Poems by Faiz by Faiz Ahmad FaizThis book serves as my introduction to the poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
The 54 poems in this book are presented across 232 pages, Urdu script arranged beautifully on left facing pages, English translations and romanized Urdu on the opposing pages. This means there are 116 pages of English translations, and these occupy about two thirds of the content of each page. The poems are translated into both figurative verse and literal prose poems, always presented in this order. I read every poem at least twice, the first eight or so in the order presented. After this, I decided to read the more literal prose before the more figurative verse translations. The reason is that I found I could better appreciate the verse after first reading the prose. I also found that in most cases, the prose poems had more impact for me and allowed me a deeper insight into the intent of the words and imagery.
I found the 23 page introduction invaluable to appreciating the poetry overall, as it provided some biographical background about Faiz the poet as well as the man. It also established a progenitorial lineage for Faiz back through the great poets of Urdu and beyond, connecting some modern traditions in Urdu poetry to roots in Farsi, Arabic, and Hindi—the three main headwaters from which the language flows. This, along with discussions about the political and cultural histories from which Faiz emerged and of which he was a part, helped to create context—a framework—from which to understand his poetry, even if (for me) only the translations. For me, the most invaluable information imparted from the introduction was some insight into the way Faiz used some of Urdu’s more archetypal images. For instance, when Faiz refers to “the beloved,” in any of its forms, be it the pourer of wine at the tavern or idealized intimate partner, this is usually a reference to his people, the downtrodden, the oppressed. This sometimes took on special meaning, such as in “Two Loves,” (pgs 162-171):
From this roof the sun of your beauty will emerge,
From that corner will break the henna-coloured ray,
From this door will flow the quicksilver of your walk,
On that path will flower the twilight of your dress.
In solitude what remembrances of you did I not have,
What refuges did the sad heart not search for;
Sometimes I laid on my eyes the hand of the morning-breeze,
Sometimes I put my arms round the neck of the moon.
In the same fashion I have loved my darling country.
In the same manner my heart has throbbed with devotion to her,
What befalls everyone on that road befell me,
Solitary within the prison, sometimes dishonoured in the market-place;
The divines thundered a great deal from the pulpit corner,
The men of authority roared a great deal in the audience-chamber,
Strangers spared no arrows of calumny,
No manner of reproach was left out by my own folk.
But my heart feels shame neither for this love nor for that love;
There is every scar on this heart except the scar of shame.”
—from the prose translation
There is not one line out of place in this poem and which does not add to it, completing its meaning, impact and beauty. But I’ve tried to quote a few that stand out to me.
As I read I found the translation notes at the back of the book of great value for offering even deeper insight. My only complaint would be that such insights were only offered for about two thirds of the poems. I would have enjoyed learning a little more about the inspiration, underlying meaning, and/or circumstances behind those poems that made up the difference.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed much of the poetry, in the end bookmarking 10 poems. For me to bookmark even a couple means I enjoyed the book enough to possibly give it three stars (“liked it”), but to end up with bookmarks for 10 out of 54 poems from a single author I think puts me well within reach of 4 stars (“really liked it”). Many of these are poems I will come back to again:
“God Never Send” on pages 50-53.
The mirror of your heart is melted with grief,
To put faith in the deceit of a promise of tomorrow;
“To The Rival” on pages 68-75.
With you have played those beloved breezes in which
The faded scent of her dress remains.
“A Few Days More” on pages 78-81.
Is life some beggar’s gown, on which
Every hour patches of pain are fixed?
“To A Political Leader” on pages 100-103.
“Year by year these unprotected, bound hands
Have remained fixed in the hard, black bosom of night,
As a straw may be ardent in strife with the sea,
As a butterfly may make an attack on a mountain;
“The Hour Of Chain and Gibbet” on pages 150-153.
At your command the cage, but not the garden’s
Red rose-fire, when its radiant hour begins;
No noose can catch the dawn-wind’s whirling feet,
The spring’s bright hour falls prisoner to no net.”
“Two Loves” on pages 162-171.
See above quotes.
“A Prison Nightfall” on pages 188-191.
Trees of the prison courtyard, exiles
With drooping head, are lost in broidering
Arabesques on the skirt of heaven.
“The Window” on pages 204-207.
Daily these kind and beautiful godlike things
Come weltering in their blood to my bitter cell;
And day by day before my watching eyes
Their martyred bodies are raised up and made well.”
“Sinkiang” on pages 218-223.
No heart shall quiver all night, nor in any courtyard
Shall causeless-anxiety come like an ill-omened bird,
Shall fear come like a bloodthirsty beast of prey.
“Evening” on pages 226-229.
The evening’s skirt is so joined with the skirt of time,
Now evening will never be extinguished and darkness never come,
Now night will never decline nor morning come.
There were several more which I very nearly bookmarked, but one phrase, image, metaphor or another left me cold enough to change my mind. However, the criteria by which I decide to bookmark a poem is peculiar to each book. In another collection of lesser works these poems might have been bookmarked after all.
Why We Need Revolutionary Poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz More Than Ever
Faiz Ahmad Faiz was an influential left-wing intellectual, revolutionary poet, and one of the most famous poets of the Urdu language from State of Pakistan. Despite being repeatedly accused of atheism by the political and military establishment, Faiz's poetry suggested his complicated relationship with religion in general and Islam in particular. He was, nevertheless, inspired by South Asia's Sufi traditions. Faiz was controversially named Click here to add this poet to your My Favorite Poets. A very good poet, indeed.. I've posted a few words..
Search more than 3, biographies of contemporary and classic poets. He had a privileged childhood as the son of wealthy landowners Sultan Fatima and Sultan Muhammad Khan, who passed away in , shortly after his birth. His father was a prominent lawyer and a member of an elite literary circle which included Allama Iqbal, the national poet of Pakistan. He received a Bachelor's degree in Arabic, followed by a master's degree in English, from the Government College in Lahore in , and later received a second master's degree in Arabic from the Oriental College in Lahore. After graduating in , Faiz began a teaching career at M. Faiz's early poems had been conventional, light-hearted treatises on love and beauty, but while in Lahore he began to expand into politics, community, and the thematic interconnectedness he felt was fundamental in both life and poetry. It was also during this period that he married Alys George, a British expatriate and convert to Islam, with whom he had two daughters.
This will not post anything on Facebook or anywhere else. Even after three decades of his death, Faiz Ahmad Faiz still remains immortal in the hearts of his readers.
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Best poetry of this week
Account Options Sign in. Top charts. New releases. Add to Wishlist. After Pakistan's independence, Faiz became the editor to The Pakistan Times and a leading member of the Communist Party before being arrested in as an alleged part of conspiracy to overthrow the Liaquat administration and replace it with a left-wing government. This app contains the best collection of Faiz poetry in Urdu.
During unspeakably dark moments, where do we turn? To facts? Or to someplace else? Facts organize the world, which we go mad to control. When we cling to our beliefs out of fear, they in turn dull our minds. But poetry, specifically that of the revolutionary poet, can both soothe our disquiet and awaken us to our complacency.