A child's playground is this world in my sight,

Where games are played day and night before me.

A sport is the pomp of Solomon in my sight,

Even Christ's Ascension is small before me.

Without a name, I feel that nothing can exist,

In doubts lies the veracity of truth before me.

Cloaked in dust is the bare desert in my sight,

The gushing river rubs its forehead before me.

Ask not what befell me when you left,

You see how your countenance changes seeing me.

Faith holds me back while temptation drags me on,

The Kaaba* tugs as the church pleads before me.

I am a lover but they say deception is my art,

For I see Laila* taunting Majnoo* before me!

Though my hands have become numb, my eyes aren't weary,

Let the goblet and the wine remain in front of me.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

*Kaaba: The holy cubicle hall of prayer built by Prophet Abraham and his son Prophet Ismail (Peace be upon them) in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
*Laila and Majnoo: Lovers who died for love's sake in ancient Arabia.

I was inspired to translate this beautiful ghazal of the famous Urdu poet, Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib.
Posted in 2002. Modified on April 21, 2010.

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Pedro Trevino-Ramirez's picture

Ghazal...a beautiful form...