Who am I, dear friends? My spirit is suffering,
my heart on fire. I spit out flames.
My own passion brought me out from behind the curtain,
for I am really one who dwells in mystery, in secret
That is my radiance, and mine alone, on the shores of the ocean of poetry.
Thought swells in waves, with countless forms. I am the poet’s free-flowing intellect.
Every morning I wrestle with the sun.
Like a comb I travel each night in the shade of beauty’s hair.
Whoever sees me, if only once, becomes mad for me.
I disturb and agitate the whole world’s mood.
Do not, please, do not try to make me open my lips.
I have a hundred utterances buried under my tongue, all
drenched in blood.
I am pale in grief for the fresh greenery of this garden.
I am one of its yellowed leaves, blasted and withered.
The crush of passions in my heart makes me distracted
Don’t come after me. Understand that no one but God
knows where I am at this moment.
My existence is a mere suspicion, more imagined than
Even so, I lie like a burden on your fragile mood.
I once dwelled in comfort, unpolluted and chaste.
Things happened – I have been here for some days.
Well, I certainly deserve tyrannical treatment, harsh and cruel and unjust treatment.
For even though I burn all the time, I am hot in
faithfulness and fidelity.
I am adept at both sorts of love’s art.
A storm when I weep, a calamity when I suffer in my heart.
I could not come to full bloom in the world’s garden.
I am a withered bud spurned by the morning breeze.
My tears rival each blister on the soles of my feet,
for I have walked in your path with my eyes.
So will there ever be a way for me to find relief or repose?
I am tired of living, and angry with death.
You do make a habit of cruelty, my beloved, but don’t
shake off my hand from the hem of your skirt.
I am no more than dust by the roadside; it would take me
less than a breath to ride away on airy wings.
Night of disunion, come now and burn me as much as you
I am burnt in heart and body, and eagerly await the day of
Yes, everything of mine is gone – comfort, strength, food,
But is it not something, after all, that I have managed to
stay alive through all this?
I’m something, somehow – that is all I know,
though I don’t myself know well enough what exactly I
It’s better I don’t say a word because silence is better than speech.
So don’t ask what happened. I have suffered one life and
It’s only now I am able to express myself in words of fire
And that is because I burned through a whole lifetime
from evening to dawn like a candle.
By the grace of God I slashed my breast to ribbons.
Mir, now is the time to pray, for I am hard at work on the
Ebb and tide in each other’s embrace; tumult heaving and
rolling out from them in resonance.
So whose secret does the ocean hold, dear Lord, that it’s
roaring and boiling?
The wave is someone’s arched brow, the bubbles are
the pearls are someone’s words, the pink oyster shells
Right from the wine sellers’ alley, I bade farewell to all
What had I to do with circumambulating the holy Kaaba,
bound by no rules as I was, and draining
the wine to
The moonbeams would fall still, wonderstruck, like a
if you were to go out into the moonlit night wearing white.
Walking in the garden yesterday I lost my heart: a flower seller’s boy toting a basket of blooms appeared
like springtime, he vanished.
Without him, the red scars of my heart wear mourning
Last night, opening up our closed hearts by the power of wine,
many of us idlers chatted in the tavern,
when suddenly a voice cried, “Remember the days gone
You men of discernment, you must also draw lessons. The deviser of a world-reflecting wine cup –
Jamshed was his name v what is he now?
Where are his assemblies, where the wine-guzzling,
No sign of his cup remains except for the red poppy –
its pod now pretending to hold aloft the wine cup.
In place of wine-swilling, swaying young men,
the weeping willow sways alone in the wind.
And the old wine seller’s skull? It is now the stopper for a cask of wine.”
Zamir composed a fine ghazal in this rhyme pattern, Mir, so this is enough from you.
Now quiet, you chatterer!
Excerpted with permission from Selected Ghazals and Other Poems, Mir Taqi Mir, translated from the Urdu by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, Murty Classical Library of India and Harvard University Press.