dil kyuu;N-kih raast aave da((vaa-e aashnaa))ii
daryaa-e ;husn vuh mah kishtii bah kaf gadaa tuu

1) oh heart, how would the claim of friendship/familiarity 'come right'?
2) an ocean of beauty, that moon; a 'boat'-in-hand beggar, you



aashnaa))ii : 'Acquaintance, friendship, intimacy, familiarity; connection, relationship'. (Platts p.58)


aashnaa : 'A friend, companion, comrade, acquaintance; swimming, floating; a swimmer'. (Steingass p.66)


raast aanaa : ' 'To come right,' to be set to rights, to be healed or cured; to regain (one's) temper; to agree (with); to prove effective'. (Platts p.581)


kishtii : 'A ship, vessel, bark, boat, ark, canoe, skiff; a tray; a beggar's plate or pot (so called from its boat-like shape)'. (Platts p.836)

S. R. Faruqi:

This verse is an extraordinary achievement of wordplays and affinities. Mir is in any case the kinG of these skills, but even in Mir's poetry a verse as accomplished and wordplay-adorned as this one will be hard to find. The meaning is nothing special, but the wordplays have quadrupled the effect of the theme.

Addressing the heart, he has said, 'Oh heart, this claim of yours that you have friendship/familiarity with the beloved, or that you will have it-- how in the world can it prove to be true? The beloved is after all an ocean of beauty, and you are a beggar with begging-bowl in hand.'

Now let's consider the wordplays and affinities: (1) aashnaa meaning 'friend, beloved', and aashnaa meaning 'to swim, swimmer'. Then as an affinity with this, in the second line (2) the beloved's being an ocean of beauty, and (3) the heart's being a beggar with begging-bowl in hand. For kishtii means 'begging-bowl', and the boat-like shape of a begging-bowl as well. (4) A wine-flagon that is in the shape of a boat is also called kishtii .

(5) With regard to an affinity with the ocean, 'moon'; since in the ocean tides ebb and flow because of the moon. (6) If the beloved is a moon, then she will of course draw the ocean of beauty toward herself, as does the moon. (7) For the new moon the simile of a boat is used. Iqbal has an extremely beautiful verse:

;Tuu;T kar ;xvurshiid kii kishtii hu))ii ;Garq-aab-e niil
ek ;Tuk;Raa tairtaa phirtaa hai ruu-e aab-e niil

[having broken up, the boat of the sun sank in the waters of the Nile
a single fragment swims and wanders on the face of the waters of the Nile]

(8) In [the Persian dictionary] bahaar-e ((ajam , the phrase kishtii shudan ['to become a boat'] is said to mean 'to swim, or to strike out with hands and feet in the water'. (9) By attaching daryaa to dil , the phrase daryaa-dil is made, and dil ba-daryaa kardan (or andaa;xtan ) means 'to gird the loins for some dangerous task'. Thus Sa'ida'e Ashraf has a [Persian] verse:

'Ashraf, you will not obtain the desired pearl from the sky
Until, in the search, you throw your heart into the ocean [dil bah daryaa] like a bubble.'

The main point is that in Eastern poetics the importance of theme and wordplay is foundational. In it 'authenticity of experience', etc., are not important, because theme itself is founded on metaphor, and metaphor is founded on experience. Thus in a direct way 'authenticity of experience' is not especially important. In the present verse, authenticity of experience occupies a secondary place. The real question is whether or not in expressing this idea such devices/means have been used, as have created depth in the idea.



SRF's final paragraph is a kind of manifesto. Of course, 'Eastern poetics' [mashriqii shi((riyaat] is a nonsensically generalized category (does it include all the various Chinese, Japanese, Central Asian, Vedic, modern Indic, etc., forms of poetics?). It is as useless as 'Oriental philosophy' or 'Asian cuisine'. But SRF would be the first to acknowledge that he means it only as a kind of shorthand for Indo-Persian-Arabic poetics, which are 'Eastern' as opposed to 'Western'; there are problems here too of course, but not of such an order as to make the term entirely useless.

In the ghazal world, SRF reminds us, theme and wordplay are foundational. Theme is founded on metaphor, and metaphor is founded on experience. And as SRF has often observed, wordplay is also in some sense 'meaning-play'. In these few sentences we have the heart of SRF's poetics. Although I don't always agree with his treatment of specific verses, I heartily share these fundamental principles, and am very much his shagird in matters of poetics.

Note for grammar fans: It does seem that kyuu;N-kih is here being used to mean merely kyuu;N -- perhaps with a little extra flourish or emphasis added.