sair kii rangii;N bayaa.z-e baa;G kii ham ne bahut
sarv kaa mi.sra(( kahaa;N vuh qaamat-e mauzuu;N kahaa;N

1) we made many promenades/readings through the colorful notebook/whiteness of the garden
2) where, the verse-line of the cypress-- where, that harmonious/metrical stature!



sair karnaa : 'To take the air, to stroll, ramble, perambulate; to take amusement, to enjoy sights, to view or contemplate a beautiful landscape; to make an excursion, &c.; to read, peruse'. (Platts p.711)


bayaa.z : 'Whiteness ... ; blank book, commonplace book, note-book'. (Platts p.205)


mauzuun : 'Weighed; balanced, well-adjusted; symmetrical; well-measured (verse), consisting of an exact number of feet; sythmical; —equable, equal; —modulated (sound), harmonious ;—good, sweet, excellent, agreeable'. (Platts p.1090)

S. R. Faruqi:

From the introduction to SSA, volume 1, p. 64. [Presented here for convenience:]

The stature of the beloved is given as a simile for the cypress. Since the beloved's stature is called mauzuu;N , and a verse-line too is called mauzuu;N , the metaphor of a 'line' has been used for the cypress-- which isn't really superb, but it's interesting.

Now, from here, the game of affinity begins. Since the cypress is a line, and the cypress is in the garden, he has called the garden a bayaa.z . A second point is that from the garden they make bouquets [gul-dastah], and a collection of verses too is called a gul-dastah ; and a gul-dastah has the same relation to a bayaa.z that a flower has to the garden. Thus between bayaa.z and baa;G the affinity has become stronger.

And since one quality of a verse-line is to be 'colorful', and the garden too is full of colors, he's called the garden a rangii;N bayaa.z , because this affinity goes both ways. But bayaa.z also means 'whiteness'. In this way, in rangii;N bayaa.z a paradox has been created (that is, a 'colorful whiteness').

Let's look further along. There's an affinity between 'garden' and sair , and it's a direct affinity. But the cypress is said to be 'foot-chained' [paa bah-zanjiir]; thus in going to take a stroll to see a foot-chained one there's also a slight ironic tension. Then, sair and sarv seem to be words of the same family, although they are not. But on the basis of this thought, the idea of the sarv taking a sair creates a new pleasure. If no attention had been paid to the affinity, then instead of sair he could have used some word like gasht , and no harm would have been felt.

Then, the beloved is also called a 'moving cypress' [sarv-e ravaa;N]; in this way an affinity between sair and the beloved's qaamat-e mauzuu;N ; between sair and kahaa;N , the affinity is obvious.

[See also {1450,6}.]



The idiomatically expressive 'where X, where Y!' structure makes it clear that the two things are utterly incommensurable; they really can't even be mentioned in the same breath (as in the famous proverb kahaa;N raajaa bhoj kahaa;N ganguu telii ). In this case, it's impossible to think of comparing the cypress to 'that' stature (of the beloved).

Of course, the wordplay of garden terms and poetic terms is the chief charm of the verse. The two domains interpenetrate; one can's say that the primary meaning is one, and the secondary meaning the other. When we see sair , we think first of a stroll and only secondarily of 'reading'; when we see bayaa.z , we think first of a notebook for jotting down verses and only secondarily of 'whiteness'. Similarly in the second line, mi.sra(( at once suggests a line of poetry, while mauzuu;N would first be read as 'harmonious, balanced' and only secondarily as 'metrical'. The effect is to bounce us back and forth between the two domains in what feels like an almost haphazard manner. But then, perhaps this kind of seesaw effect is what Mir had in mind.