Where are they all? Some bloom again as tulips or as roses
There in the dust how many forms forever lie concealed!
I too remembered gatherings rich in all kinds of beauty
Now they are only forms and patterns on oblivion’s shelf
Sleep is for him, and pride for him, and nights for him
Upon whose arm your tresses all dishevelled lay
I went into the garden, and it seemed a school assembled
The nightingales heard my laments, then sang their songs of love
How ill my fate! her lowered eyes show only eyelashes
Why then, O God, is it that they can pierce right through my heart?
How, even if I reached her, could I answer her revilings?
All my fair words were spent in gaining access to her house
Wine gives such life to man that on the hand that takes the goblet
Every line seems like a vein through which the life-blood runs
Our creed is ‘God is one’, our cry, ‘Abandon rituals!’
So that communities dissolve to constitute one faith
When one becomes inured to sorrow, sorrow vanishes
Such hardships have befallen me that life is easy now.
– Mirza Ghalib
translated by Ralph Russell