Faiz Ahmed Faiz


I dont know if I infringe upon the copyright in posting this translation of Faiz. But when I read it, I could not hold myself back from putting it up. As they say this is strong stuff. I would be interested in looking up the original.


Today, as usual, the mind goes hunting for a word,
one filled with venom, a word
sultry with honey, heavy with love,
smashing with fury.
The word of love must be brilliant as a glance
which greets the eye like a kiss on the lips,
bright as a summer river, its surface streaming gold,
joyous as the moment when the beloved enters
for the appointed meeting.

The word of rage must be a ferocious blade
that brings down for all time the oppressor’s citadel.
The word must be dark as the night of a crematorium;
if I bring it to my lips
it will blacken them forever.

Today every instrument is forsaken by its melody,
and the singer’s voice goes searching for its singer.
Today the chords of every harp are shredded
like a madman’s shirt. Today
the people beg each gust of wind
to bring any sound at all, even a lamentation,
even a scream of anguish,
or the last trump crying the hour of doom.

                           (translated by Naomi Lazard)
Read more here.

One response »

  1. “Today the chords of every harp are shredded like
    a madman’s shirt” Powerful images. The great Canadian poet Leonard Cohen produces startling images of similar impact. Thanks for the posting, where can I find English language editions of
    Faiz Ahmed Faiz?

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