Making Peace

A voice from the dark called out,
“The poets must give us
imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar
imagination of disaster. Peace, not only
the absence of war.”
But peace, like a poem,
is not there ahead of itself,
can’t be imagined before it is made,
can’t be known except
in the words of its making,
grammar of justice,
syntax of mutual aid.
A feeling towards it,
dimly sensing a rhythm, is all we have
until we begin to utter its metaphors,
learning them as we speak.
A line of peace might appear
if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,
revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,
questioned our needs, allowed
long pauses. . . .
A cadence of peace might balance its weight
on that different fulcrum; peace, a presence,
an energy field more intense than war,
might pulse then,
stanza by stanza into the world,
each act of living
one of its words, each word
a vibration of light–facets
of the forming crystal.

--- Denise Levertov



हर किसी को नहीं आते
बेजान बारूद के कणों में
सोई आग के सपने नहीं आते
बदी के लिए उठी हुयी
हथेली को पसीने नहीं आते
शेल्फों में पड़े
इतिहास के ग्रंथो को सपने नहीं आते
सपनों के लिए लाज़मी है
झेलनेवाले दिलों का होना
नींद की नज़र होनी लाज़मी है
सपने इसलिए हर किसी को नहीं आते|

--- अवतार सिंह संधू "पाश"


उर्दू है मेरा नाम

उर्दू है मेरा नाम, मैं ख़ुसरो की पहेली
मैं मीर की हमराज़ हूं, ग़ालिब की सहेली

दक्‍कन के वली ने मुझे गोदी में खिलाया
सौदा के क़सीदों ने मेरा हुस्‍न बढ़ाया
है मीर की अज़्मत कि मुझे चलना सिखाया
मैं दाग़ के आंगन में खिली बन के चमेली

उर्दू है मेरा नाम, मैं ख़ुसरो की पहेली
मैं मीर की हमराज़ हूं, ग़ालिब की सहेली

ग़ालिब ने बुलंदी का सफ़र मुझको सिखाया
हाली ने मुरव्‍वत का सबक़ याद दिलाया
इक़बाल ने आईना-ए-हक़ मुझको दिखाया
मोमिन ने सजायी मेरे ख्‍़वाबों की हवेली

उर्दू है मेरा नाम, मैं ख़ुसरो की पहेली
मैं मीर की हमराज़ हूं, ग़ालिब की सहेली

है ज़ौक़ की अज़्मत कि दिये मुझको सहारे
चकबस्‍त की उल्‍फ़त ने मेरे ख्‍़वाब संवारे
फ़ानी ने सजाये मेरी पलकों पे सितारे
अकबर ने रचायी मेरी बेरंग हथेली

उर्दू है मेरा नाम, मैं ख़ुसरो की पहेली
मैं मीर की हमराज़ हूं, ग़ालिब की सहेली

क्‍यूं मुझको बनाते हो तआस्‍सुब का निशाना
मैंने तो कभी ख़ुद को मुसलमां नहीं माना
देखा था कभी मैंने भी ख़ुशियों का ज़माना
अपने ही वतन में हूं मगर आज अकेली

उर्दू है मेरा नाम, मैं ख़ुसरो की पहेली
मैं मीर की हमराज़ हूं, ग़ालिब की सहेली

✒ इक़बाल अशहर



We work too hard
We’re too tired
to fall in love.
Therefore we must
overthrow the government.

We work too hard
We’re too tired
to overthrow the government.
Therefore we must
fall in love.

Rod Smith


The Graveyard By The Sea

This quiet roof, where dove-sails saunter by,
Between the pines, the tombs, throbs visibly.
Impartial noon patterns the sea in flame --
That sea forever starting and re-starting.
When thought has had its hour, oh how rewarding
Are the long vistas of celestial calm!
What grace of light, what pure toil goes to form
The manifold diamond of the elusive foam!
What peace I feel begotten at that source!
When sunlight rests upon a profound sea,
Time's air is sparkling, dream is certainty --
Pure artifice both of an eternal Cause.

Sure treasure, simple shrine to intelligence,
Palpable calm, visible reticence,
Proud-lidded water, Eye wherein there wells
Under a film of fire such depth of sleep --
O silence! . . . Mansion in my soul, you slope
Of gold, roof of a myriad golden tiles.

Temple of time, within a brief sigh bounded,
To this rare height inured I climb, surrounded
By the horizons of a sea-girt eye.
And, like my supreme offering to the gods,
That peaceful coruscation only breeds
A loftier indifference on the sky.

Even as a fruit's absorbed in the enjoying,
Even as within the mouth its body dying
Changes into delight through dissolution,
So to my melted soul the heavens declare
All bounds transfigured into a boundless air,
And I breathe now my future's emanation.

Beautiful heaven, true heaven, look how I change!
After such arrogance, after so much strange
Idleness -- strange, yet full of potency --
I am all open to these shining spaces;
Over the homes of the dead my shadow passes,
Ghosting along -- a ghost subduing me.
My soul laid bare to your midsummer fire,
O just, impartial light whom I admire,

Whose arms are merciless, you have I stayed
And give back, pure, to your original place.
Look at yourself . . . But to give light implies
No less a somber moiety of shade.

Oh, for myself alone, mine, deep within
At the heart's quick, the poem's fount, between
The void and its pure issue, I beseech
The intimations of my secret power.
O bitter, dark, and echoing reservoir
Speaking of depths always beyond my reach.

But know you -- feigning prisoner of the boughs,
Gulf which cats up their slender prison-bars,
Secret which dazzles though mine eyes are closed --
What body drags me to its lingering end,
What mind draws it to this bone-peopled ground?
A star broods there on all that I have lost.

Closed, hallowed, full of insubstantial fire,
Morsel of earth to heaven's light given o'er --
This plot, ruled by its flambeaux, pleases me --
A place all gold, stone, and dark wood, where shudders
So much marble above so many shadows:
And on my tombs, asleep, the faithful sea.

Keep off the idolaters, bright watch-dog, while --
A solitary with the shepherd's smile --
I pasture long my sheep, my mysteries,
My snow-white flock of undisturbed graves!
Drive far away from here the careful doves,
The vain daydreams, the angels' questioning eyes!

Now present here, the future takes its time.
The brittle insect scrapes at the dry loam;
All is burnt up, used up, drawn up in air
To some ineffably rarefied solution . . .
Life is enlarged, drunk with annihilation,
And bitterness is sweet, and the spirit clear.

The dead lie easy, hidden in earth where they
Are warmed and have their mysteries burnt away.
Motionless noon, noon aloft in the blue
Broods on itself -- a self-sufficient theme.
O rounded dome and perfect diadem,

I am what's changing secretly in you.

I am the only medium for your fears.
My penitence, my doubts, my baulked desires --
These are the flaw within your diamond pride . . .
But in their heavy night, cumbered with marble,
Under the roots of trees a shadow people
Has slowly now come over to your side.
To an impervious nothingness they're thinned,
For the red clay has swallowed the white kind;
Into the flowers that gift of life has passed.
Where are the dead? -- their homely turns of speech,
The personal grace, the soul informing each?
Grubs thread their way where tears were once composed.

The bird-sharp cries of girls whom love is teasing,
The eyes, the teeth, the eyelids moistly closing,
The pretty breast that gambles with the flame,
The crimson blood shining when lips are yielded,
The last gift, and the fingers that would shield it --
All go to earth, go back into the game.

And you, great soul, is there yet hope in you
To find some dream without the lying hue
That gold or wave offers to fleshly eyes?
Will you be singing still when you're thin air?
All perishes. A thing of flesh and pore
Am I. Divine impatience also dies.

Lean immortality, all crêpe and gold,
Laurelled consoler frightening to behold,
Death is a womb, a mother's breast, you feign
The fine illusion, oh the pious trick!
Who does not know them, and is not made sick
That empty skull, that everlasting grin?

Ancestors deep down there, 0 derelict heads
Whom such a weight of spaded earth o'erspreads,
Who are the earth, in whom our steps are lost,
The real flesh-eater, worm unanswerable
Is not for you that sleep under the table:
Life is his meat, and I am still his host.

'Love,' shall we call him? 'Hatred of self,' maybe?
His secret tooth is so intimate with me
That any name would suit him well enough,
Enough that he can see, will, daydream, touch --
My flesh delights him, even upon my couch
I live but as a morsel of his life.

Zeno, Zeno, cruel philosopher Zeno,
Have you then pierced me with your feathered arrow
That hums and flies, yet does not fly! The sounding
Shaft gives me life, the arrow kills. Oh, sun! --
Oh, what a tortoise-shadow to outrun
My soul, Achilles' giant stride left standing!

No, no! Arise! The future years unfold.
Shatter, O body, meditation's mould!
And, O my breast, drink in the wind's reviving!
A freshness, exhalation of the sea,
Restores my soul . . . Salt-breathing potency!
Let's run at the waves and be hurled back to living!

Yes, mighty sea with such wild frenzies gifted
(The panther skin and the rent chlamys), sifted
All over with sun-images that glisten,
Creature supreme, drunk on your own blue flesh,
Who in a tumult like the deepest hush
Bite at your sequin-glittering tail -- yes, listen!

The wind is rising! . . . We must try to live!
The huge air opens and shuts my book: the wave
Dares to explode out of the rocks in reeking
Spray. Fly away, my sun-bewildered pages!
Break, waves! Break up with your rejoicing surges
This quiet roof where sails like doves were pecking.

---Paul Valery
-Translation by C. Day Lewis


बड़ी उलझन में पड़ जाता हूँ मेरे देश,

बड़ी उलझन में पड़ जाता हूँ मेरे देश,
देखता हूँ जब भी तुम्हें मुख़्तलिफ़ शक्लों,रंगों और नारों में!

तुम्हें ढोता हूँ अब अपने माथे पर
मेरे लहू और मेरी मौत के बीच:
तुम गुलाब हो या क़ब्रगाह?

तुम्हें देखता हूँ बच्चों की तरह
अपने पेट को घसीटते गुड़कते हुए
आज्ञाकारी,दण्डवत अपनी खुद की पहनाई हुई बेड़ियों में
हर चाबुक के लिए अलग चमड़ी पहनते हुए...
तुम गुलाब हो या क़ब्रगाह?

तुमने मेरी हत्या की
तुमने मेरे गीतों की हत्या की
तुम सिर्फ जनसंहार हो
या कोई क्रांति?

बड़ी उलझन में पड़ जाता हूँ मेरे देश जब भी
देखता हूँ तुम्हें मुख़्तलिफ़ शक्लों,रंगों और नारों में...

रूपांतर:‪#‎सुधांशु‬ फ़िरदौस


अंत में

अंत में
हमें पैदा नहीं होना था
हमें लड़ना नहीं था
हमें तो हेमकुंठ पर बैठ कर
भक्ति करनी थी
लेकिन जब सतलुज के पानी से भाप उठी
जब क़ाज़ी नज़रुल इस्लाम की जुबाान रुकी
जब लड़को के पास देखा 'जेम्स बांड'
तो मैं कह उठा, चल भाई संत संधू*
नीचे धरती पर चले
पापों का बोझ तो बढ़ता जाता हैं
और अब हम आएं है
यह लो हमारा ज़फरनामा
हमारे हिस्से की कटार हमें दे दो
हमारा पेट हाज़िर हैं……।
(संत संधू* =पाश के कवि मित्र )




Your unhappy and silly youth.
Your arrival from the provinces in the city.
Misted-over windowpanes of streetcars,
Restless misery of the crowd.
Your dread when you entered a place too expensive.
But everything was too expensive. Too high.
Those people must have noticed your crude manners,
Your outmoded clothes, and your awkwardness.

There were none who would stand by you and say,

You are a handsome boy,
You are strong and healthy,
Your misfortunes are imaginary.

You would not have envied a tenor in an overcoat of camel hair
Had you guessed his fear and known how he would die.

She, the red-haired, because of whom you suffer tortures,
So beautiful she seems to you, is a doll in fire.
You don’t understand what she screams with her lips of a clown.

The shapes of hats, the cut of robes, faces in the mirrors,
You will remember all that unclearly, as something from long ago,
Or as what remains from a dream.

The house you approach trembling,
The apartment that dazzles you—
Look, on this spot the cranes clear the rubble.

In your turn you will have, possess, secure,
Able to be proud at last, when there is no reason.

Your wishes will be fulfilled, you will gape then
At the essence of time, woven of smoke and mist,

An iridescent fabric of lives that last one day,
Which rises and falls like an unchanging sea.

Books you have read will be of use no more.
You searched for an answer but lived without answer.

You will walk in the streets of southern cities,
Restored to your beginnings, seeing again in rapture
The whiteness of a garden after the first night of snow.

--- Czeslaw Milosz

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