Ground Zero

After Sir Mohammed (Iqbal)

Twist your curls to an even fiery radiance
Break a few hearts, shatter all the senses

When passion is revealed, can beauty be concealed?
Unveil yourself

I’m a shell, my luster tarnished; am a shard of pottery
But I can be a royal pearl

You’re a vast ocean, not merely a brook like me—
To share a shore or to be a shoreless sea?

My song of spring is a scorched sigh!
I’ll be a skylark— fly

“Leave this garden at once,” that was the command
A world will take longer to mend; wait now for me

At Ground Zero
You’ll be embarrassed

But so will I, surely

Rafiq Kathwari translated Iqbal, from the Urdu, working with Professors Richard Howard and Frances Pritchett at Columbia University as well as many other well wishers and friends who helped with the nuances of transliterations.