With Ghalib in Balli Maraan*,

I should have spent some of my days,

With poetry, music and literature,

Forgetting some sinful ways.

Perhaps this drudgery called life,

Wouldn't have been unbearable then,

When Ghalib's ghazals and advice,

Would have taught me more about men.

Perhaps the Qasim Jan Street,

Where Mirza lived with his grief,

Would have been less infamous,

If there had been no Shams* to cheat.

Maybe he and the young dancing girl,

Would have succeeded in their love,

A song of hope on her lips,

A poem by him between wine sips...

But God knew best and parted us all,

And time's sickle divided our sighs,

And yet on nights when I meditate,

I feel Ghalib's soul quite nigh.

No poet in the world I know,

Can match Mirza and his vision

If poverty had not succumbed him,

He'd have been a sage of wisdom.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Composed on July 4, 2002. Inspired by the life and poetry of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib.
*Balli Maraan: The locality in Old Delhi where Mirza Ghalib lived in a rented house.
*Shams is known to have deceived Ghalib in getting his share of the pension amount left for his family. It is well known that the greatest poet of Urdu literature spent a lifetime of poverty and died in penury.
Today, the whole world of literature owes a lot to this greatest of all Urdu poets.

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