May 22, 2010

The Mask of Anarchy

Percy Bysshe Shelley - Written on the occasion of the massacre carried out by the British Government at Peterloo, Manchester 1819

As I lay asleep in Italy
There came a voice from over the Sea,
And with great power it forth led me
To walk in the visions of Poesy.

I met Murder on the way -
He had a mask like Castlereagh -
Very smooth he looked, yet grim;
Seven blood-hounds followed him:

All were fat; and well they might
Be in admirable plight,
For one by one, and two by two,
He tossed the human hearts to chew
Which from his wide cloak he drew.

Next came Fraud, and he had on,
Like Eldon, an ermined gown;
His big tears, for he wept well,
Turned to mill-stones as they fell.

And the little children, who
Round his feet played to and fro,
Thinking every tear a gem,
Had their brains knocked out by them.

Clothed with the Bible, as with light,
And the shadows of the night,
Like Sidmouth, next, Hypocrisy
On a crocodile rode by.

And many more Destructions played
In this ghastly masquerade,
All disguised, even to the eyes,
Like Bishops, lawyers, peers, or spies.

Last came Anarchy: he rode
On a white horse, splashed with blood;
He was pale even to the lips,
Like Death in the Apocalypse.

And he wore a kingly crown;
And in his grasp a sceptre shone;
On his brow this mark I saw -

With a pace stately and fast,
Over English land he passed,
Trampling to a mire of blood
The adoring multitude.

And a mighty troop around,
With their trampling shook the ground,
Waving each a bloody sword,
For the service of their Lord.

And with glorious triumph, they
Rode through England proud and gay,
Drunk as with intoxication
Of the wine of desolation.

O'er fields and towns, from sea to sea,
Passed the Pageant swift and free,
Tearing up, and trampling down;
Till they came to London town.

And each dweller, panic-stricken,
Felt his heart with terror sicken
Hearing the tempestuous cry
Of the triumph of Anarchy.

For with pomp to meet him came,
Clothed in arms like blood and flame,
The hired murderers, who did sing
'Thou art God, and Law, and King.

'We have waited, weak and lone
For thy coming, Mighty One!
Our Purses are empty, our swords are cold,
Give us glory, and blood, and gold.'

Lawyers and priests, a motley crowd,
To the earth their pale brows bowed;
Like a bad prayer not over loud,
Whispering - 'Thou art Law and God.' -

Then all cried with one accord,
'Thou art King, and God and Lord;
Anarchy, to thee we bow,
Be thy name made holy now!'

And Anarchy, the skeleton,
Bowed and grinned to every one,
As well as if his education
Had cost ten millions to the nation.

For he knew the Palaces
Of our Kings were rightly his;
His the sceptre, crown and globe,
And the gold-inwoven robe.

So he sent his slaves before
To seize upon the Bank and Tower,
And was proceeding with intent
To meet his pensioned Parliament

When one fled past, a maniac maid,
And her name was Hope, she said:
But she looked more like Despair,
And she cried out in the air:

'My father Time is weak and gray
With waiting for a better day;
See how idiot-like he stands,
Fumbling with his palsied hands!

He has had child after child,
And the dust of death is piled
Over every one but me -
Misery, oh, Misery!'

Then she lay down in the street,
Right before the horses' feet,
Expecting, with a patient eye,
Murder, Fraud, and Anarchy.

When between her and her foes
A mist, a light, an image rose,
Small at first, and weak, and frail
Like the vapour of a vale:

Till as clouds grow on the blast,
Like tower-crowned giants striding fast,
And glare with lightnings as they fly,
And speak in thunder to the sky,

It grew - a Shape arrayed in mail
Brighter than the viper's scale,
And upborne on wings whose grain
Was as the light of sunny rain.

On its helm, seen far away,
A planet, like the Morning's, lay;
And those plumes its light rained through
Like a shower of crimson dew.

With step as soft as wind it passed
O'er the heads of men - so fast
That they knew the presence there,
And looked, - but all was empty air.

As flowers beneath May's footstep waken,
As stars from Night's loose hair are shaken,
As waves arise when loud winds call,
Thoughts sprung where'er that step did fall.

And the prostrate multitude
Looked - and ankle-deep in blood,
Hope, that maiden most serene,
Was walking with a quiet mien:

And Anarchy, the ghastly birth,
Lay dead earth upon the earth;
The Horse of Death tameless as wind
Fled, and with his hoofs did grind
To dust the murderers thronged behind.

A rushing light of clouds and splendour,
A sense awakening and yet tender
Was heard and felt - and at its close
These words of joy and fear arose

As if their own indignant Earth
Which gave the sons of England birth
Had felt their blood upon her brow,
And shuddering with a mother's throe

Had turned every drop of blood
By which her face had been bedewed
To an accent unwithstood, -
As if her heart had cried aloud:

'Men of England, heirs of Glory,
Heroes of unwritten story,
Nurslings of one mighty Mother,
Hopes of her, and one another;

'Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few.

'What is Freedom? - ye can tell
That which slavery is, too well -
For its very name has grown
To an echo of your own.

'Tis to work and have such pay
As just keeps life from day to day
In your limbs, as in a cell
For the tyrants' use to dwell,

'So that ye for them are made
Loom, and plough, and sword, and spade,
With or without your own will bent
To their defence and nourishment.

'Tis to see your children weak
With their mothers pine and peak,
When the winter winds are bleak, -
They are dying whilst I speak.

'Tis to hunger for such diet
As the rich man in his riot
Casts to the fat dogs that lie
Surfeiting beneath his eye;

'Tis to let the Ghost of Gold
Take from Toil a thousandfold
More that e'er its substance could
In the tyrannies of old.

'Paper coin - that forgery
Of the title-deeds, which ye
Hold to something of the worth
Of the inheritance of Earth.

'Tis to be a slave in soul
And to hold no strong control
Over your own wills, but be
All that others make of ye.

'And at length when ye complain
With a murmur weak and vain
'Tis to see the Tyrant's crew
Ride over your wives and you -
Blood is on the grass like dew.

'Then it is to feel revenge
Fiercely thirsting to exchange
Blood for blood - and wrong for wrong -
Do not thus when ye are strong.

'Birds find rest, in narrow nest
When weary of their wingèd quest
Beasts find fare, in woody lair
When storm and snow are in the air.

'Asses, swine, have litter spread
And with fitting food are fed;
All things have a home but one -
Thou, Oh, Englishman, hast none!

'This is slavery - savage men
Or wild beasts within a den
Would endure not as ye do -
But such ills they never knew.

'What art thou Freedom? O! could slaves
Answer from their living graves
This demand - tyrants would flee
Like a dream's dim imagery:

'Thou art not, as impostors say,
A shadow soon to pass away,
A superstition, and a name
Echoing from the cave of Fame.

'For the labourer thou art bread,
And a comely table spread
From his daily labour come
In a neat and happy home.

'Thou art clothes, and fire, and food
For the trampled multitude -
No - in countries that are free
Such starvation cannot be
As in England now we see.

'To the rich thou art a check,
When his foot is on the neck
Of his victim, thou dost make
That he treads upon a snake.

'Thou art Justice - ne'er for gold
May thy righteous laws be sold
As laws are in England - thou
Shield'st alike the high and low.

'Thou art Wisdom - Freemen never
Dream that God will damn for ever
All who think those things untrue
Of which Priests make such ado.

'Thou art Peace - never by thee
Would blood and treasure wasted be
As tyrants wasted them, when all
Leagued to quench thy flame in Gaul.

'What if English toil and blood
Was poured forth, even as a flood?
It availed, Oh, Liberty,
To dim, but not extinguish thee.

'Thou art Love - the rich have kissed
Thy feet, and like him following Christ,
Give their substance to the free
And through the rough world follow thee,

'Or turn their wealth to arms, and make
War for thy belovèd sake
On wealth, and war, and fraud - whence they
Drew the power which is their prey.

'Science, Poetry, and Thought
Are thy lamps; they make the lot
Of the dwellers in a cot
So serene, they curse it not.

'Spirit, Patience, Gentleness,
All that can adorn and bless
Art thou - let deeds, not words, express
Thine exceeding loveliness.

'Let a great Assembly be
Of the fearless and the free
On some spot of English ground
Where the plains stretch wide around.

'Let the blue sky overhead,
The green earth on which ye tread,
All that must eternal be
Witness the solemnity.

'From the corners uttermost
Of the bounds of English coast;
From every hut, village, and town
Where those who live and suffer moan,

'From the workhouse and the prison
Where pale as corpses newly risen,
Women, children, young and old
Groan for pain, and weep for cold -

'From the haunts of daily life
Where is waged the daily strife
With common wants and common cares
Which sows the human heart with tares -

'Lastly from the palaces
Where the murmur of distress
Echoes, like the distant sound
Of a wind alive around

'Those prison halls of wealth and fashion,
Where some few feel such compassion
For those who groan, and toil, and wail
As must make their brethren pale -

'Ye who suffer woes untold,
Or to feel, or to behold
Your lost country bought and sold
With a price of blood and gold -

'Let a vast assembly be,
And with great solemnity
Declare with measured words that ye
Are, as God has made ye, free -

'Be your strong and simple words
Keen to wound as sharpened swords,
And wide as targes let them be,
With their shade to cover ye.

'Let the tyrants pour around
With a quick and startling sound,
Like the loosening of a sea,
Troops of armed emblazonry.

Let the charged artillery drive
Till the dead air seems alive
With the clash of clanging wheels,
And the tramp of horses' heels.

'Let the fixèd bayonet
Gleam with sharp desire to wet
Its bright point in English blood
Looking keen as one for food.

'Let the horsemen's scimitars
Wheel and flash, like sphereless stars
Thirsting to eclipse their burning
In a sea of death and mourning.

'Stand ye calm and resolute,
Like a forest close and mute,
With folded arms and looks which are
Weapons of unvanquished war,

'And let Panic, who outspeeds
The career of armèd steeds
Pass, a disregarded shade
Through your phalanx undismayed.

'Let the laws of your own land,
Good or ill, between ye stand
Hand to hand, and foot to foot,
Arbiters of the dispute,

'The old laws of England - they
Whose reverend heads with age are gray,
Children of a wiser day;
And whose solemn voice must be
Thine own echo - Liberty!

'On those who first should violate
Such sacred heralds in their state
Rest the blood that must ensue,
And it will not rest on you.

'And if then the tyrants dare
Let them ride among you there,
Slash, and stab, and maim, and hew, -
What they like, that let them do.

'With folded arms and steady eyes,
And little fear, and less surprise,
Look upon them as they slay
Till their rage has died away.

'Then they will return with shame
To the place from which they came,
And the blood thus shed will speak
In hot blushes on their cheek.

'Every woman in the land
Will point at them as they stand -
They will hardly dare to greet
Their acquaintance in the street.

'And the bold, true warriors
Who have hugged Danger in wars
Will turn to those who would be free,
Ashamed of such base company.

'And that slaughter to the Nation
Shall steam up like inspiration,
Eloquent, oracular;
A volcano heard afar.

'And these words shall then become
Like Oppression's thundered doom
Ringing through each heart and brain,
Heard again - again - again -

'Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number -
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few.'

May 21, 2010

कभी कभी

कभी कभी मेरे दिल में ख्याल आता है

के ज़िंदगी तिरी जुल्फों के नर्म सायों में
गुजरने पाती तो शादाब हो भी सकती थी
ये तीरगी जो मेरी जीस्त का मुकद्दर है
तेरी नज़र कि शुआयों में खो भी सकती थी

अजब ना था कि मैं बेगाना-ऐ-आलम रह कर
तिरी जमाल कि रानाइयों में खो रहता
तिरा गुदाज़ बदन तेरी नीमबाज़ आंखें
इन्हीं हसीन फसानों में महव हो रहता

पुकारती मुझे जब तल्खियां ज़माने की
तिरे लबों से हलावत के घूँट पी लेता
हयात चीखती फिरती बरहना सर और मैं
घनेरी ज़ुल्फ के साए में छुप के जी लेता

मगर ये हो ना सका और अब ये आलम है
के तू नहीं, तिरा गम ,तेरी जुस्तजू भी नहीं
गुज़र रही है कुछ इस तरह ज़िंदगी जैसे
इसे किसी के सहारे कि आरजू भी नहीं

ज़माने भर के दुखों को लगा चुका हूँ गले
गुज़र रहा हूँ कुछ अनजानी रह गुजारों से
मुहीब साए मेरी सम्त बढ़ते आते हैं
हयात-ओ-मौत के पुरहौल खारज़ारों से

ना कोई जादा, ना मंजिल, ना रोशनी का सुराग
भटक रही है खलायों में जिंदगी मेरी
इन्हीं खलायों में रह जाऊंगा कभी खोकर
मैं जानता हूँ मेरी हमनफस मगर यूंही

कभी कभी मेरे दिल में ख़याल आता है

---साहिर लुध्यानवी

एक असैनिक व्यथा...

दोस्त मेरे !
अच्छे लगते हो
अपनी आवाज बुलंद करते हुये
मुल्क के हर दूसरे मुद्दे पर
जब-तब, अक्सर ही
शब्द तुम्हारे गुलाम हैं
कलम तुम्हारी है कनीज़

बहुत भाते हो तुम
ओ कामरेड मेरे !
कवायद करते हुये
सूरज को मिलते अतिरिक्त धूप के खिलाफ
बादल को हासिल अनावश्यक पानी के विरूद्ध

बुरे तब भी नहीं लगते,
यकीन जानो,
जब तौलते हो तुम
चंद गिने-चुनों की कारगुजारियों पर
पूरी बिरादरी के वजन को
और तब भी नहीं
इंगित करते हो अपनी ऊँगलियाँ जब
दमकती वर्दी की कलफ़ में लगे
कुछ अनचाहे धब्बों पर

शेष वर्दी कितनी ही
दमक रही हो,
तुम्हारी पारखी नजरें
ढ़ूँढ़ ही निकालती हैं धब्बों को

पसंद आता है
ये पैनापन तुम्हारी
नजरों का
प्रेरित होता हूँ मैं इनसे
इन्हीं की तर्ज पर
पूरे दिल्लीवालों को
बलात्कारी कहने के लिये

नहीं, मैं नहीं कहता,
आँकड़े कहते हैं
"मुल्क की राजधानी में होते हैं
सबसे अधिक बलात्कार"
तुम्हारे शब्दों को ही उधार लेकर
पूरी दिल्ली को ये विशेषण देना
फिर अनुचित तो नहीं...?

कुछ इरोम शर्मिलाओं संग
एक मुट्ठी भर नुमाइंदों द्वारा
की गयी नाइंसाफी का तोहमत
तुम भी तो जड़ते हो
पूरे कुनबे पर

सफर में हुई चंद बदतमिजियों
की तोहमतें
तुम भी तो लगाते हो
तमाम तबके पर

...तो क्या हुआ
कि उन मुट्ठी भर नुमाइंदों के
लाखों अन्य भाई-बंधु
खड़े रहते हैं शून्य से नीचे
की कंपकपाती सर्दी में भी
मुस्तैद सतर्क चपल
चौबीसों घंटे

...तो क्या हुआ
कि उन चंद बदतमिजों के
हजारों अन्य संगी-साथी
तुम्हारे पसीने से ज्यादा
अपना खून बहाते हैं
हर रोज

तुम्हें भान नहीं
मित्र मेरे,
इन लाखों भाई-बंधु
इन हजारों संगी-साथी
की सजग ऊँगलियाँ
जमी रहती हैं राइफल के ट्रिगर पर
तो शब्द बने रहते हैं गुलाम तुम्हारे
तो बनी रहती है कनीज़ तुम्हारी कलम
तो हक़ बना रहता है तुम्हारा
खुद को बुद्धिजीवी कहलाने का

सच कहता हूँ
जरा भी बुरे नहीं लगते तुम
हमसाये मेरे
तुम्हारे गुलाम शब्दों का दोषारोपन
तुम्हारी कनीज़ कलम के लगाये इल्जाम
प्रेरक बनते हैं
मेरे कर्तव्य-पालन में
तुम्हीं कहो
कैसे नहीं अच्छे लगोगे
फिर तुम,
ऐ दोस्त मेरे...

--- गौतम राजरिशी

Poem taken from his blog and can be read there also.

May 20, 2010


f you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

--- Rudyard_Kipling

May 17, 2010

Can you imprison poetry?

‘While briefly chilled, I want to tell
without vengeance and what’s more with joy
how from my bed in Buenos Aires
the police took me to prison.
It was late, we had just arrived from Chile,
and without saying anything to us
they plundered my friend’s papers,
they offended the house in which I slept,
My wife vented her disdain
but there were orders to be executed
and in a moving car we roved about
the tyrannous black night.
They it was not Peron, it was another,
a new tyrant for Argentina
and by his orders doors opened,
bolt after bolt was unlocked
in order to swallow me, the patios passed,
forty bars and the infirmary,
but still they took me up into a cell,
the most impenetrable and hidden:
only there did they feel protected
from the exhalations of my poetry.’

--- Pablo Neruda

May 15, 2010

AUF WIEDERSEHEN (Until we meet again!)

Of the familiar words, that men repeat
At parting in the street.
Ah yes, till then! but when death intervening
Rends us asunder, with what ceaseless pain
We wait for the Again!

The friends who leave us do not feel the sorrow
Of parting, as we feel it, who must stay
Lamenting day by day,
And knowing, when we wake upon the morrow,
We shall not find in its accustomed place
The one beloved face.

It were a double grief, if the departed,
Being released from earth, should still retain
A sense of earthly pain;
It were a double grief, if the true-hearted,
Who loved us here, should on the farther shore
Remember us no more.

Believing, in the midst of our afflictions,
That death is a beginning, not an end,
We cry to them, and send
Farewells, that better might be called predictions,
Being fore-shadowings of the future, thrown
Into the vast Unknown.

Faith overleaps the confines of our reason,
And if by faith, as in old times was said,
Women received their dead
Raised up to life, then only for a season
Our partings are, nor shall we wait in vain
Until we meet again!

--- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Written in memory of the Poet's long time friend and publisher, Mr James T. Fields..)
आंखों में पानी देख
कहीं तुम्हे
रोने का भ्रम ना हो जाए
तुम नहीं जानते
रोते हुए , आंसू
बाहर नहीं
अन्दर गिरते हैं

- गुरमीत बराङ

May 4, 2010

Concert in the Garden

Concert in the Garden

It rained.
The hour is an enormous eye.
Inside it we come and go like reflections.
The river of music
enters my blood.
If I say body, it answers wind.
If I say earth, it answers where?

The world, a double blossom, opens:
sadness of having come,
joy of being here.

I walk lost in my own center.

by Octavio Paz
from The Collected Poems 1957-1987;
Carcanet Press Limited

Concierto en el Jardín

La hora es un ojo inmenso.
En ella andamos como reflejos.
El río de la música
entra en mi sangre.
Si digo: cuerpo, contesta: viento.
Si digo: tierra, contesta: ¿dónde?

Se abre, flor doble, el mundo:
tristeza de haber venido,
alegría de estar aquí.

Ando perdido en mi propio centro.

Octavio Paz

May 1, 2010

कभी ख़ुद पे, कभी हालात पे रोना आया

कभी ख़ुद पे, कभी हालात पे रोना आया ।
बात निकली तो हर एक बात पे रोना आया ॥

हम तो समझे थे कि हम भूल गए हैं उन को ।
क्या हुआ आज, यह किस बात पे रोना आया ?

किस लिए जीते हैं हम, किसके लिए जीते हैं ?
बारहा ऐसे सवालात पे रोना आया ॥

कौन रोता है किसी और की ख़ातिर, ऐ दोस्त !
सब को अपनी ही किसी बात पे रोना आया ॥

--- Sahir ludhianvi

कुछ इशारे थे जिन्हें दुनिया समझ बैठे थे हम

कुछ इशारे थे जिन्हें दुनिया समझ बैठे थे हम
उस निगाह-ए-आशना को क्या समझ बैठे थे हम

रफ़्ता रफ़्ता ग़ैर अपनी ही नज़र में हो गये
वाह री ग़फ़्लत तुझे अपना समझ बैठे थे हम

होश की तौफ़ीक़ भी कब अहल-ए-दिल को हो सकी
इश्क़ में अपने को दीवाना समझ बैठे थे हम

बेनियाज़ी को तेरी पाया सरासर सोज़-ओ-दर्द
तुझ को इक दुनिया से बेगाना समझ बैठे थे हम

भूल बैठी वो निगाह-ए-नाज़ अहद-ए-दोस्ती
उस को भी अपनी तबीयत का समझ बैठे थे हम

हुस्न को इक हुस्न की समझे नहीं और ऐ 'फ़िराक़'
मेहरबाँ नामेहरबाँ क्या क्या समझ बैठे थे हम |

--- Firaq Gorakhpuri

I Don't Wield Weapons:

I Don't Wield Weapons:
When I came out of your
womb no sword was gifted
nor gun
nor bomb;
you endowed me only a life.
should I protest in regret
Condemning you
Pulling you out of the

--- Thoudam Netrajit Singh

Khwaab Martay Naheen

ख़्वाब मरते नहीं
ख़्वाब दिल हैं न आँखें न साँसें कि जो
रेज़ा-रेज़ा[1] हुए तो बिखर जाएँगे
जिस्म की मौत से ये भी मर जाएँगे
ख़्वाब मरते नहीं
ख़्वाब तो रोशनी हैं नवा हैं[2] हवा हैं
जो काले पहाड़ों से रुकते नहीं
ज़ुल्म के दोज़खों से भी फुकते नहीं
रोशनी और नवा के अलम
मक़्तलों[3] में पहुँचकर भी झुकते नहीं
ख़्वाब तो हर्फ़[4] हैं
ख़्वाब तो नूर[5] हैं
ख़्वाब सुक़रात [6] हैं
ख़्वाब मंसूर[7]हैं.

--- अहमद फ़राज़

1-↑ कण-कण
2-↑ आवाज़
3-↑ वधस्थल
4-↑ अक्षर
5-↑ प्रकाश
6-↑ जिन्हें सच कहने के लिए ज़ह्र का प्याला पीना पड़ा था
7- ↑ एक वली(महात्मा) जिन्होंने ‘अनलहक़’ (मैं ईश्वर हूँ) कहा था और इस अपराध के लिए उनकी गर्दन काट डाली गई थी

(Dreams Do Not Die)
Dreams are not heart, nor eyes or breath
Which shattered, will scatter (or)
Die with the death of the body.

Dreams do not die.
But dreams are light, voice, wind,
Which cannot be stopped by mountains black,
Which do not perish in the hells of cruelty,
Ensigns of light and voice and wind,
Bow not, even in abattoirs.

But dreams are letters,
But dreams are illumination,
Dreams are Socrates,
Dreams - Divine Victory!'

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