Translated from Urdu by Lavinia Greenlaw and Nukhbah Langah for The Poetry Translation Centre
I am trapped in a jungle of voicesIn which I cannot spread my wingsEven so, you insist that I take flightYou will not set me freeAnd are so offended by my point of viewThat you stitch my eyelashes closedYou insist that I must explain the weatherTerrorize my feet with echoes of chainsYou say that my desire to be freeIs too much for your precious jungleYet you set fire to the boat carrying my feelingsSurround this sea of feeling with desert sandBut listen!Whatever happens …Suffocation, torture, desert or jungleThis prisoner breathes [End Page 30]
Noshi Gillani is a poet from Pakistan who writes in Urdu. Her fifth collection of poems, Ay Meeray Shureek-E-Risal-E-Jaan, Hum Tera Intezaar Kurtay Rahey (O My Beloved, I Kept Waiting for You), was published in Pakistan. She has performed at poetry gatherings in Pakistan, Australia, Canada, and the United States.
Lavinia Greenlaw was born in London, where she has lived for most of her life. She has published four collections of poetry: Night Photograph; A World Where News Travelled Slowly; Minsk, which was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot, Forward, and Whitbread Poetry Prizes; and The Casual Perfect. Her first novel, Mary George of Allnorthover, has appeared in the Netherlands, the United States, Germany, and France, where it won the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger. Her second novel is An Irresponsible Age, followed by two nonfiction works: The Importance of Music to Girls and Questions of Travel: William Morris in Iceland.
Nukhbah Langah was born in Pakistan and came to the UK to complete her PhD on contemporary Siraiki poetry at the University of Leeds. She returned to Pakistan and is now teaching in the English faculty of Forman Christian College University in Lahore.