Ghazal by Majeed Amjad


The roadside is the scent of scattered roses
All hues: red, vermilion, purple roses

On the horizon, the fog of all time
Songs, rivulets, winged life, butterflies, roses

Fully absorbed in her embroidery, sews
The rose-bride on the rose-world’s robe – roses

From the world of lachrymose dew, proud,"
They’re walking by, flashing smiles, those roses

See my torn robe-side and see the cowl of spring,
Here sprinkled stains of wine, over there – roses!

To give color to that flower face
Braided up in her curls – roses!

The thoughts of a lover are chain-linked tipsy seasons,
And the loved one’s beauty: a glimmer of roses

My eyes take each turn of the time signals as
A wave of blood, black smoke of the hearts, roses

Catching fire, just half-lit, silently laughing
Like the prophets’ radiant faces – roses!

What talisman is this? Whose hand is behind
This world within a world – of roses!

My life was but spent mourning for the loss of spring
Let them bloom on my grave, forever – the roses!


This poem was translated from the Urdu by Shiza Sophia Sabir.

MAJEED AMJAD (1914-1974) was a Pakistani poet and journalist who wrote in Urdu. His works have been published posthumously and his ghazals have been put to music by Pakistani artists.

SHIZA SOPHIA SABIR has translated some Persian works of Rumi, Hafiz, and Amir Khusrau, as well as many modern Pakistani poets into English. Her interest in literature ranges from Eastern and Western classics in English, Arabic, and Persian to contemporary French and Urdu poetry. She explores the effects of foreign poetic forms, such as the sonnet in Urdu or the ghazal in English, and is especially drawn to mystic themes.