by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi

Without fear
the breeze of heaven
entered my house:
I asked her, when
will you become a ball of fire?
I want to burn my heart and soul
to ashes.
I am shivering all over
the walls totter.
It is so terribly cold that
the blood freezes
in the stems of the hair.

The beams on the ceiling shrink
like eyes of an opium addict. Look--
that cat hiding in the corner,
her staring eyes
dirty grey clouds
do not rain sparks of fire
do not blossom any more.
The black cat looks around
for a shelter in a dark house.
It is so utterly cold
the heart and head are frozen.
Tell me,
when will you become
a ball of fire?

The breeze of heaven said,
my each particle
carries searing redness
like blood in the veins.
Hold me tight.
If you squeeze
you will see fire dripping,
take a handful, put it in your mouth
and swallow, you will see
I am that golden arrow
which when it strikes the throat
becomes a ball of fire:
you don't know how to burn.

[;xaam soziim-o-naarasiidah tamaam]
translated from the Urdu by Gopi Chand Narang and David Paul Douglas

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