LOST in Translation

I don’t have the courage


Parveen Shakir

Pen Name(s)


Translation in Rhyme

I don’t have the courage to press on, halting I can’t concede,
Love’s journey drains me, it’s worn me, indeed.
My garden of blooms once yearned for a tale,
Yet those with scripts brought a tempest, set assail.
In the realm where hearts convened, a judgment was cast,
Yet as we parted, a new question amassed.
Now the beloved’s hem flutters in the breeze’s embrace,
Night’s shoulders, bear gently this weight in your space.
A choice among many: to part or to stay,
I dared not utter, but he spoke in dismay.
Though my lips stayed sealed, my essence laid bare,
Revealing my state to the city’s whole affair.
Today, his face and name slipped from my grasp,
Time turned the portrait to a dream, an ethereal rasp.
After ages, he showed discontent’s piercing knife,
Confirming, in his way, a lingering love, rife.

Translation in Prose

I don’t have the courage to go on, stopping has become impossible,
This journey of love has exhausted me.
Oh my flower garden1, you desired a book be written about you,
But what havoc the people of the book brought upon you.
There was a verdict given between the meeting hearts,
But upon departing, he raised a new question.2
This time around, the beloved’s hem awaits with the wind,
Oh shoulders of the night, bear carefully the burden upon you.3
Amongst the possible decisions was the decision of separation,
I just mentioned it, how dare he.
My lips were sealed, but my transparent existence,
Disclosed my condition to the whole city.
Today I could not remember his name and face together,
How time has turned the portrait into a dreamy thought.
After a long time, he expressed some resentment with me today,
Oh how he confirmed his state of love for me.


chalne kā hausla nahīṇ ruknā muhāl kar diyā 
ishq ke is safar ne tho mujh ko nidhāl kar diyā 
ae mirī gul-zamīṇ tujhe chāh thī ik kitāb kī 
ahl-e-kitāb ne magar kyā tirā hāl kar diyā 
milte hue diloṇ ke bīch aur thā faisla koī 
us ne magar bicharthe vaqt aur savāl kar diyā 
ab ke havā ke sāth hai dāman-e-yār muntazir 
bānu-e-shab ke hāth meṇ rakhnā sambhāl kar diyā 
mumkina faisloṇ meṇ ek hijr kā faislā bhī thā 
ham ne to ek bāt kī us ne kamāl kar diyā 
mere laboṇ pe mohr thī par mere shīsha-rū ne tho
shehr ke shehr ko mirā vāqif-e-hāl kar diyā 
chehra o nām ek sāth āj na yād ā sake 
vaqt ne kis shabīh ko khvāb-o-khayāl kar diyā 
muddatoṇ bād us ne āj mujh se koī gilā kiyā 
mansab-e-dilbarī pe kyā mujh ko bahāl kar diyā 

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