- Heart Attack, and: Dawn of Freedom (1947)
That night my savage heart roiledwith such pain, it wanted to snarlevery life-pulsing vein, it wanted to seepout of every root of every hairand somewhere far in your garden,the leaves, as though awashwith my sorrowful blood,turned away from the moon;as if every suffering musclein my body had unwound, each stringsignaling the near departure of life’s caravan.And when in my memory’s dying light I saw—flitting somewhere, your love’s final momentI wanted to cross that threshold of pain,I wanted to go—but the heart refused to stop.
translated from the Urdu by Umair Kazi [End Page 152]
Dawn of Freedom (1947)
This sullied light, this night-poisoned dawnIs this the dawn we had hoped for all nightIs this the dawn we had set out to find
somewhere in the barren skythe stars’ final destination
somewhere a shore for the night’s languid seasomewhere an estuary for the heart’s bereft vessel
We travelled on youth’s mysteriousbloodrush highways: who could hold us back?Not the soft arms, calling usfrom restless dream-chambers;lush bodies, beckoning us inside
For us the face of dawn was dearerthan the hosts of soft beds;lovelier, the refulgent beauty,almost within our embraceWe moved fast: ardor overcomingfatigue at each step
A rumor has spread now thatdarkness and light are finally severed;that tired feet have foundthe steps to their sanctuary;
customs have changed—the afflicted are reprievedof their pain;
that we are free to revel in our union;the torments of migration overand forever forbidden [End Page 153]
If this is true then why is the heart still fervid,gall hot, eye votive—still after the miracle?
Where did the morning breeze come from?Where has it gone?
The unknowing streetlamp still burnsThe night is as heavy as beforeOur hearts and eyes are still in fetters
Let’s keep going, friends We haven’t yet arrived
translated from the Urdu by Umair Kazi [End Page 154]
Faiz Ahmed Faiz was born in 1911 in Kala Qader, British India (now Pakistan) and is regarded as one of Urdu’s greatest poets.
Translations by Umair Kazi have appeared in Circumference Magazine.