“Two Ghazals” and “Stanzas from Ghalib” (trans. of poems by Ghalib). New Letters 51,4 (Summer, 1985):126-130.

Ghazals and verses by Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib

translated by Frances W. Pritchett

Freely in hidden fire

Freely in hidden fire
my heart burned
Eloquent with silent flames my heart

In my heart
no desire to see her
no memory of her.
Fire gutted the house.
Whatever was in it

Now I've gone beyond
even the Void
where I breathed fire
and the wings of the bodiless bird

Brilliant heat radiant
heart of thought
how to convey its power?
One passing thought of madness
and a desert

I have no heart, or I'd show you
a carnival of scars
Too bad, such brilliant fireworks
but the operator

Ghalib I am
and my longing is
/127/ cold ash sadness.
My heart saw the warmth of the worldly
and burned.


I'll go live somewhere

I'll go live somewhere
where there will be
    no one
to talk to
    no one
to speak my language
    no one.

I'll build a house
with no walls, no doors
for neighbor
    no one
for watchman
    no one.

If I fall ill
then to nurse me
    no one
If I die
then to mourn me
    no one.


A drop that makes it all the way
to the river
    becomes the river
A task is worth undertaking
when its outcome
    is better.


/128/ Out of the storm of joy
Four, flung from the vortex:
rose-wave, sunset-wave
wave of wind, wave of wine.


In our world
every atom is
The sun is a lamp
in the wind's path.


My heart's blood
to the last drop
batted about by those


Ah your glance
utterly arouses!
Ah your cruelty
utterly casts down.


It wouldn't have killed you
to ask how I was
I'm poor, you're
    Kind to the Poor.


/129/ Again I remembered
wet eyes
Again my parched heart
thirsted to grieve.


Doomsday had scarcely dawned.
Again I remembered
the time you left.


Simplicities of longing--
again I remembered
that dazzling vision.


My life would have passed
Why did I remember
the road you took?


Won't I quarrel with Rizvan
in heaven!
If I remember
hour house.


/130/ Asad I'm so
swift a runner so
helpless a beggar

the deer
with his eyelashes
scratches my back.

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