Ghazal 39, Verse 3


;haa.sil-e ulfat nah dekhaa juz shikast-e aarzuu
dil bah dil paivastah goyaa yak lab-e afsuus thaa

1) [I/we/they] saw no fruit/harvest of affection/love, except the breaking/defeat of/by longing
2) heart with heart, connected/always, 'so to speak'/speaking, was a single lip of regret


;haa.sil : 'Product, produce, outcome, what is cleared, what remains (of anything), result, issue, ultimate consequence; inference, deduction, corollary; produce or net produce (of land, or of anything that is a source of revenue), revenue; --acquiring, acquisition, advantage, profit, gain, good; sum, sum and substance, substance, purport, import, object'. (Platts p.473)


shikast : 'Breaking, breakage, fracture; a breach; defeat, rout; deficiency, loss, damage'. (Platts p.730)


aarzuu : 'Wish, desire, longing, eagerness; hope; trust; expectation; intention, purpose, object, design; inclination, affection, love'. (Platts p.40)


paivastah : 'Joined, contiguous, adjacent, touching, sticking close, firmly united, inseparable; absorbed; successive, continued without interruption; --adv. Always, continually, uninterruptedly'. (Platts p.302)


One heart of the lover's, and one of the beloved's, both come together and become a lip of regret. (38)

== Nazm page 38


Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {39}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, we've never seen any result of passion and love except that finally longing and desire have had their blood shed. Even if the hearts of lover and beloved do meet, then that too as if, at the end, they're wringing their hands. (75)

Bekhud Mohani:

We've never seen any result of love, except that longings have been murdered. The hearts of two lovers are likened to a lip of regret. That is, we've seen both lover and beloved, through their love, become only regretful and sorrowful. Where their hearts have met, they took on the aspect of a lip of regret. (92)



What a bleak verse! The one before, {39,2}, is about the endlessness of longing, and its persistence even beyond the grave. This one is about the futility of longing-- lovers can never approach each other as closely as they long to do.

Then there's the multivalence of shikast-e aarzuu , the destruction 'of' longing, with the usual set of i.zaafat ambiguities (for more on these see {16,1}). The only result of love is either the 'breaking/defeat of longing' (the lovers' longing is destroyed by the attempt to fulfill it), or the 'breaking/defeat by longing' (the lovers' vain longing eventually destroys them). Does love destroy longing, or does longing destroy lovers? As usual, the answer can be either (or of course both). But not, alas, neither. (On the possibilities of juz , see {101,1}.)

Of course, the bleakness is relieved by a bit of austere but powerful wordplay. Perfectly placed in the conspicuous center of the second line, goyaa means both 'as if', 'so to speak' and, literally in Persian, 'speaking; speaker.' For more on goyaa , see {5,1}. In this case the usual 'as if' meaning dominates, but 'speaking' is also full of overtones for the rest of the line, with its lab-e afsuus ; the singular lab can also refer to the two lips together. (In modern Urdu the pronunciation is afsos , but here only the older, Persianized afsuus can fit into the rhyme.)

ABOUT GROTESQUERIE: To a modern reader, the idea of two hearts squashed together as though they were a pair of 'lip(s) of regret' may seem off-putting and grotesque. But the image provides a sort of 'objective correlative' for a certain kind of mood, and as far as I can judge, traditionally educated native speakers would not have shared our literal-mindedness or reacted with any kind of distaste. After all, in the ghazal world hearts, like livers and everything else, have all-- and only-- the qualities they need for poetic purposes. (For another wonderfully grotesque example that envisions the beloved's nostrils as barrels of a shotgun, see Nets of Awareness Chapter 7, p. 95). The category of 'grotesquerie' is a sort of experimental one that I am playing with, in the full knowledge that it wouldn't make sense to those more deeply embedded in the classical tradition. It may, however, prove to have other uses.

Other possible candidates for the category of grotesquerie include: {6,4}, in which the lover's friends devour his heart; perhaps {8,3}, in which the 'bloody wallowing of the wounded' delights the beloved; {8,4x}, in which a wave of blood ripples and drips with information; {25,7}, in which every rose becomes a blood-scattering eyeball; {39,4}, which is about passion and digestive fluid; the 'nose-hair' of {42,8x}; {44,3x}, in which the lover might be wandering around inside a blister on his foot; {48,6}, with its vision of tearing off a fingernail; just possibly {57,4}, in which the beloved gouges the lover's heart with her bloody fingernails; {60,9}, about how welcome a thorny road is to the lover's blistered feet; {62,6}, in which the lover wishes he had a number of extra blood-scattering eyes.

But, I would argue, not {62,8}, in which the lover has many hidden scars, each so dazzling that beholders mistake it for the sun. And we should also consider {69,1}, with its blister-footed pearl-scattering cloud; and {72,2} with its masochistic liver issuing streams of blood that flow down to the roots of every thorn it meets. For comparison, here's a thorn-and-foot one that's not at all grotesque: {73,2}. (The same claim might be made by {177,4}.)