An Injured Tomcat in an Empty Sack
by Saqi Farooqi

translated by Frances W. Pritchett

Jan Muhammad Khan
                the road is hard
This empty rice-sack
                        stifles me
The stiff jute bars pierce my heart
And into the yellow bowls
                of my eyes
Coins of moonlight clink, chink
Night spreads through my body

Now who will light fires
                on your naked back?
Who will fan the coals?
Who will make the bloody flowers of struggle
                burst into bloom?
From my flint-and-steel claws
the life is gone
                Today the road is hard

Quite soon this path
breaks and falls into a dirty pond
Alone in my coffin
        I'll curl up and sleep
I'll dissolve into water
And you must go on --
go on deep-sleep-walking
And the sack that you don't see --
you don't know your own empty sack.
Jan Muhammad Khan
                the road is hard.


[khali bore men zakhmi billa, p. 51 in 2nd ed.]

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