A Vagrant Mirror

Originally written in Urdu under the title شہر میں گھومتا آئینہ۔۔۔

A vagabond vagrant mirror I am
I roam about the streets of my town
Sometimes I stand at junctions and intersections
Move around in circles
Call out my wares in a loud voice:
Listen to me, O’ the town dwellers
Those who live in fortified dwellings
High and mighty, rich and affluent
Listen to me, all of you
I am a footloose magical mirror
If I come in front of you
I present to you nothing but
your true God-given face.
You have forgotten your real face
The face you were born with
The face you wore as an innocent child
And then, when you grew, you covered it
With false ones, one after another.
Now you don’t even remember
What your real face was.
Come over here and see that face.
O’ town-dwellers, Get your false faces peeled off
Do away with make-belief visages
The true relationship
Between you, your name, and your face
You would know, once for all, I guarantee.
Come down from your false heights
You the wearers of false faces
Come to the street
I stand here and hawk my wares
Many like you are already gathered
Queued up to see what
Once upon a time, they really were.
Remember, I am a mirror
A vagrant but a truthful mirror—a poet.
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