She let go by Safire Rose

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.

She let go of the judgments.

She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.

She let go of the committee of indecision within her.

She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.

Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice.

She didn’t read a book on how to let go.

She didn’t search the scriptures.

She just let go.

She let go of all of the memories that held her back.

She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.

She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go.

She didn’t journal about it.

She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.

She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.

She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.

She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.

She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.

She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.

She didn’t call the prayer line.

She didn’t utter one word.

She just let go.

No one was around when it happened.

There was no applause or congratulations.

No one thanked her or praised her.

No one noticed a thing.

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort.

There was no struggle.

It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.

It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be.

A small smile came over her face.

A light breeze blew through her.

And the sun and the moon shone forevermore…

Divorce by Gayatri Majumdar

A quarter of the seven-year-old
bottle of Jean Nate Friction
pour le Bain After Bath Splash,
an old Chinese king in lac,
a fat Ganesh in pastel pink
and steel utensils.

Sony Walkman, one
of the two crystal flower vases,
all of the photographs, and the brass.
Crockery made in Indonesia,
amber in colour, Webster’s New
Collegiate Dictionary
, not one but two,
the blue and green of the Japanese painting.

Ceiling fans manufactured by 24 Carats,
Netlons, and two wooden cabinets
for soap and lipstick.
Garam masala, bought cheap in America;
a red Banarasi sari.
a Godrej manual typewriter – all articles,
mostly nouns, some prepositions,
not one metaphor,
no verbs either.

Before you came (Original: “tum jo naa aa’e the”) by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Note: The following translation into English is by Naomi Lazard.

Before You Came by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Before you came things were just what they were:

the road precisely a road, the horizon fixed,

the limit of what could be seen,

a glass of wine was no more than a glass of wine.

With you the world took on the spectrum

radiating from my heart: your eyes gold

as they open to me, slate the color

that falls each time I lost all hope.

With your advent roses burst into flame:

you were the artist of dried-up leaves, sorceress

who flicked her wrist to change dust into soot.

You lacquered the night black.

As for the sky, the road, the cup of wine:

one was my tear-drenched shirt,

the other an aching nerve,

the third a mirror that never reflected the same thing.

Now you are here again—stay with me.

This time things will fall into place;

the road can be the road,

the sky nothing but sky;

the glass of wine, as it should be, the glass of wine.


Note: The following translation into English is by Agha Shahid Ali.

Before You Came by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Before you came,

things were as they should be:

the sky was the dead-end of sight,

the road was just a road, wine merely wine.

Now everything is like my heart,

a color at the edge of blood:

the grey of your absence, the color of poison, or thorns,

the gold when we meet, the season ablaze,

the yellow of autumn, the red of flowers, of flames,

and the black when you cover the earth

with the coal of dead fires.

And the sky, the road, the glass of wine?

The sky is a shirt wet with tears,

the road a vein about to break,

and the glass of wine a mirror in which

the sky, the road, the world keep changing.

Don’t leave now that you’re here—

Stay. So the world may become like itself again:

so the sky may be the sky,

the road a road,

and the glass of wine not a mirror, just a glass of wine.


Note: The following translation into English is by Ravi Kopra.

It’s the Color of My Heart by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

When you didn’t come,

things were they should be –

the sky was as far as I could see,

the road to travel by was a road,

the goblet was a glassful of wine.

And now, a glassful of wine,

the road to travel by,

and the color of the sky,

are like the colors of my blood,

flowing from my heart to my liver.

Sometimes golden, like the

shine of your eyes when we meet.

Sometimes grey and saddening like

the sickening feelings of partings.

Other times like colors of old

leaves, of trash, of dry grass,

of red flowers in flower-beds,

of dark sky, of poison, of blood.

Now I see the sky, the road,

the glass full of wine, my wet

robe, my aching nerves in a mirror,

changing moment by moment.

Since you’ve come, please stay.

May the things – the colors, the seasons,

stay as if they were in one place.

May everything be as it used to be –

The sky, as far as I could see,

the road to travel by, a road,

the goblet, brimming with wine.


Note: The following translation into English is by Victor Kiernan.

Before You Came by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Before you came, all things were what they are—

The sky sight’s boundary, the road a road,

The glass of wine a glass of wine; since then,

Road, wineglass, colour of heaven, all have taken

The hues of this heart ready to melt into blood—

Now golden, as the solace of meeting is,

Now grey, the livery of despondent hours,

Or tint of yellowed leaves, of garden trash,

Or scarlet petal, a flowerbed all ablaze:

Colour of poison, colour of blood, or shade

Of sable night. Sky, highroad, glass of wine—

The first a tear-stained robe, the next a nerve

Aching, the last a mirror momently altering….

Now you have come, stay here, and let some colour,

Some month, some anything, keep its own place,

And all things once again be their own selves,

The sky sight’s bound, the road a road, wine wine.


Note: The following translation into English is by Shiv K. Kumar.

The Colour of the Moment by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Before you came, everything was what it is—

the sky, vision-bound

the pathway, the wine-glass.

And now the wine-glass, the pathway, the sky’s tint—

everything bears the colour of my heart

till all melts into blood.

Sometimes the golden tinge, sometimes the hue of the joy of

seeing you,

sometimes ashen, the shade of the dreary moment—

the colour of yellow leaves, of thorn and trash,

of the crimson petals of the flower-beds aglow,

the tint of poison, of blood, of sable night.

The sky, the pathway, the wine-glass—

some tear-stained robe, some wincing nerve,

some ever-revolving mirror.

Now that you’re here, stay onso that so

me colour, some season, some object.


Note: The following translation into English is by Frances W. Pritchett.

It’s the Color of My Heart by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Before you came everything

was what it is:

the sky the limit of sight

the road a road, the glass of wine

a glass of wine.

And now the glass of wine, the road, the color of the sky

are the color of my heart

while it breaks itself down

into blood.

Sometimes a gold color—a color of eyes’ delight

that sooty color, the color of disgus

tthe color of dry leaves, straw, thorns

the color of red flowers in a blazing garden

poison color, blood color, the color of black night.

The sky, the road, the glass of wine

are a sodden cloak, an aching vein,

a mirror changing every moment.

Now that you’ve come, stay—let some color, season, thing

stay in place.

One more time let everything

be what it is:

the sky the limit of sight

the road a road, the glass of wine

a glass of wine.


Note: Here is the original poem in Urdu transliterated into English script. If you have the original in Arabic script, or even Devanagiri script, please comment.

tum jo naa aa’e the to har chiiz vahii thii kih jo hai
aasmaaN hadd-e-nazar, raahguzar raahguzar, shiishaah-e-mai,

aur ab shiishaah-e-mai, raahguzar, rang-e-falak
rang hai dil kaa mere, “khoon-e-jigar hone tak”
champaa’i rang kabhii, raahat-e-diidaar kaa rang
sur’ma’ii rang kabhii, saa’at-e-bezaar kaa rang

zard pattoN kaa xas-o-xaar kaa rang
surkh phuuloN kaa, dahakte hu’e gulzaar kaa rang
zahar kaa rang, lahuu rang. shab-e-taar kaa rang

aasmaaN, rahguzar, shiishaah-e-mai
koii bhiigaa hu’aa daaman, ko’ii dukhtii hu’ii rag
ko’ii har lahzaah badaltaa hu’aa aa’iinaah hai

ab jo aa’e ho to Thahro kih koii rang, koii rut ko’ii shai
ek jagah par Thahre
phir se ik baar har ik chiiz vahii ho ke jo hai
aasmaaN hadd-e-nazar, rahguzar rahguzar, shiishaah-e-mai,

My apologies, Sona by Gulzar

My apologies, Sona.
Journeying through the terrain of my verse
in these rains,
inconvenienced you
Unseasonal are the monsoons here.
The alleyways of my poetry are frequently damp.
Water gathers often in the ditches.
If you trip and fall here, you run the risk
of spraining a foot.

My apologies, however . . .
You were inconvenienced
because the light in my verse is somewhat dim.
The stones at my threshold
are imperceptible, as you pass.
I have often cracked a toenail against them
As for the streetlamp at the crossroads,
it has remained unlit for aeons
You were inconvenienced.
My apologies, my heartfelt apologies.

Note: Salim Arif is the translator of this poem into English. Following is the original in Urdu.

My apologies, Sona in Urdu

Lust by Yusef Komunyakaa

If only he could touch her,
Her name like an old wish
In the stopped weather of salt
On a snail. He longs to be

Words, juicy as passionfruit
On her tongue. He’d do anything,
Would dance three days & nights
To make the most terrible gods

Rise out of ashes of the yew,
To step from the naked
Fray, to be as tender
As meat imagined off

The bluegill’s pearlish
Bones. He longs to be
An orange, to feel fingernails
Run a seam through him.

Is/Not by Margaret Atwood

Love is not a profession
genteel or otherwise

sex is not dentistry
the slick filling of aches and cavities

you are not my doctor
you are not my cure,

nobody has that
power, you are merely a fellow/traveller

Give up this medical concern,
buttoned, attentive,

permit yourself anger
and permit me mine

which needs neither
your approval nor your suprise

which does not need to be made legal
which is not against a disease

but agaist you,
which does not need to be understood

or washed or cauterized,
which needs instead

to be said and said.
Permit me the present tense.

In the Stillness of a Word by Amrita Bharati

are so alike –
his earth
my sky
I wanted
to follow him
wherever he went

But our paths
were so different –
he was on one
I on the other
with a line between us –
and mine

were one
in our soul
he walked
on the low peaks of the earth
And I
in the high chasms
of the sky

these two paths
will turn
one day
in my poetry
so we may walk together
in the stillness of a word

Note: Translated into English by Lucy Rosenstein and The Poetry Translation Workshop. Following is the original poem in Hindi. 



as freedom is a breakfastfood by e. e. cummings

as freedom is a breakfastfood
or truth can live with right and wrong
or molehills are from mountains made
—long enough and just so long
will being pay the rent of seem
and genius please the talentgang
and water most encourage flame
as hatracks into peachtrees grow
or hopes dance best on bald mens hair
and every finger is a toe
and any courage is a fear
—long enough and just so long
will the impure think all things pure
and hornets wail by children stung
or as the seeing are the blind
and robins never welcome spring
nor flatfolk prove their world is round
nor dingsters die at break of dong
and common’s rare and millstones float
—long enough and just so long
tomorrow will not be too late
worms are the words but joy’s the voice
down shall go which and up come who
breasts will be breasts thighs will be thighs
deeds cannot dream what dreams can do
—time is a tree(this life one leaf)
but love is the sky and i am for you
just so long and long enough

Sita by Jason Schneiderman

Do you remember Sita? How when Hanuman came to rescue her

she refused, how she insisted that Rama come openly,

defeat her captor Ravana openly? She had no desire for stealth,

no desire for intrigue, and though Ravana could not touch her

for the curse on his flesh, she remained captive until Rama came.

Do you remember that she was tortured? That Hunaman asked her

for permission to kill the women who had tortured her? Do you

remember how she walked through fire to prove her purity,

even though everyone knew of the curse on Ravana? How the people

said the fire didn’t matter because Fire was the brother of her mother,

Earth? How Rama was as weak in the face of his people as he

had been strong in the face of Ravana? Can you imagine the eyes

of Sita when she refused another test? When she looked at Rama,

a man she loved enough to die for, a man who was a god, and knew

it was over? Can you imagine her eyes in that moment, as she asked

her mother to take her back, to swallow her back into the earth? I think

my eyes are like that now, leaving you.

You do by Aimee Mann

You stay the night at his house

with no ride to work

and I’m the one who tells you

he’s another jerk

but you’re the one who can succeed

you’ve only got to prove your need–

and you do

you really do

The sex you’re trading up for

what you hope is love

is just another thing that

he’ll be careless of

but though there are caveats galore

you’ve only got to love him more–

and you do

you really do

even when it’s all too clear

You write a little note that

you leave on the bed

and spend some time dissecting

every word he said

and if he seemed a little strange

well, baby–anyone can change

and you do

you do

you really do

Chaos is the New Calm by Wyn Cooper

Chaos is the new calm
violence the new balm
to be spread on lips
unused to a kiss.

Left is the new right
as I brace for a fight
with a man who stands
on his remaining hand.

Fetid harbor harbor me
until someone is free
to drive me away
from what happened today.

Don’t strand me standing here.
If you leave, leave beer.

The People of the Machine by Attiya Dawood

To live a respectable life
We the people of big cities
Keep going on like robots.
To keep the home going
We are crushed to fine powder
Under the mill-stone of rising prices.
Home, for which we wove so many dreams,
In the mad race for it,
Our sleep got left behind.
Love and other such fine feelings,
Which are proof of good taste,
We keep them on display in the drawing room.
All the words we speak
Their dates have expired long ago,
The new words in our dictionary
Are miss-prints.
We are like the deaf and dumb
We understand each other’s
unspoken needs.
Like a well-practiced typist
His fingers move on my body’s key-board
And I give him
The results he wants.

Note: Translated into English by Asif Aslam Farrukhi

The People of the Machine by Attiya Dawood in Sindhi

Unclaimed by Vikram Seth

To make love with a stranger is the best.
There is no riddle and there is no test. —

To lie and love, not aching to make sense
Of this night in the mesh of reference.

To touch, unclaimed by fear of imminent day,
And understand, as only strangers may.

To feel the beat of foreign heart to heart
Preferring neither to prolong nor part.

To rest within the unknown arms and know
That this is all there is; that this is so.

I am cannibal by Fugisayi Sasa

Take one man.
Remove his feet and head (for the head holds the mouth,
the mouth conceals the tongue
and a man’s tongue lies)
Pound, then knead the flesh until soft and pliable.
Place in a preheated oven (400°F/200°C/Gas 6) and roast for 50 to 60 minutes.
Serve hot before bitterness sets in.

Soneto XVII by Pablo Neruda

Sonnet XVII

I don’t love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don’t know any other way of loving

but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

Note: Unknown translator. If you know who it is, please comment.

Soneto XVII

No te amo como si fueras rosa de sal, topacio
o flecha de claveles que propagan el fuego:
te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras,
secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma.

Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva
dentro de sí, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuerpo
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra.

Te amo sin saber cómo, ni cuándo, ni de dónde,
te amo directamente sin problemas ni orgullo:
así te amo porque no sé amar de otra manera,

sino así de este modo en que no soy ni eres,
tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía,
tan cerca que se cierran tus ojos con mi sueño.

“Chalo ik baar phir se” by Sahir Ludhianvi

Come, let us be strangers again, you and I.

I shall no longer hope for any favours from you
Nor shall you look upon me with eyes askance.
And my words shall tremble no more with my heartbeat
Nor the secret of your struggle be betrayed in a glance.

Come, let us be strangers again, you and I.

You too have hesitated to give yourself completely
I too wear disguises, or so I am told
The disgraces of my past are my constant companions
And you too are possessed by the nights of old.

When involvement becomes illness it is best forgotten
When a relationship oppresses it is best to break it
When the adventure you are embarked on cannot be completed
One must find a beautiful way out, and take it.

Come, let us be strangers again, you and I.

Note: translation by Falstaff

चलो इक बार फिर से, अजनबी बन जाएं हम दोनो
चलो इक बार फिर से …

न मैं तुमसे कोई उम्मीद रखूँ दिलनवाज़ी की
न तुम मेरी तरफ़ देखो गलत अंदाज़ नज़रों से
न मेरे दिल की धड़कन लड़खड़ाये मेरी बातों से
न ज़ाहिर हो तुम्हारी कश्म-कश का राज़ नज़रों से
चलो इक बार फिर से …

तुम्हें भी कोई उलझन रोकती है पेशकदमी से
मुझे भी लोग कहते हैं कि ये जलवे पराए हैं
मेरे हमराह भी रुसवाइयां हैं मेरे माज़ी की – २
तुम्हारे साथ भी गुज़री हुई रातों के साये हैं
चलो इक बार फिर से …

तार्रुफ़ रोग हो जाये तो उसको भूलना बेहतर
ताल्लुक बोझ बन जाये तो उसको तोड़ना अच्छा
वो अफ़साना जिसे अंजाम तक लाना ना हो मुमकिन – २
उसे एक खूबसूरत मोड़ देकर छोड़ना अच्छा
चलो इक बार फिर से …

Blue Tattoo by Kathryn Daszkiewicz

Taut as a drum, you beat
a slow tattoo against my skin.
At each stroke, the guttural utterance

that renders speech redundant;
at each stroke, blue worlds
mute as bruises. Boundaries

blur, as you ink out an indelible territory
where language is pure rhythm
and retreat is no longer an option.

Distressful Homonyms by Vikram Seth

Since for me now you have no warmth to spare
I sense I must adopt a sane and spare

Philosophy to ease a restless state
Fuelled by this uncaring. It will state

A very meagre truth: love like the rest
Of our emotions, sometimes needs a rest.

Happiness, too, no doubt; and so, why even
Hope that ‘the course of true love’ could run even?

To an Unborn Daughter by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

If writing a poem could bring you
Into existence, I’d write one now,
Filling the stanzas with more
Skin and tissue than a body needs,
Filling the lines with speech.
I’d even give you your mother’s

Close-bitten nails and light-brown eyes,
For I think she had them. I saw her
Only once, through a train window,
In a yellow field. She was wearing
A pale-coloured dress. It was cold.
I think she wanted to say something.

A Ritual To Read To Each Other by William Stafford

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider–
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.