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Poems of Mir Taqi Mir (1723-1810)
Ranjit Hoskote



1.

Pandemonium reigns across my collected works:
enjoy the ride, reader, through this volume of anxieties!

darhamī ḥāl kī hai sāre mire dīvāñ meñ
sair kar tū bhī yih majmūʿah pareshānī kā

(Divan-e Avval: I.3.4)


2.

Was that even me, the sum of my scattered anxieties?
The eyes pointed one way; the heart, grief-gazed, another.

kyā maiñ bhī pareshānī-e ḳhāt̤ir se qarīñ thā
āñkheñ to kahīñ thīñ dil-e ġham-dīdah kahīñ thā

(Divan-e Avval: I.2.1)


3.

Last night - I’m still baffled - a silence overtook me, Mir:
the secret wounds were many, not one opened its mouth.

rāt ḥairān hūñ kuchh chup hī mujhe lag gaʾī mīr
dard-e pinhāñ the bahut par lab-e iz̤hār nah thā

(Divan-e Avval: I.9.8)


4.

Of the heart’s ruination, what report?
This city’s been looted a hundred times over.

dil kī vīrānī kā kyā mażkūr hai
yih nagar sau martabah lūṭā gayā

(Divan-e Avval: I.52.4)


5.

I, too, am one of those people in this city whose homes
have been trashed, Mir, whose everything lies in the flood’s path.

ham bhī is shahr meñ un logoñ se haiñ ḳhānah-ḳharāb
mīr ghar-bār jinhoñ ke rāh-e sailāb meñ haiñ

(Divan-e Suvvum III.1174.7)


6.

The heart’s not the kind of city that would flourish twice.
You’ll regret - listen up - ruining this settlement.

dil vuh nagar nahīñ kih phir ābād ho sake
pachtāʾoge suno ho yih bastī ujāṛ kar

(Divan-e Avval: I.213.2)


7.

Don’t ignore those who huddle around fires, their eyes red:
both wet and dry will be charred by the rage of the oppressed.

kar ḳhauf kalak-ḳhasp kī jo surḳh haiñ āñkheñ
jalte haiñ tar-o-ḳhhushk bhī miskīñ ke ġhaẓab meñ

(Divan-e Panjum: V.1688.4)


8.

Who cared what the road was saying, even if it rang out like a bell?
We were clamour on the march, who had strength to spare for speech?

rāh kī koʾī suntā nah thā yāñ raste meñ mānind-e jaras
shor sā karte jāte the ham bāt kī kis ko t̤āqat thī

(Divan-e Chahaarum: IV. 1533.4)


9.

Yesterday, those whose heads whirled with mutiny were all cut down.
Yet today, some friends have stood the world on its head.

kal fitnah zer-e sar the jo log kaṭ gaʾe sab
phir bhī zamīn sar par yāroñ ne āj uṭhā lī

(Divan-e Shashum: VI.1903.8)


10.

The sun burns up the corpses of those driven from their homeland.
Your lane did not offer them even the shadow of a wall.

dhūp meñ jaltī haiñ ġhurbat-vat̤anoñ kī lāsheñ
tere kūche meñ magar sāyah-e dīvār nah thā

(Divan-e Avval: I.109.3)


11.

Like the whirlpool, still centre of a giddy circling,
the homeland’s an ocean on which we’re scattered in all directions.

ek jagah par jaise bhañvar haiñ lekin chakkar rahtā hai
yaʿnī vat̤an daryā hai us meñ chār t̤araf haiñ safar meñ ab

(Divan-e Panjum: V.1579.4)


12.

One blink, and I managed to drown the world.
There was a time these eyes could weep up a storm.

pal meñ jahāñ ko dekhte mere ḍubo chuka
ik vaqt meñ yih dīdah bhī t̤ūfān ro chuka

(Divan-e Avval: 1.100.1)

Ranjit Hoskote is a poet, translator, cultural theorist and curator based in Bombay. His seven collections of poetry include Vanishing Acts: New & Selected Poems 1985-2005 (Penguin, 2006), Central Time (Penguin/ Viking, 2014), Jonahwhale (Penguin/ Hamish Hamilton, 2018) and, most recently, The Atlas of Lost Beliefs (Arc, 2020). Hoskote’s translation of a celebrated 14th-century Kashmiri woman mystic’s poetry has appeared as I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded (Penguin Classics, 2011). He is the editor of Dom Moraes: Selected Poems (Penguin Modern Classics, 2012). India’s National Academy of Letters has honoured him with the Sahitya Akademi Golden Jubilee Award and the Sahitya Akademi Translation Award. His poems have been translated into German, Hindi, Bangla, Marathi, Irish Gaelic, Swedish, Spanish, and Arabic. Hoskote co-curated, with Okwui Enwezor and Hyunjin Kim, the 7th Gwangju Biennale (South Korea, 2008). He was the curator of India’s first-ever national pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2011).

Read Ranjit Hoskote interviewed by Rebecca Levi.

Mark
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©2020 Volume Poetry
Subscribe to our newsletter.
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Submit to our next issue:
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Site design by Nick Fogarty