Poems | Shiv Kumar Batalvi ( Translated by Sartaj Ghuman) | Part 2/2*

Photo : Lee La


i am a sentence in a song incomplete
a journey of the footprints not made by any feet

of all the havoc that love has wreaked
of those ravages i am the peak

i am a lamp in your gathering that’s snuffed out
i am an allusion that from your lips leaked

that has death alone as its cure
i am the anxiety for such a life worth just a week

she, who saw me and looked away
i am the mute gaze of her eyes deep

my own face alone have I seen
what a strange man in this world I have been !

someone heard shiv say yesterday, sorrow’s
left me well known in this world bleak


people worship god
and i, your longing
it’s a hajj to a hundred meccas
oh your longing!
people say I have become the sun
people say i shine gloriously
what kind of a fire it lit me with,
oh your longing!

behind me is my shadow
in front of me, my darkness
my arm it mustn’t let go
oh your longing!

no soil of the body in it
nor garbage of the mind
i sifted it on a winnow
oh your longing!

whenever times of sorrow came
bringing pain and loneliness in tow
i called for it to come sit by my side
oh your longing!

it gets me to dye words sometimes
and sometimes makes me weave songs
a thousand crafts it’s taught me
oh your longing!

when pain fell at my feet
and swore by my perseverance
the whole world turned up to see
oh your longing!

through my passion i gained some standing
people came to congratulate me
and embracing me freely wept,
oh your longing!

i am a fool with no sign of sagacity
this the world told me
on a pedestal it’s put me today
oh your longing!

it’s a hajj to a hundred meccas
oh your longing!

*Thanks to TSC friend Taseer Gujral for her editorial suggestions

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