Through the Closed Doorway

Through the Closed Doorway

Product ID: 13177

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Author: Shahryar
Translator(s): Rakhshanda Jalil
Publisher: Rupa
Year: 2004
Language: English
Pages: 105
ISBN/UPC (if available): 812910458X


Urdu poetry is often understood to be about little other than courtly love and romantic excess, about the lament of the bulbul and the frenzied passion of the shama-parwana. In Shahryar's skillful hands, the Urdu ghazal and nazm have acquired a new potency and immediacy within their time-honoured confines. The joys and sorrows of ordinary, lived experiences, the complexities and ambivalences of city life, the oppressive sense of melancholy and dislocation of the urban milieu-these and other such permutations form the rubric of his poetry.

Reading poetry in translations has been described as an experience similar to looking at the wrong side of a carpet, for a translation can seldom match the colour and sheen, the play of light and shade, the intricate word patterns of the original. Retaining the compactness and metaphoric precision of Shahryar's nazms while also carrying into English some of the rhythm and rhyme of the poet's own, often idiosyncratic use of words and silences, can be quite daunting. Unlike English, metrical patterns in Urdu depend on line lengths and lengths of syllables rather than stresses. There is also no preordained word order and punctuation is seldom used, the poet preferring to allow natural pauses to do the job. Frog-marching the rhythm of the nazi into English results in ungainly, dangling sentences. And nothing can be more tiresome than a clumsy jumble of words being passed off as poetry in translation.



A Black poem
Let me speak
Do You remember?
In the defense of sleepless nights
An inchoate desire
It is time to reap
Stay by me
Another attempt at soliloquy
Who was it?
The furnace has chilled
The sound of waterfalls
When the wind lulls
The enchantment of sleep
Once more the journey becomes endless
A wish
A prayer
A new game
Death of a shadow
From one moment to the next
A precious moment
A beam or two of sunlight
Dirt tracks
An excuse for immortality
In the name of the Indian inelligentsia
I, too, am one of them
A bewildering thing
Words, my companions
Strike a deal with sleep
From closed eyes
Another death
What was she?
Endless silence
In the desert of time
This year
The torrent of sleep
The sheltering trees
A strange predicament
I won't lie awake
After today
I had planned
Come in the boat of your body
The river of blood
The clasps of the body
The crumbling wall
Unspeakable words
Come, softly, here
The reslut of the game
Moment of terror
The earth asks us
The moment for the blowing of conches
The latest news
At the bend
Eyes that dream
Love's fatigue
An admission of helplesness
The fury of desires
The square earth becomes round
This night
Where are you
Inimical world
The last night
On the other side of night's ocean
Journey's evening
The journey of voices
To do with stories
A politicla poem
A new horizon
In a moment
A wondrous sight
The reign of mist
Think again
Still life
Call from the unseen
Yet another prophecy
The desire for life
A droplet of blood
A new story
Glad tidings
The harbinger of revolution
His share of the earth
The first dialogue with the self
We shall follow
Opening the doorway to tge horizon
The Return