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Taj Mahal


The Taj, mayhap, to you may seem, a mark of love supreme
You may hold this beauteous vale in great esteem;
Yet, my love, meet me hence at some other place!

How odd for the poor folk to frequent royal resorts;
‘Tis strange that the amorous souls should tread the regal paths
Trodden once by mighty kings and their proud consorts.
Behind the facade of love my dear, you had better seen,
The marks of imperial might that herein lie screen
You who take delight in tombs of kings deceased,
Should have seen the hutments dark where you and I did wean.
Countless men in this world must have loved and gone,
Who would say their loves weren’t truthful or strong?
But in the name of their loves, no memorial is raised
For they too, like you and me, belonged to the common throng.

These structures and sepulchres, these ramparts and forts,
These relics of the mighty dead are, in fact, no more
Than the cancerous tumours on the face of earth,
Fattened on our ancestor’s very blood and bones.
They too must have loved, my love, whose hands had made,
This marble monument, nicely chiselled and shaped
But their dear ones lived and died, unhonoured, unknown,
None burnt even a taper on their lowly graves.

This bank of Jamuna, this edifice, these groves and lawns,
These carved walls and doors, arches and alcoves,
An emperor on the strength of wealth, Has played with us a cruel joke.
Meet me hence, my love, at some other place.

Translation by K.C. Kanda, appeared in Masterpieces of Urdu Nazm published by Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd.

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ताजमहल – ये चमनज़ार यह जमुना का किनारा ये महल


ताज तेरे लिए इक मजहर-ऐ-उल्फत ही सही
तुझ को इस वादी-ऐ-रंगीन से अकीदत ही सही

मेर्री मेहबूब कहीं और मिला कर मुझ से

बज़्म-ऐ-शाही में ग़रीबों का गुज़र क्या मा’अनी
सब्त जिस राज पे हों सतवत-ऐ-शाही के निशाँ
उस पे उल्फत भरी रूहों का सफ़र क्या मा’अनी

मेरी महबूब पास-ऐ-पर्दा-ऐ-ताश-हीर-ऐ-वफ़ा
तू ने सतवत के निशानों को तो देखा होता
मुर्दा शाहों के मकाबिर से बहलने वाली
अपने तारीक मकानों को तो देखा होता

अनगिनत लोगों ने दुनिया में मुहब्बत की है
कौन कहता है की सादिक न थे जज्बे उन के
लेकिन उन के लिए ताश-हीर का सामान नहीं
क्यूँ के वो लोग भी अपनी ही तरह मुफलिस थे

ये इमारात-ओ-मकाबिर ये फ़सीलें,ये हिसार
मुतला-कुल्हुक्म शहंशाहों की अजमत के सुतून
दामन-ऐ-दहर पे उस रंग की गुलकारी है
जिस में सामिल है तेरे और मेरे अजदाद का खून

मेरी महबूब! उन्हें भी तो मुहब्बत होगी
जिनकी सन्ना-ई ने बख्शी है इसे शक्ल-जमील
उन के प्यारों के मकाबिर रहे बेनाम-ओ-नमूद
आज तक उन पे जल्ला-ई न किसी ने कंदील

ये चमनज़ार यह जमुना का किनारा ये महल
ये मुनक्क़श दर-ओ-दीवार, यह मेहराब ये ताक
इक शहंशाह ने दौलत का सहारा ले कर
हम ग़रीबों की मुहब्बत का उराया है मजाक

मेरी महबूब कहीं और मिला कर मुझ से!

–साहिर लुधियानवी(Sahir Ludhianvi 1921-1980)

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does the sky ever grieve?


This is englsih Translation of जो बीत गई सो बात गई

There was a star in life
agreed, it was much loved
when it sank, it did sink.
Look at the sky’s vastness,
so many stars have broken away
so many loved ones it has lost
the lost ones, were they ever found?
But tell me, for the broken stars
does the sky ever grieve?
That which is past, is gone.

There was a flower in life
which, I doted everyday on
when it dried, it dried away.
Look at the garden’s breast,
dried, many of its saplings have
welted, many of its flowers have
that which welted, did it ever bloom?
But tell me, for dried flowers
does the garden create an uproar?
That which is past, is gone.

There was a cup of wine in life
which, you gave your heart and soul for
when it broke, it did break.
Look at the winehouse’s courtyard
shaken, where many cups are
fall, and merge with the ground
that which fall, do they ever rise?
But tell me, for broken cups
does the winehouse ever regret?
That which is past, is gone.

Soft mud, we are made of,
wine drops do tend to fall.
A short life, we have come with,
winecups do tend to break.
Yet, inside the winehouse
there is a winepot, there are winecups.
Those, struck by intoxication
do splurge away on the wine.
He’s a raw drinker,
whose affection escapes no cup,
one who has burnt from true wine
does he ever shout, or scream?
That which is past, is gone.

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जो बीत गई सो बात गई


जीवन में एक सितारा था
माना वह बेहद प्यारा था
वह डूब गया तो डूब गया
अंबर के आंगन को देखो
कितने इसके तारे टूटे
कितने इसके प्यारे छूटे
जो छूट गए फ़िर कहाँ मिले
पर बोलो टूटे तारों पर
कब अंबर शोक मनाता है
जो बीत गई सो बात गई

जीवन में वह था एक कुसुम
थे उस पर नित्य निछावर तुम
वह सूख गया तो सूख गया
मधुबन की छाती को देखो
सूखी कितनी इसकी कलियाँ
मुरझाईं कितनी वल्लरियाँ
जो मुरझाईं फ़िर कहाँ खिलीं
पर बोलो सूखे फूलों पर
कब मधुबन शोर मचाता है
जो बीत गई सो बात गई

जीवन में मधु का प्याला था
तुमने तन मन दे डाला था
वह टूट गया तो टूट गया
मदिरालय का आंगन देखो
कितने प्याले हिल जाते हैं
गिर मिट्टी में मिल जाते हैं
जो गिरते हैं कब उठते हैं
पर बोलो टूटे प्यालों पर
कब मदिरालय पछताता है
जो बीत गई सो बात गई

मृदु मिट्टी के बने हुए हैं
मधु घट फूटा ही करते हैं
लघु जीवन ले कर आए हैं
प्याले टूटा ही करते हैं
फ़िर भी मदिरालय के अन्दर
मधु के घट हैं,मधु प्याले हैं
जो मादकता के मारे हैं
वे मधु लूटा ही करते हैं
वह कच्चा पीने वाला है
जिसकी ममता घट प्यालों पर
जो सच्चे मधु से जला हुआ
कब रोता है चिल्लाता है
जो बीत गई सो बात गई

-हरीवंश राय बच्चन

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And then there were none


Ten little Indian boys went out to dine;

One choked his little self and then there were nine.

Nine little Indian boys sat up very late;

One overslept himself and then there were eight.

Eight little Indian boys traveling in Devon;

One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.

Seven little Indian boys chopping up sticks;

One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.

Six little Indian boys playing with a hive;

A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.

Five little Indian boys going in for law,

One got in Chancery and then there were four.

Four little Indian boys going out to sea;

A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.

Three little Indian boys walking in the Zoo;

A big bear hugged one and then there were two.

Two little Indian boys sitting in the sun;

On got frizzled up and then there was one.

One little Indian boy left all alone;

He went and hanged himself and then there were none.

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विहाग – महादेवी वर्मा


वनमाला के गीतों-सा
निर्जन में बिखरा है मधुमास,
इन कुंजो में खोज रहा है
सुना कोना मंद बतास;

नीरव नभ के नयन पर
हिलती है रजनी की अलके ,
जाने किसका पंथ देखती
बिछ कर फूलों की पलके|

मधुर चांदनी धो जाती है
खाली कलियों के प्याले,
बिखरे से है तार आज
मेरी वीणा के मतवाले;

पहली-सी झंकार नहीं है
और नहीं वह मादक राग,
अतिथि| किन्तु सुनते जाओ
टूटे तारों का करुण विहाग

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the indian to his love


W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)

The island dreams under the dawn
And great boughs drop tranquillity;
The peahens dance on a smooth lawn,
A parrot sways upon a tree,
Raging at his own image in the enamelled sea.

Here we will moor our lonely ship
And wander ever with woven hands,
Murmuring softly lip to lip,
Along the grass, along the sands,
Murmuring how far away are the unquiet lands:

How we alone of mortals are
Hid under quiet boughs apart,
While our love grows an Indian star,
A meteor of the burning heart,
One with the tide that gleams, the wings that gleam and dart,

The heavy boughs, the burnished dove
That moans and sighs a hundred days:
How when we die our shades will rove,
When eve has hushed the feathered ways,
With vapoury footsole by the water’s drowsy blaze.

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Sonnet


Elizabeth Bishop
Buy Books By Elizabeth Bishop Poems

I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling finger-tips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!

There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.

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Riding the Red Line


Eric Nixon
Buy Book – Anything but Dreams: Selected Poems

On the subway
On a hot summer night
Riding the Red Line
Outbound to Alewife
So is everyone else
Standing in the packed car
Staring blankly at the
Reflections in the window
Stealing looks every so often
At the pretty mid-20-something
Sitting on the seat near me
Noticing that she is
Glancing sideways
At the paper the person
Next to her is reading
Well not so much reading
Since he’s got his eyes
Looking to the side at
Someone else behind me
Everyone is pretending
To look somewhere neutral
Everyone is experiencing
Ulterior motives checking out
Everyone else around them
Trying to be all sneaky about it
With each stop
The people change
The dynamics change
Keeps the subway car
Fresh and interesting
Just as long as she doesn’t leave
I’ll be happy standing here
Packed among strangers
With wandering eyes
And stealing glances
Alongside them
On this hot, hot night.

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Some Glad Morning


Joyce Sutphen
Buy Book – Naming the Stars: Poems

One day, something very old
happened again. The green
came back to the branches,
settling like leafy birds
on the highest twigs;
the ground broke open
as dark as coffee beans.

The clouds took up their
positions in the deep stadium
of the sky, gloving the
bright orb of the sun
before they pitched it
over the horizon.

It was as good as ever:
the air was filled
with the scent of lilac
s and cherry blossoms
sounded their long
whistle down the track
It was some glad morning.

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