The Houri and the Poet: Iqbal in Payam-e-Mashriq
Dr. Zafar M. Iqbal
TCCI, Chicago, IL
Allama Iqbal wrote Payam-e-Mashriq in Farsi (1923), not just in response but also as a tribute to Goethe, the German poet-philosopher he admired -- perhaps as much as he did Ghalib.
This is my translation of ‘Hoor wo Shaer’ (The Houri and the Poet), Iqbal’s specific response to Goethe’s ‘Huri’ and ‘Dichter’ from Einlass & Anklang, ‘Chuld Nameh’ (Book of Paradise), West-Osterlich Diwan (East-West Diwan). This is included in my forthcoming book, ‘Iqbal: His Poetry and Philosophy’:
You don’t look at me,
don’t touch the wine.
Strange, you know
so little of love.
In each song you sing,
each breath you take,
there’s a quest,
an aching hope!
In these songs you create
such a beautiful world that
Paradise seems to me
just a mirage.
You steal travelers’ heart
with your tart tongue.
The prick of a thorn,
a delicious pain.
To stay put, not my nature!
My soul, restless
like a breeze blowing
through a garden.
Soon as my eyes find
a beauty, my young heart
begins to ache for another,
From a spark to a star
and from a star to the sun
I move on. No place to rest.
To stop and rest: death to me.
When I rise, I rise
drunk with springtime,
songs of spring stirring
out of my instrument.
I seek the ends of
what is endless, with
undying hope in my heart ,
restless desire in my eyes.
What’s the use of an eternal Heaven --
with no pain, and no one to share it with me?
A loving heart shuns
an easy and eternal Heaven.
Romanized Farsi original
Na ba badaay mail-dari, na bam un nazar gusha-ay
Ajub ainkh thoo nadaani rah-o-rusum aash-na-ay
Huma saaz jisthoo-joo-ee, huma soz aar-zoo-ay
Nufsi kay may-gudazee, ghuzli kay mi sara-ay
Ba nawa-ee aafreedi chay jahaan dil-gusha-ay
Kay arum ba chashm ayad cho thilism see-miya-ay
Dil reh-rawan faraibi ba kalaam naish dari
Magar ainkhay luzzath aw nersud ba noak-e-khari
Chay-kunum kay fithruth mun ba mukhaam der na-saazd
Dil na-saboor da-rum cho saba bo lala zari
Cho nazar qaraar gee-rud ba nigaar khoob-roo-ay
Tha-pud aan zaman dil mun pi khoob-thur nigaari
Za sharur sitara jo-yum za sitara aaftaabi
Sur munzali nidarum kay bameerum uz qaraari
Cho za bada-e-bahari khud-hee khushaida kheezum
Ghuzli deegar sara-em ba hawa-ee naw-bahaari
Thalubum ne-ha-yuth aan kay ne-ha-yuthi na-darad
Ba nigha-ay na-shakaibi ba dil umeedwari
dil aashiq-aana ba-meerud ba ba-hishth jaavedaani
Na nawai durd-mundi na ghumi nag hum-gusaari