Makhdoom Mondays: Bondage


And no end to the sentence.

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Makhdoom Mondays: Telangan

So, I’m going to try to post a Makhdoom translation every Monday. Maybe committing publicly will hold me to it!

pHirne waalee kHet kee menDoN peh bal kHaatee hoo’ee  
nazam o sheereeN qehqehoN ke pHool barsaatee hoo’ee 
kanganoN se kHelte auroN se sharmaatee hoo’ee 
 ajnabee ko dekH kar khaamoosh mat ho, gaa’e jaa 
 haN tilangan gaa’e jaa, baankee tilangan gaa’e jaa 

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Pablo Neruda’s Las Furias Y Las Penas

This is my favorite Neruda poem. My Spanish is not all that good, but Ben Belitt’s translations of Neruda are great. It’s still important for me to read the original; so much feeling, so much emotion comes out in the Spanish, in the way the words sound and fit together in rhythm, even if you can’t understand it. It’s why I started studying Urdu in the first place. I would listen to qawwali music and I barely understood it, but I loved it so much. It was so beautiful. And now that I can finally listen to qawwali and understand it, the experience is so much more visceral.

Probably about the third or fourth time that I actually read the poem, afterwards I felt the same physical glow that comes after really good sex. That is a poem. That is a poet. I have never been so physically struck by a poem before.

I am only going to type in the English since I dont know how to deal with accent marks and tildes on wordpress. But you can read the Spanish here on page 100 and I highly recommend it even if you dont know Spanish.

Also, Neruda was a revolutionary. I don’t know much about his life, but I do know that when he started writing this kind of romantic lyric poetry rather than the political stuff he had been writing before, people were mad and called him a sell-out. I think that’s dumb. People make similar arguments about Makhdoom. The poet, just like the revolutionary, is inspired by all aspects of life around them. Not just the parts that are relegated to the realm of the “political.”


In my heart are the woes and the furies.- Quevedo


You, my antagonist, in that splintering dream
like the bristling glass of gardens, like a menace
of ruinous bells, volleys
of blackening ivy at the perfume’s center,
enemy of the great hipbones my skin has touched
with a harrowing dew, with a tongue of water-
whatever the mute winter of your teeth or the hate of your eyes,
whatever the warfare of perishing beasts who guard our oblivion,
in some dominion of the summer, we are one, 
ambushed with lips, in a cannonade of thirst.
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The Mother by Gwendolyn Brooks

Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled the air.
You will never neglect or beat
Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the sucking-thumb
Or scuttle off ghosts that come.
You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh,
Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.
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On your journey

I wrote this poem for my habibi a few years ago, before I decided to stop writing poetry so I could focus more on being a revolutionary. Little did I know that that was a terrible idea, and I am now trying to get back into touch with my creative side, this blog being a big part of that. I’ll write more about why I think revolutionaries need to express the different parts of themselves in a later post.

(This is a stencil my habibi made of us. Que romantico, no?)


On your journey


you come upon yet

another black door

through which to pass.

Your way is lit

from behind its cracks.

It opens in a breath.

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Makhdoom Mohiuddin’s Mount Sinai


yeheeN kee tHee mohabbat ke sabaq kee ibtidaa meN ne

yeheeN kee juraa’at-e izhaar-e harf-e mudaa meN ne

yeheeN dekHe tHe ishwe naaz o andaaz-e heyaa meN ne

yeheeN pehele sunee tHee dil dHaRakne kee sadaa meN ne


yeheeN kHetoN meN paanee ke kinaare yaad he ab bHee

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Makhdoom Mohiuddin’s The Silence


ko’ee dHaRkan  

naa ko’ee chaap  

naa sanchal  

naa ko’ee moj  

naa kisee saaNs kee garmee  

naa badan  


ese sunaTe meN ek aadH to patta kHaRke  

ko’ee pigHlaa hoowa motee  

ko’ee aaNsoo  

ko’ee dil  

kuchH bHee neheeN  

kithnee sunsaan he yeh raah guzar  

ko’ee rukhsaar to chamake, ko’ee bijlee to gire 

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