Magazine article World Literature Today

Three Ghazals

Magazine article World Literature Today

Three Ghazals

Article excerpt


Shakeel Badayuni

My heart longs to go beyond the obsession of love,

and find joy in a new session of love.

Love drowned me in its tides

but my heart hopes that was a mere digression of love.

My lover and I are so far apart -

my heart yearns to make a confession of love.

For so long my life has been colorless,

but my heart wants a new impression of love.

May God save heaven and earth.

In my heart I pray there's no recession of love.

God, don't let me repeat these sins! Oh, Shakeel,

your heart wants to undo your transgression of love.

Translation from the Urdu

By Anshuman Chandra & Zack Rogow


Sha'ir Lakhnavi

So many strange images of life to see -

sand stretching as far as the blue sea.

All these are just memories of lights,

faces in your heart that sometimes you see.

If my heart stops will I realize how many

have helped me in storms to get through sea?

Tenderness of heart - such a rare quality.

Granite hearts are all there are to see.

Silence deep as an alpine lake -

quiet ones hold within them the true sea.

Sha'ir - even the dagger is sliced now.

Only God knows how deep are the wounds you see.

Translation from the Urdu

By Anshuman Chandra & Zack Rogow

Urban Ghazal

Zack Rogow

You know how little hope buys in the big city -

everyone pulling at the same prize in the big city.

Girls who wear their clothes like wings

leave a trail of eyes in the big city.

The kid on the corner tries not to look

like he's living on ketchup and fries in the big city.

Sometimes a dream boards a bus to get here,

then it turns to smoke and cries in the big city.

I love the unforeseen hats and the gymnastic words

and the tightly clad thighs in the big city.

Near to, but not at, the bottom of the pile -

that's where they rise in the big city.

It's not about Saint Francis of the A Train. …

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