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Let Me Think -- Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Guest poem sent in by Radhika Gowaikar
(Poem #1442) Let Me Think
 You ask me about that country whose details now escape me,
 I don't remember its geography, nothing of its history.
 And should I visit it in memory,
 It would be as I would a past lover,
 After years, for a night, no longer restless with passion,
 With no fear of regret.
 I have reached that age when one visits the heart merely as a courtesy.
-- Faiz Ahmed Faiz
I came across this while browsing the Poetry in Motion site.
[broken link] http://www.poetrysociety.org/postcard.html

Depending on the reader's mood this poem can be taken to be about many
things -- one's motherland, one's past lives and, indeed, one's past
loves. The overriding theme of time eroding every landscape holds for them
all.

Reading (poetry) is, to a large extent, about seeing one's own self -- the
way it is at that moment in time -- in a mirror provided by the writer
(/poet). I rather like this particular mirror.

radhika.

Links:
[broken link] http://books.guardian.co.uk/extracts/story/0,6761,844795,00.html is a very
interesting article by Rushdie which has a lot about Faiz and other
things.

[broken link] http://www.dawn.com/2000/06/04/nat10.htm is also nice

41 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Sashidhar Dandamudi said...

Thanks you Radhika, for sending in and Martin, for then disseminating,
this excellent gem.

However as someone who fumbles with translation himself, I think we need
to mention the name of translator. And based on the style, I am
guessing it is Agha Shahid Ali.

Perhaps Radhika can confirm this.

Sashi

Chetan Mahendra said...

Yes Sashi, you're absolutely right. Moreover, I think Radhika missed
the last line of the translation. The piece translated from the Urdu
version "Sochnay Do" by Agha Shahid Ali, is an excerpt from "The
Rebel's Silhouette" which reads:

You ask me about that country
whose details now escape me.
I don't remember its geography,
nothing of its history.
And should I visit in memory,
it would be as I would a past lover,
after years, for a night,
no longer restless with passion, with no fear of regret.
I have reached that age
when one visits the heart merely as courtesy,
the way one keeps in touch.

Regards,
Chetan

A. V said...

The above submission is incomplete. Here is the full version of "Let Me Think" as translated by Agha
Shahid Ali in the collection of Faiz Ahmed Faiz's poems titled *The Rebel's Silhouette* (pages 69-71):

Let Me Think

(for Andrei Voznesensky)

Let me think
just for a while...
In that withered garden,
more bare than even a desert now,
which branch first burst into blossom?
And which was the first to lose its colors
before everything succumbed to regret?
At what exact moment
were the trees drained of blood
so when the veins snapped,
nothing could be saved?
Oh, let me think...

Yes, let me think for a while...
Where in that once-teeming city,
forsaken even by loneliness now,
was that fire first lit
that burned it down to ruins?
From which of its blacked-out rows of windows
flew the first arrows, tipped with blood?
In which home was the first candle lit?
Let me think...

You ask me about that country
whose details now escape me.
I don't remember its geography,
nothing of its history.
And should I visit it in memory,
It would be as I would a past lover,
after years, for a night,
no longer restless with passion, With no fear of regret.
I have reached that age
when one visits the heart merely as a courtesy,
the way one keeps in touch
with any old neighbor.
So don't question me about the heart.
Just let me think.

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