SRF's translation comes, with his permission, from Mir Taqi Mir: Selected Ghazals and Other Poems, translated by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2019. Murty Classical Library of India; Sheldon Pollock, General Editor. Ghazal 36, pp. 101-103.

S. R. Faruqi:

(1) A long unbroken sequence of broken wine cups, wine streaming out of glass flagons.
I was drunk; tumult and confusion and pandemonium reigned.

(2) There must be some purpose here, some wisdom for the sky to revolve and rotate ceaselesly,
because no carriage ever went nonstop in perpetual motion.

(3) When they're together one or the other is on top, or under, always, nght and day.
Like velvet with two-sided pile are these soft-shouldered boys.

(4) In such meetings and partings lives are ultimately lost.
There is no end to love, and beauty never relents.

(5) Frail and powerless I may be, but if I ever had the mind,
oh heaven, I would join you to the earth, hasp to hasp.

[The earth is supposed to be a box, or a container; the sky, its lid, is attached with hasps or hinges.]

(6) Gone are the days when my eyes flowed like two rivers.
It has now been a long time since this double waterway went dry.

(7) Often it happens that he appears right when she's washing her face.
Soon the sun, that impudent voyeur, will be punished so that he'll need to visit the toilet!

(8) The city has now become maidan.
Why did such devastation sweep through here at all, in the past or ever?

(9) What can I say of the scorching and burning of my heart in disunion?
My chest, oh Mir, has been burned as black as a griddle.



(inspired by SRF's translation)

(1) The glasses kept breaking, the jug went rolling around--
Here, my drunkenness made a bar-room riot.

(2) There's some reason for it-- that the wheel of the sky keeps going around!
Otherwise, no cart keeps moving, day and night.

(3) They're always at it-- day and night, over and under!
These soft-shouldered rascals are double-napped velvet.

(4) In these meetings, finally, lives are lost.
Passion is always reckless, and beauty takes no care.

(5) We are weak, but if we get the notion,
Oh sky, we will hinge you to the earth!

(6) Gone are the days when the eyes flowed like rivers.
For some time now it's lain dry, this 'doab'.

[A doab, literally 'two waters', is the land between two rivers.]

(7) When she's washing her face, he often shows up.
One day, the sun will have to 'take a water-pot'.

[That is, the sun will be threatened with such dire punishment that he will be in danger of 'pissing his pants'.]

(8) Now the city, on every side, has been flattened into a field.
Why did the desolation take over-- here, like this?

(9) How can I convey the way, in separation, my heart is seared?
Mir, my breast has been scorched into a skillet.


Zahra Sabri:

Zahra Sabri is a special guest translator for this site.

(1) The wine-cups kept breaking, the wine-jug lurched around
Through my drunkenness, there was a riot and rumpus here

(2) There is some logic, some rationale, that the go-cart of the heavens keeps going round in a uniform fashion
Otherwise, no cart or wagon ever drives on ceaselessly night and day

(3) Atop and under, they are together day and night
Double-sided velvet are these delicate-shouldered lads

(4) In these meetings and interactions, it is lives that are ultimately lost
Neither does love get spent, nor does beauty have qualms

(5) We may be weak and feeble, but if make up our mind to it
Oh sky, we’ll drag you by the handle and level you to the ground

(6) The days are gone that my eyes would stream like a river
This land which was between two rivers has now been lying dry for ages

(7) He often shows up when she’s washing her face
One day, we’ll see the sun obliged to use the water-pot

[She washes her face from water poured from a water-pot, and having been caught staring and given a frightening scold, the sun will feel the urgent need to pass urine and thus use a water-pot. The wordplay here concerns aaftaab and aaftaabah – the first word meaning the ‘sun’ and the second the ‘water-pot’ people use to cleanse themselves after answering the call of nature]

(8) Now, in every direction that you look, the city has become an empty plain
When before was such desolate devastation ever seen to spread here?

[The second line can also grammatically be translated as this –
Whyever did such destruction spread here?

(9) What exposition shall I make of my heart being seared in separation?
My breast has burned so intensely, Mir, that it’s become a skillet


Tahira Naqvi:

Tahira Naqvi is a guest translator for this site.

(1) The goblets broke, the jug of wine rolled about
There was such noise and commotion in my intoxication

(2) There is a logic in the orderly rotation of the wheels of the heavens
Otherwise the wheel would not be turning in the evening and in the morning

(3) Together the day and night go down and up
These soft-shouldered boys are double-napped velvet

(4) In the end because of these friendships lives are lost
Neither is there any gain from passion nor kindness from beauty

(5) Although I am frail but if I feel inclined
I will padlock your heavens to the earth

(6) Those days are long gone when the eyes flowed like rivers
The earth between the rivers has since dried up

(7) It is often seen that when she is washing her face
The sun steals down into the copper washing-pot

(8) Now the city has been levelled on all sides
What kind of destruction had spread here and why

(9) How shall I explain the sorrows of separation
My chest, Mir, was burnt until it was a like a heated brick