sa;har-gah ((iid me;N daur-e sabuu thaa
par apne jaam me;N tujh bin lahuu thaa

1a) the going-around of the flagon was the dawn-time in Eid/festivity/revelry
1b) the dawn-time in Eid/festivity/revelry was the going-round of the flagon

2) but in our glass, without you, was blood



sa;har : '(v.n. fr. سحر 'to turn,' &c.), s.f. Time a little before day-break; day-break, dawn of day; — sa;har-gaah or sa;har-gah , s.f.= sa;har '. (Platts p.644)


((iid : 'A periodical festival, a festival, feast-day, holy-day; the Mohammadan Easter ... ; great festivity and rejoicing, festivity, revelry'. (Platts p.767)


daur : 'Going round, moving in a circle, revolving; revolution (of a body, or of time); circular motion; the going round, or circulating (of wine); the cup handed round; the coming round in turn (of days or times); vicissitude'. (Platts pp. 532-33)

S. R. Faruqi:

It's not necessary that we understand the 'going-around of the flagon' to mean that on the day of Eid, at the break of dawn, wine was being drunk. The way in the second line he's used 'blood' for wine in the the absence of the beloved, in the same way the meaning of the 'going-around of the flagon' can be to celebrate, or to drink any agreeable thing.

In the verse there's an extraordinary kind of 'mood', because in the second line he's expressed a grief-causing thing more or less with carelessness. The 'metaphorical' style has here taken on an air of realism.



When it comes to wordplay, it's also worth noting that the literal meaning of 'dawn' [sa;har] comes from an Arabic root meaning 'to turn' (see the definition above), so that it echoes the sense of daur as 'going-around', which itself is often used for cycles of time.

There's also a sort of (mathematical) 'symmetry' that operates in the first line, since in Urdu grammar an 'A=B' structure equally implies 'B=A'.

SRF speaks of the 'metaphorical style' as having 'taken on an air of realism'. That's one way of formulating the vexed and ever-fascinating question of the role of metaphor in the ghazal world-- a world that's built up from 'themes' that are usually literally nothing but metaphors and yet are 'concretized' and used as building blocks for the architecture of the ghazal world. This is something I want to think more about as we go along.