Friday, April 12, 2024

"Some Exaggerations"

The world I see looks to me like a game of children.
Strange performances and plays go on night and day.

King Solomon’s throne is not a big thing to me.
I hear Jesus performed miracles, but I’m not interested.

The idea that the world exists is not acceptable to me.
Illusion is real, but not the things of the world.

The desert covers its head with sand when I appear with my troubles.
The river rubs its forehead in the mud when it sees me.

Don’t ask me how I am when I am parted from you.
I notice that your face turns a little pale when you’re near me.

People are right to say that I love looking at myself, but sitting
In front of me is a beauty whose face is bright as a mirror.

Just put a wineglass and some wine in front of me;
Words will fall out of my mouth like apple blossoms.

People imagine that I hate, but it’s merely jealousy.
That’s why I scream: “Don’t say her name in my presence!”

Faith pulls me in one direction, but disbelief pulls me in another.
The Kaaba stands far behind me, and the Church stands next to me.

I am a lover; therefore charming a woman is my work.
When she is near me, Laila makes fun of Majnoon.

The time of reunion brings happiness rather than death.
When reunion came, I remembered the night of parting.

We have a sea of blood now with large waves.
I am content with it; I know worse could happen.

My hands move with difficulty, but at least my eyes are lively.
Just leave the glass and the wine jug standing where they are.

Ghalib is a Muslim also, so we know a lot of each other’s secrets.
Please don’t speak badly of Ghalib when I’m around.


—Translated from the Urdu by Robert Bly and Sunil Dutta

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