children to write poetry, make it simple for them. I suppose it works for adults too.

Today is first day of Spring. And it has been a typical Pacific Northwest day – grey and wet. However, we have had a much milder winter than I can remember. We actually had great, warm(ish), sunny days, some even reaching near high-60s, low 70s.

With regular humdrum of life and work, it is easy to miss the beauties of spring. Thoreau had noted about being attentive and awake (hat tip:

The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?
We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep.

Tried to capture a slice of spring around beautiful Portland.