Agha Shahid Ali: “Not All, Only A Few Return” (After Ghalib)

tomb of muhammad ali jinnah in karachi

Not All, Only a Few Return
(after Ghalib)

Just a few return from dust, disguised as roses.
What hopes the earth forever covers, what faces?

I too could recall moonlit roofs, those nights of wine
But Time has shelved them now in Memory’s dimmed places.

She has left forever, let blood flow from my eyes
till my eyes are lamps lit for love’s darkest places.

All is hisSleep, Peace, Nightwhen on his arm your hair
shines to make him the god whom nothing effaces.

With wine, the palm’s lines, believe me, rush to Life’s stream
Look, here’s my hand, and here the red glass it raises.

See me! Beaten by sorrow, man is numbed to pain.
Grief has become the pain only pain erases.

World, should Ghalib keep weeping you will see a flood
drown your terraced cities, your marble palaces.

Agha Shahid Ali

Photo credit: Tomb of M. A. Jinnah in Karachi, Pakistan by skasuga


~ by matt on 28 December 2007.

2 Responses to “Agha Shahid Ali: “Not All, Only A Few Return” (After Ghalib)”

  1. wonderful . Great . Peace be
    to Shahid’s Soul.
    Autar K Mota
    Srinagar Kashmir

  2. Thank you, Autar. I truly miss this poet, now our Shahid, who left us early.
    May his soul always dwell in peace. Matt

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Natalie E. Illum...

is a poet, performer and disability activist. Bring her stumbling to your city.

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