In the last two decades, I have trans-created over 300 of my Urdu poems in the medium of English. (“Translation” would be an incorrect word here for poetry cannot be translated: It can only be trans-created.) These are included in five poetry collections published from the USA.
Here is another poem in this series.
WAITING FOR THE MORN
(Originally written in Urdu titled کہیں تو نیند کی دیوی کا مندر ہے۔)
I toss and turn on the bed
I close my eyes, open them and close them again.
Somewhere, I know, I tell myself, there’s
The Sleep goddess’s temple ahead; its golden minarets,
Drunk on the sweet nectar of moonlight,
Shrouded by a light-dark fog blanket,
Stand fast asleep till the morn comes.
They beckon me, I tell myself.
You are not on my bedside, I know
Yet you weave your fingers through my hair
Your breath has an anesthetic aroma
It gives my dog-tired limbs a few sleep-laden swings
But suddenly the aroma evaporates
All my limbs wake up from a light slumber
There is no sleep in my fate – at least not tonight.
I toss and turn again and again
I just can’t find my way out, I look behind
Trace my steps back and see the day already dead
I feel the same hot wind
The same fears of tomorrow to-be
Apprehensions of the day after tomorrow
Anxiety for all future days
The same ironsmith’s hot cauldron
My limbs put on the anvil
to be beaten into a shape – not mine!
Toss and turn, turn and toss again.
I throw a bleak glance at the timepiece
Tell me, Let me get up, swallow a pill or two.
Walk like a babe holding the passing night’s little finger
At least till the morning.