Wednesday Poem

Ghalib: An Elegy

لازم تھا کہ دیکھو مرارستا کوئی دن اور
تنہا گیے کیوں اب رہو تنہا کوئی دن اور

Go – fix your eyes on the road a few more days.
Gone alone, now wait alone a few more days.

Your headstone or my head, one has got to go.
Give me time to grieve – only a few more days.

Yesterday you came: now you declare, I go.
Can’t you stay back, just a few more days?

It’s good-bye & see you on Judgment Day?
Child, that day is now, not in a few more days.

God of antiquity, Ärif was not yet thirty.
Why could he not have just a few more days?

When were you such a stickler in your life?
The angel’s Q&A could wait a few more days.

I know you hated me and Nayyar was a bore.
O the boys cry, stay back a few more days?

Are they fools that ask, Why does Ghalib live?
My fate – I must crave this life a few more days.

Translated by M. Shahid Alam
from The Western Humanities Review/Summer 2013

Translator's note:
Nayyar was
a friend of Ghalib; he cherished the late Arif,
Ghalib’s nephew, whose death this ghazal commemorates.

Angel’s Q&A: In Islamic tradition, an angel questions the dead in
the grave.