TRANSLATION – A Mortgage of the Moon by Sara Shagufta, Translated by Asad Alvi

A Mortgage of the Moon

Our tears were given eyes
we wrangled with our vivacity
and became our own bans
The hollering of stars reaches the earth before skies
I untangled death’s hair
and lengthened my lies
Sleep plays with eyes a game of marbles
The evening tholes hypocrite colors
I mortgaged a moon to the skies
I am a lantern in death’s hands
I see a death-chariot upon the wheels of birth
My human is inhumed in turfs
Lift your prostate heads
Death’s left one child in my lap

 چاند کا قرض

 ہمارے آنسوۇں کی آنکھیں بنائی گئیں
ہم نے اپنے اپنے تلاطم سے رسہ کشی کی
اوراپنا اپنا بین ہوئے
ستاروں کی پکار آسمان سے زیادہ زمین سنتی ہے
میں نے موت کے بال کھولے
اور جھوٹ پہ دراز ہوئی
نیند آنکھوں کے کنچے کھیلتی رہی
شام دوغلے رنگ سہتی ہے
آسمانوں پہ میرا چاند قرض ہے
میں موت کے ہاتھ میں ایک چراغ ہوں
جنم کے پہیۓ پر موت کی رتھ دیکھتی ہوں
زمینوں میں میرا انسان دفن ہے
سجدوں سے سر اٹھالو
موت میری گود میں ایک بچہ چھوڑ گئ ہے



Hailed by Mubarak Ali as ‘Ghalib’s better half’, and by Amrita Pritam as the ‘Sylvia Plath of the Subcontinent’, Sara Shagufta was a 20th Century postmodern Urdu poet, feminist, and visionary, whose work has attracted highly polemic responses from critics. Her own contemporaries have paid more attention to branding her character as promiscuous and rebellious, than engaging in any intellectual discourse on her work. Sara’s maligned reputation persists to this date, edging out any possibility of recognition for her poetic genius; no single translated collection of her poems exists. Much like Plath, Sara battled through clinical depression for most of her life, leading her to commit suicide at the age of 29.

Asad Alvi is a writer from Karachi, Pakistan. He has conducted and facilitated several fiction writing workshops at Open Letters, a growing organization of creatively-driven writers and artists. In 2014, he was the recipient of the residential Writers’ Workshop at LUMS in Lahore. His work has been published in a collection of short stories by the Oxford University Press, launched at the 5th Karachi Literature Festival, The Express Tribune in Karachi, The Equator Line in India, and in an international anthology of contemporary poems titled, We Will Be Shelter. He is currently working on translating a collection of poems by Sara Shagufta.

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