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 38, pp. 109-111.

S. R. Faruqi:

(1) With her flirting she has mastered the art of stealing hearts.
That home-destroyer first made a home in the victim's eyes.

[Thieves would often hire a suitable lodging near the house they intended to burgle, thus giving themselves time to reconnoiter. Mir's verse has the additional beauty of "making a home in the eyes," an idiom meaning to become someone's sweetheart.]

(2) Well, breeze, I don't care if the flowers' hues have fled from the garden.
Time and circumstance have shorn me of wings and feathers.

(3) What benefited my temperament in the early stages of love--
those very medications--finally did me in.

(4) I am shocked: people would lay down their lives for their home and hearth,
yet I'm told every day of someone's leaving home on a journey.

(5) What do I know of gatherings of pleasure and luxury? I looked at the saqi's eyes
and traveled beyond and away from drinking parties.

(6) Lovers of the flesh would have disappeared the moment love drew its sword--
it was I alone, as you'll hear, who used his breast as a shield.

(7) Well, it was no mean feat that my wounded heart could reach your doorstep.
The poor half-dead thing displayed a blazing courage.

(8) You may be drunk on your flirting but who in their right mind would gaze at you?
In fact, my joy at the news you were coming drove me out of my mind.

(9) I have had my dwelling in so dreadful a forest
that Khizr, when he heard about it, gave up the very idea of visiting.

(10) Wine tipplers are nothing less than conjurers and tricksters:
they made the shaikh drink wine and transformed him from man to ass!

(11) The whirlwinds have struck camp; they stand around ready to go.
Which way is madness traveling now, one wonders.

(12) Sweet-tongued beauty, the stammer in your speech is actually a miracle.
Half a word spoken by you does its work on the heart.

(13) The sinner, oh Mir, is utterly shameless
who unfolds and displays his wet garment in front of the cloud of total munificence.

[A wet hem signifies sinfulness. The point is that God in his infinite mercy and munificence will forgive all sinners. The cloud is the symbol of God's munificence because (1) rain brings fertility and growth; (2) God's bounty is free for all, like the rain; and (3) God will forgive the sinners, that is, those whose garments are wet. Now to display one's sinfulness in front of God's bountiful cloud ready to rain wetness all over the place is shamelessness because the wet garment will be made all the wetter by the cloud, washing away the sin. Thus the garment would still be wet, but not with sin. It would be a truly shameless person who should boast of his sinfulness in front of the cloud of total mercy.]



(inspired by SRF's translation)

(1) Her sidelong glances skilfully stole the heart.
That house-wrecker made herself at home in the eyes.

(2) If in the garden the roses' color has flown, then what of it, oh breeze?
Everyday life has shorn me of wings and feathers.

(3) The ones that worked for me at first-- in passion,
finally those very remedies did me harm.

(4) It kills me-- people die of love for their home town!
And we keep hearing that every last one has gone away.

(5) What would I know of glittering gatherings? With one look at the Cupbearer's eyes
I transported myself beyond the wine-drinking party.

(6) The moment the sword of passion was drawn-- where is the lecher?
Listen-- I'm the one who used his own breast as a shield!

(7) The heart had been wounded-- it's no small thing, that it reached you!
That half-dead creature showed a devastating courage.

(8) Who in his right mind would visit you, so high on coquetry?
Heeding the chance to see you made me heedless.

(9) That frightful desert has been my home--
Hearing its name, Khizr sheered off from the journey.

(10) Wine-drinkers are nothing less than magicians--
They gave the Shaikh wine, and turned him from man into ass.

(11) In all four directions are the tents of the whirlwind.
No telling which way Madness has planned to go.

(12) When you stammer, your tongue works mischievous magic.
A single half-spoken word affected the heart.

(13) That sinner is the limit of shamelessness, Mir,
Who-- before the Cloud of Mercy!-- displays his wet garment-hem.


Zahra Sabri:

Zahra Sabri is a special guest translator for this site.

(1) Her enchanting glance showed great skill in stealing my heart
That home-destroyed wretch made my eyes her home

(2) So what if the colour of the flowers in the garden has flown off, oh breeze?
Fortune has rendered me wingless and featherless

(3) In love, what were at first conducive to my well-being
In the end, those same medicines did me injury

(4) I’m distraught – people give up their lives to protect home and neighbours
And yet I keep hearing that every single person has upped and left

(5) What would I know of pleasure-filled feasts, for upon beholding the Saqi’seyes
I left the wine party and journeyed far beyond

(6) The moment the sword was drawn – where did the fickle lover go?
Note well that it’s only we who stood firm and bared our breast

(7) That the heart, having been wounded, reached you, is no mean feat
This half-slain one showed remarkable resolve

(8) Who in their senses would meet you, drunk on your own charms?
Just the delight of the news (of your coming) made me lose my senses

(9) That fearsome desert has been my homeland
Hearing of which, even Khizar hesitated to travel

(10) Wine-drinkers are no less than deft magicians
Giving the religious scholar wine, they changed him from man to donkey

(11) In every direction, caravan tents of whirlwinds stand erected
Who knows which way Madness intends to go

(12) The lisp of your tongue is sorcery, oh feisty one, through which
Even a single, half-uttered word made an impression on the heart

(13) Mir, that sinner is utterly shameless who
Exhibited his drenched robe-hem before the cloud of Mercy