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Excerpts from Khusrau's Persian Poetry

Khusrau produced a large volume of poetry that in his lifetime, but very little of it has so far been translated into English or any other language. Following are the English renderings of some of his Persian works, collected from various sources. Many of these are also sung by Qawwals. You can read some of them in Persian script here.

Kafir-e-ishqam musalmani mara darkaar neest
Har rag-e mun taar gashta hajat-e zunnaar neest;
Az sar-e baaleen-e mun bar khez ay naadaan tabeeb
Dard mand-e ishq ra daroo bajuz deedaar neest;
Nakhuda dar kashti-e maagar nabashad go mubaash
Makhuda daareem mara nakhuda darkaar neest;
Khalq mi goyad ki Khusrau but parasti mi kunad
Aarey aarey mi kunam ba khalq mara kaar neest.

I am a pagan and a worshipper of love: the creed (of Muslims) I do not need;
Every vein of mine has become taunt like a wire,
the (Brahman’s) girdle I do not need.
Leave from my bedside, you ignorant physician!
The only cure for the patient of love is the sight of his beloved –
other than this no medicine does he need.
If there be no pilot in our boat, let there be none:
We have god in our midst: the sea we do not need.
The people of the world say that Khusrau worships idols.
So he does, so he does; the people he does not need,
the world he does not need.

(Trans. Dr.Hadi Hasan)

Nami danam chi manzil bood shab jaay ki man boodam;
Baharsu raqs-e bismil bood shab jaay ki man boodam.
Pari paikar nigaar-e sarw qadde laala rukhsare;
Sarapa aafat-e dil bood shab jaay ki man boodam.
Khuda khud meer-e majlis bood andar laamakan Khusrau;
Muhammad shamm-e mehfil bood shab jaay ki man boodam.

(Read this poem in Persian script)

I wonder what was the place where I was last night,
All around me were half-slaughtered victims of love,
tossing about in agony.
There was a nymph-like beloved with cypress-like form
and tulip-like face,
Ruthlessly playing havoc with the hearts of the lovers.
God himself was the master of ceremonies in that heavenly court,
oh Khusro, where (the face of) the Prophet too was shedding light
like a candle.

(trans. S.A.H.Abidi)

Khabaram raseed imshab ki nigaar khuahi aamad;
Sar-e man fidaa-e raah-e ki sawaar khuahi aamad.
Ham-e aahwan-e sehra sar-e khud nihada bar kaf;
Ba-umeed aanki rozi bashikaar khuahi aamad.
Kashishi ki ishq daarad naguzaradat badinsaa;
Ba-janazah gar nayai ba-mazaar khuahi aamad.
Balabam raseed jaanam fabiya ki zindah maanam;
Pas azan ki man na-maanam bacha kar khuahi aaamad.

(This poem in Persian script)

Tonight there came a news that you, oh beloved, would come –
Be my head sacrificed to the road along which you will come riding!
All the gazelles of the desert have put their heads on their hands
In the hope that one day you will come to hunt them….
The attraction of love won’t leave you unmoved;
Should you not come to my funeral,
you’ll definitely come to my grave.
My soul has come on my lips (e.g. I am on the point of expiring);
Come so that I may remain alive -
After I am no longer – for what purpose will you come?

(trans. A. Schimmel)

Bakhubi hamcho mah tabindah baashi;
Bamulk-e dilbari paayindah baashi.
Man-e darvish ra kushti baghamzah;
Karam kardi Ilahi zindah baashi.
Jafaa kam kun ki farda roz-e mehshar;
Baru-e aashiqan sharmindah baashi.
Ze qaid-e dojahan azad baasham;
Agar tu hum-nashin-e bandah baashi.
Barindi-o bashokhi hamcho Khusrau;
Hazaran khanuman barkandah baashi.

May your charming face ever shine like the full moon;
May you hold eternal sway over the domains of beauty.
By your amorous glance you have killed a poor man like me;
How magnanimous of you? May God give you a long life.
Pray do not be cruel lest you should feel ashamed of yourself
Before your lovers on the day of judgment.
I shall be set free from the bonds of the two worlds
If you become my companion for a while.
By your wanton playfulness you must have destroyed
Thousands of hearts of lovers like that of Khusrau.

(trans. S.A.H.Abidi)

Ay chehra-e zeba-e tu rashk-e butan-e azari;
Har chand wasfat mikunam dar husn-az-aan zebatari.
Aafaq ra gar deedah am mehr-e butan warzeedah am;
Bisyar khuban deedah am lekin tu cheez-e degari.
Man tu shudam, tu man shudi, man tan shudam, tu jan shudi;
Taakas nagoyad baad azeen man deegaram tu deegari.
Khusrau ghareeb ast-o gada uftadah dar shehr-e shuma;
Baashad ki az behr-e khuda, su-e ghareeban bangari.

O you whose beautiful face is the envy of the idols of Azar
(Abraham's father and famous idol maker);
You remain superior to my praise.
All over the world have I traveled;
many a maiden’s love have I tasted;
Many a beauty-star have I seen; but you are something unique.
I have become you, and you me; I have become the body,
you the soul; So that none hereafter may say
that “I am someone and you someone else.”
Khusro a beggar, a stranger has come wandering to your town;
For the sake of god, have pity on this beggar
and do not turn him away from your door.

(trans. Dr. Hadi Hasan)

Zehal-e miskin makun taghaful, duraye naina banaye batiyan;
ki taab-e hijran nadaram ay jaan, na leho kaahe lagaye chhatiyan.
Shaban-e hijran daraz chun zulf wa roz-e waslat cho umr kotah;
Sakhi piya ko jo main na dekhun to kaise kaatun andheri ratiyan.
Yakayak az dil do chashm-e jadoo basad farebam baburd taskin;
Kise pari hai jo jaa sunaave piyare pi ko hamaari batiyan.
Cho sham’a sozan cho zarra hairan hamesha giryan be ishq aan meh;
Na neend naina na ang chaina na aap aaven na bhejen patiyan.
Bahaqq-e roz-e wisal-e dilbar ki daad mara ghareeb Khusrau;
Sapet man ke waraaye raakhun jo jaaye paaon piya ke khatiyan.

(Read this poem in Persian script)

Do not overlook my misery by blandishing your eyes,
and weaving tales; My patience has over-brimmed,
O sweetheart, why do you not take me to your bosom.
Long like curls in the night of separation,
short like life on the day of our union;
My dear, how will I pass the dark dungeon night
without your face before.
Suddenly, using a thousand tricks, the enchanting eyes robbed me
of my tranquil mind;
Who would care to go and report this matter to my darling?
Tossed and bewildered, like a flickering candle,
I roam about in the fire of love;
Sleepless eyes, restless body,
neither comes she, nor any message.
In honour of the day I meet my beloved
who has lured me so long, O Khusro;
I shall keep my heart suppressed,
if ever I get a chance to get to her trick.

(trans. M. Rehman)

Jan zatan burdi wa darjani hunooz;
Dard-ha daadi wa darmani hunooz.
Aashkara seen-e am bashugaafti;
Hamchunan dar seen-e pinhani hunooz.
Ma za girya chun namak bagudakhtim;
Tu bakhunda shukr afshani hunooz.

You carried the soul from (my) body – and yet,
You are still in the soul;
You have given pains – and are still the remedy;
Openly you split my breast –
Yet, you are still hidden in my heart.
You have destroyed the kingdom of my heart
With the sword of coquetry,
And are still a ruler in that place….

(trans. A. Schimmel)

Abr mi barad-o man shovm-e az yar-e judaa
Choon kunam dil becheneen roz zedildar judaa.
Abr baraan wa man-o yar satadah ba-widaa’
Man judaa girya kunaan, abr judaa, yaar judaa

The cloud weeps, and I become separated from my friend -
How can I separate my heart from my heart’s friend on such a day.
The cloud weeping – and I and the friend standing, bidding farewell -
I weeping separately, the clouds separately, the friend separately…..

(trans. A. Schimmel)

Also see some interesting English translations of Khusro's Ghazals by J. H. Hindley and Iraj Bashiri (Aye chehra-e zeba-e tu, rashk-e butaan-e aazeri..., and Nami danam che manzil bood shab jae ki mun boodam...)

Yousuf Saeed, 2001-2003