The Glory of a Voice, Without Mercy

by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi

*handwritten Urdu text by the author, early 1980's*

The dark shape of the body is not clear, but
a face, a distant voice's brilliance, is in the blood
a thousand shapes
built on a color-like voice:

a wave of five branches, in black and white
an azure flower
an arrow from a golden bow
birds flying in a cold dark night
a circle on a blue page
streams of pearls
an arrow, hot and cold
patterned silk shawls
high green ramparts, splendor, the light of deer

then it happened that
the glory of a voice, without mercy,
pierced like the sun's first rays
into a blind man's newly opened eyes
weaving a net of slow ripe cooing whispers
trapping his enchanted eyes like butterflies--
his soul, pierced in its core, gasped and lusted
his body and senses--drenched

a young stream razed the rock

[jalvah-e aavaaz be aman]
translated by Frances W. Pritchett and the author

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