The gold censer turned to fire, his body to aloe-wood.
Love’s nostrils grew fragrant by those fumes.
To those ashes by the heart’s fire,
Did those gathered set fire again.
Desolated by love, he grew peopled by flames.
Candle-like, by burning he became all bodied in light.
By that fire that love kindled by its breath,
Would a candle or moth have been charred.
His body, by that fire, burned like his soul.
To the water of the Ganges did they bear his bones.
The rakishly worn crown now turned a bubble.
In place of the Homā the fish finished the bones.
It was as if the king had turned a victorious sword,
That he got caught up in all that fire and water.

– Sa’d-Allah Masih Panipati. An account of Raja Jasrath’s death in separation from Ram

translated by Prashant Keshavmurthy



  • Persian in India’s Literary Ecology: The Case of a 17th Century Persian Ramayana []



The black of my irises,
those simple, reclusive Sufis of mine
swooned in the song-spell of his eyes.

I sensed him billow all around me,
radiating towards infinity
to the other side of life
like fire’s red pyramid,
like a cloud in spasm of rain,
like a sky embraced
by warm seasons’ breath.

I sensed that in the breeze
of his hands’ movements
the substance of my being
was disintegrating.
I sensed his heart peal inside mine
like the bell of a wandering sorcerer.

The clock took flight.
The curtain withdrew with the wind.
I had pressed him to myself
inside the halo of that fire
and I wanted to say something
but to my astonishment
his thick shadowing lashes
released themselves like silk strands
from the base of darkness
along desire’s long trail
and through the tremor
—that deathly tremor—
to the end of my end.

I sensed my release.
I sensed my release.

I sensed my skin crack from love’s dilating joy,
as my flaming mass melted slowly
and flowed, streamed and flowed
into the moon,  
a turbulent blurry moon
drowned in a ditch.

We had cried into each other.
We had madly lived a moment’s
ephemeral union inside one other.

– Forough Farrokhzad. Connection

translated by Sholeh Wolpé