after Iqbal’s Shabnum aur Sitaray (Dew and Stars)

A star said to a dewdrop: “Tell
the story of a garden
far from the heavens
to which the moon sings.”

The dewdrop replied: “O star
not a garden, but a world of sighs;
the breeze visits only to return;
the rose, garden’s flourish, blooms

to wither, bears the pain,
is silent as a nightingale laments,
can’t gather pearls even from its
own hem. The humming bird is

imprisoned, thorns concealed
by roses, eye of the ailing iris forever
moist, the box tree scorched,
free only in name: An outrage!

The moon revolves to cure her heart.
Stars are sparks of man’s burning.
I am the sky’s teardrop. The garden is
air, a sad image on the horizon’s canvas.”

by Rafiq Kathwari, whose first book of poems is forthcoming in April 2015 from Doire Press, Ireland. More work here.