Poetry in Translation: Lullaby for a Palestinian Child

The legendary Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz was in Beirut in 1980 as Israeli helicopter gunships rained fire down upon Palestinian camps there. He wrote this lullaby as a response. I have translated it by listening to it one line at a time using the video given at the end, below, but then I also found an original Urdu version which I am also giving next to my translation.


Don't cry child,
your mommy has only
just cried herself to sleep.

Don't cry child,
just a while ago
your daddy took leave
of all his sorrows.

Don't cry child,
your brother has gone
to another land chasing
after his butterfly dreams.

Don't cry child,
your sister has married
and left for another country.

Don't cry child,
in your courtyard
they bathed the dead sun,
and buried the moon,
before leaving.

Don't cry child,
if you cry,
mommy, daddy, sister, brother,
the moon and the sun, all
will have you made even weepier.

But maybe if you smile,
they will one day all return
in a different guise
to play with you.