A Prayer

by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi

*handwritten Urdu text by the author, early 1980's*
(first poem in ganj-e so;xtah )

Before death's jester
hidden behind his veil of flowers
clad in a gown all patched
of a hundred colors
smears soot on the doors and walls
of my house and garden
and the trembling body
like an actor's imaginary existence
changes to a shapeless shape

Before the ocean
by moving its lips
casts a spell shredding
the moonlit night
into pieces,
or before
brighter than a thousand suns and moons
blinding radiant
a terrible deadly thing
splitting heaven descends on earth
and blows the tender heart
of a pinky little sleepy doll

Before all this happens
give me time to die

translated from the Urdu by Gopi Chand Narang and David Paul Douglas

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