Ghalib: Ghazal 111 (‘Sab Kahaan Kuch Laala-o-Gul…’)

tulips

Translated by Randeep Singh

Where are they all? Some returned as rose and tulips
What faces must lie forever hidden in the dust!

I remember those assemblies decorated colorfully
Now they’re pictures on a forgotten shelf

The streams of light on the cell walls fell on Jacob’s eyes
Though he received no word of Joseph in prison

Let a stream o’ blood trickle from my eyes –’tis the night of separation
I’ll consider it as if two candles have been lit

To him belong sleep, peace, nights
On whose shoulder your tresses scatter

When I entered the garden it was as if a concert assembled
Hearing my laments the nightingales became singers of ghazal

Though I stopped, they filled my breast one by one
My sighs became the stitching on my torn collar

We believe in One God, our faith to abjure doctrine
When religions are destroyed they become parts of faith

No more grief for he who grows used to it
Many difficulties befell me only to become easy

If Ghalib kept weeping so, o’ people of the world!
Look around at these towns now deserted

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