English Poems

List of English poems published at Uddari since 2008. Includes translations, and poems extracted from larger posts

The Business of Burying is Booming by Fauzia Rafique
Rainshed Dream by Sana Janjua
Three Deaths in the Summer of 2014 by Sana Janjua
About to Shut the Door by Mahmood Awan. Translated from Punjabi by Fauzia Rafique
A Poem by Faiza. Translated from Punjabi by Fauzia Rafique
Nangi Naked by Fauzia Rafique
Blues Mooney by Sana Janjua
The Jolly Trinity by Fauzia Rafique
Holier Than Life by Fauzia Rafique
The Clowns of Blasphemy by Fauzia Rafique
Don’t Scold Me by Hamraz Ahsan
RIP Dear AI by Fauzia Rafique
Pakistan’s Mock Oscar by Fauzia Rafique
Naqi (Naghi) by Shahin Najafi
Freedom’s Dawn by Faiz Ahmad Faiz
Friends, for long years by Sahir Ludhianvi
A poem by Kabir
What needs to be said / Was gesagt werden muss by Gunter Grass
Stroll In a Particle by Ajmer Rode
Waiting by Fauzia Rafique
If no one answers your call, walk alone by Rabindranath Tagore
Mind Without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore
Poem by Iftikhar Nasim Ifti
My Father by Iftikhar Nasim Ifti
Ben Lion U Bin Baad Man by André Michael Tanker
Shariah-Compliant Bra by Fauzia Rafique
My True God by Faiz Ahmad Faiz
My Drone-dead Lover by Fauzia Rafique
Zindagi Bilas by Daya Singh extracts
Agaz by Manmohan
Smouldering Netherworld by Balbir Madhopuri
Fanah da Makan by Daya Singh
English Wars by Krisantha Sri Bhaggiyadatta
All is near to those meditating by Madhulal Hussain, trans. Fauzia Rafique
MERRY CHRISTMAS by Langston Hughes
In Priase of the High Shadow by Mahmoud Darwish
Porn Creation by Fauzia Rafique
Bhagat Singh’s Statue by Fahmida Riaz
Kalli by Ajmer Rode
Identity Card by Mahmoud Darwish
Yes by Kishwar Naheed
No by Kishwar Naheed
The Mongoose by Derek Walcott, extract
No More Watnu Dur by Sadhu Binning
Wishes by Zeeshan Sahil
Verse by Surjit Patar

Surjit Patar

These words embellished in colours would dissolve
And those chiselled in marble would get wiped out
Words that the burning hands scribbled across the winds
Shall remain written across the winds forever


Zeeshan Sahil

Wishing to become a tree
I became one
But could not afford shelter
To anyone

No bird perched on my branches
To sing
No squirrel made its home
In my trunk

The dew did not glimmer
On my green leaves
And for thousands of years
Even the termites kept away

Wishing to become a path
I became instead a bridge
Those who crossed over me
I never saw again

I was not set aflame in the war
Or hacked to pieces
That floated along in the distance
Keeping each other company

Wishing to become the sea
I became a solitary teardrop
Making its home
In a handkerchief
That was not clasped
To anyone’s breast
Not wrapped around
Anyone’s wrist
No one burnt it to ashes
To salve a wound

Wishing to become a story
I became a word
Falling from ashen lips
To spin forever
In the vortex
Echo in the wind
Remain buried
In someone’s breast

Translated from Urdu by Tehmina Ahmed


No More Watnu Dur
Sadhu Binning

letters that I wrote
to my family
to my friends
in the last one century
were all written
from a foreign land
to the motherland
but the letter that I just wrote
about the news of my father’s death
is written
from my country to another country
I wrote:
My father left his home a long time ago
he lived with the dream of
one day returning to his fields
to spend the last of his days in peace
now along with his body
all his dreams are melted into this land
I have dropped his ashes
in icy river water
he has become part of this soil



Kishwar Naheed

A delicate awareness of life
Dawned in the desolation of my body.
The deception of the shore’s indifference
And the futility of surging waves.
Every limb is asking:
Now tell us
If you know why a flower blossoms.
I laugh
And create a riot in the garden.

Translated by Baidar Bakht and Derek M. Cohen



Kishwar Naheed

Selling mirrors
In the lap of hope’s mountain,
I was alone reaping losses.
I was tall like the Pleiades,
Was concerned with only me;
Lost in myself

Marching apart,
I hated the glow of yes.
Then, I killed myself,
Drank my blood,
People had never heard
Such frightening laughter.

Translated by Baidar Bakht and Derek M. Cohen



Excerpts from ‘Madeeh Al-Thill Al-’Aly’
In Priase of the High Shadow
By Mahmoud Darwish

It is for you to be, or not to be,
It is for you to create, or not to create.
All existential questions, behind your shadow, are a farce,
And the universe is your small notebook, and you are its creator.
So write in it the paradise of genesis,
Or do not write it,
You, you are the question.
What do you want?
As you march from a legend, to a legend?
A flag?
What good have flags ever done?
Have they ever protected a city from the shrapnel of a bomb?
What do you want?
A newspaper?
Would the papers ever hatch a bird, or weave a grain?
What do you want?
Do the police know where the small earth will get impregnated from the coming winds?
What do you want?
Sovereignty over ashes?
While you are the master of our soul; the master of our ever-changing existence?
So leave,
For the place is not yours, nor are the garbage thrones.
You are the freedom of creation,
You are the creator of the roads,
And you are the anti-thesis of this era.
And leave,
Poor, like a prayer,
Barefoot, like a river in the path of rocks,
And delayed, like a clove

You, you are the question.
So leave to yourself,
For you are larger than people’s countries,
Larger than the space of the guillotine.
So leave to yourself,
Resigned to the wisdom of your heart,
Shrugging off the big cities, and the drawn sky,
And building an earth under your hand’s palm — a tent, an idea, or a grain.
So head to Golgotha,
And climb with me,
To return to the homeless soul its beginning.
What do you want?
For you are the master of our soul,
The master of our ever-changing existence.
You are the master of the ember,
The master of the flame.
How large the revolution,
How narrow the journey,
How grand the idea,
How small the state!



Zindagi Bilas
Daya Singh

Unity I see all around, wherever my eyes rove
Superior claims of faith, Hindus and Muslims fight over
Mere jugglery of words, Essence of Ram and Rahim the same
Of Castist belief untouchability born, both made of the soil same
Children of same parents, if they just see Origins
Forsaking God, they worship false objects, get astray into aimlessness
Give up evils for salvation, devils you remain sans praxis
Daya Singh has left partisanship, in every sector, every deed

Later in the same poem:

Creator is happy loving his Creation, be happy in the service of that creation
No knowledge without guru, beseech murshid for the purpose
Death is premium for lovers’ union, emboldened you be like true lover
Be reformed thoroughly before counselling others with confidence
Elated be not with worldly joys, be soaked in ishq’s spring
Reads He your heart’s letters, send your sweetheart an urgent telegram




It is said to me
The colour of your poem is black
Flat features
Tattered dress
Full of patches
Asymmetrical rhythm….
Sorrow appears before pleasure does
Pains peaks before peace….
Tell me now
If i don’t write poems like this
What should i do?



Smouldering Netherworld
Balbir Madhopuri

For smoked skinned people like me
I do want
My poems
Should be part of that anthology
That contains
Stories of Eklavaya and Banda Bahadur
Struggle of Pir Buddhu Shah
Sensitivity of Pablo Neruda



Fanah da Makan
Daya Singh

Varnas and religions all, exclusive claims of purity
Hindus with Har Narayan, hold their principles True
Pastors and Dayanandi Aryas pronounce, no deliverance without them
Exclusive rights in Heaven say Muslims, no place for Hindus there
God has no enmity with Hindus, keeps no exclusive place for Muslims
Fight they all over religion, without knowing the Unknown
Filthy n empty sans good deeds, paupers they are, without a penny
Daya Singh false claims the world may make; no recognition without actions



Ben Lion U Bin Baad Man
André Michael Tanker

Tat Tat TaTaTa Tat, Tat Tat TaTaTa Tat
La la lalaaiee, La La la la la la lalaaaiee

Ben Lion U Bin Baad Man
Why O Why suh Why yuh go wine in dese people place..
Ben Ruude Boy, Ben Baaad Boy,
Say you wine right down to de ground and mash up de place…

De eagle was flying high
Until you cause him to cry
Now all all over de dance dey calling your name…
Dey say you are wanted man
And it is time dat you understan’
De tings dat dey say you do dey coming for you…

Ben Lion Bin Baad Man (1)

Wha did yoo umb boom ba bam bam (4)

Now Bulldog looking for you
India helping them too
Monkey jump up and throw a net was master de fence
Things not like they was before
These grounds(?) are spreading(?) war
And the party is who could wine who could go win this time
So yuh best ask wine

Ben Lion Ben Baad Man (1)

Wha did yoo um boom bam bam (6)
Lala …

Dey want you to misbehave
To come out your cave and wave
Dey want you to form a line to stand up and wine…
(wine for them!)
But you too fast on your feet
And you know your way round de street
You wave shifting from side to side dey can’t get inside
(Dey aiming wide….)

Ben Lion Ben Baad Man (1)

All Caribbean, Hohoh!,
Come inside de fence,
All American, Ho! Ho!
Come inside de fence
All Afghanistan! Ho! Ho! Ho!,
De more defense I have is one world, a free world

La la lalaieee…

Bushman jump in de line
He say what is yours is mine
Bring Madonna to help him move was a waste of time
So he sent for Jennifer
(J-Lo!), a hip dancer
So to get him to move in time but de man can’t wine…
(He jes can’t wine)

Ben Lion Ben Baad Man (1)

Dey say dat dey catch a man
Dey tink dat is Ben Lion
But dey never check for de wine
Dat was his true sign!
So his feat are paying for all
We really having a ball…
Look out for de real Lion in de Carnival
Look, Bacchanal…

Ben Lion Ben Baad Man (1)

All Caribbean! Hohoh!
Come inside in de fence,
All American, Ho! Ho!
Come inside in de fence,
All Afghanistan, Ho! Ho! Ho!
The more defense I have is one world, A free world

(They want you to misbehave…
To come out your cave and wave)
La la la…



Iftikhar Nasim Ifti

There was no knock at the door
My cats were waiting in the foyer,
Listening to the steps passing by.
Children were knocking at door
of the apartment in front of mine.
“Trick or treat. Trick or treat”
My money jar full of quarters
looked so empty.
What happened? Who played
These dirty tricks on me?
Thirty one year as a law abiding citizen
I am still a foreigner. Foreigner
With a crude face and features of
a terrorist. My color two shade
Darker than an average white man
Is not accepted anymore.
My café ole color, once I was so proud of,
Is a guilt trip for me now.
My ethnicity has become a crime.

Mean streets of Chicago have become meaner.
“Go back to your country. Go back to your country.”
They yell at me.
And I am a citizen of USA
with no country.
Airports, train stations, shopping malls, schools,
Hospitals wherever I go, I am watched and scrutinized.
I yearn for the freedom I came here for.
Right now I am worst than a slave.
I am tired. I am tired. I feel like Rosa Park
and there is no bus for me.
Because I am not only two shade darker
than an average white man
But I am also a Muslim

Iftikhar Nasim Ifti – English and Urdu Poems


My Father
Iftikhar Nasim Ifti

My father,
everyone says
my appearence
resemble yours.

My eyes
my forehead
my lips
my accent
the way I talk
sit around
the way I walk;
movement of my hands,
everything is like yours only.

I have heard that the son
is the heir of his father’s lineage.

A questions comes to my mind.
If I am exactly like you
then why my sexual preference
is so much different from yours?



Mind Without Fear
Rabindranath Tagore

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.



If no one answers your call, walk alone
Rabindranath Tagore

If no one answers your call
Make a stride and walk alone.
When you see everyone closed
Open your mind and speak alone.

If they turn away and desert
And the wild path obstacles exert
Trample thorns no matter the hurt
Alone on the blood-stained track you traverse.

If no one holds up the light
And a fierce storm shakes the night
With its thunderbolt flame ignite
Your heart, alone, and let it burn bright.



Stroll In a Particle
Ajmer Rode

If you can find
a path into it
there is enough
space in this
to stroll for a lifetime.



A Poem

I’m grapefruit
And I’m sweet lime
I’m Hindu
And I’m Muslim

I’m fish
And I’m net
I’m fisherman
And I’m time

I’m nothing
Says Kabir
I’m not among the living
Or the dead

Translated from Punjabi by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra



Friends, for long years
Sahir Ludhianvi

Friends, for long years
I have spun dreams of the moon and stars and spring for you,
Today my tattered garments hold nothing
But the dust of the road that we have travelled.
The music in my harp has been strangled
Its tunes buried by wails and screams
Peace and civilization are the alms I crave
So that my lips can learn how to sing again.



Freedom’s Dawn
Faiz Ahmad Faiz

This leprous daybreak, dawn night’s fangs have mangled—
This is not that long -looked-for break of day,
Not that clear dawn in quest of which those comrades
Set out, believing that in heaven’s wide void
Somewhere must be the star’s last halting place,
Somewhere the verge of night’s slow-washing tide,
Somewhere an anchorage for the ship of heartache.
But now, word goes, the birth of day from darkness
Is finished, wandering feet stand at their goal;
Our leaders’ ways are altering, festive looks
Are all the fashion, discontent reproved;–
And yet this physic still on unslaked eye
Or heart fevered by severance works no cure.
Where did that fine breeze, that the wayside lamp
Has not once felt, blow from—where has it fled?
Night’s heaviness is unlessened still, the hour
Of mind and spirit’s ransom has not struck;
Let us go on, our goal is not reached yet.



Don’t Scold Me
Hamraz Ahsan

Don’t scold me
The worthlessness immersed in my soul
I took the leash of the beast within
And collared myself instead

Don’t scold me
I left both mammon and mother
To take a peek at the firmament
I returned disenchanted, Adam’s brood once more

Don’t scold me
I have wept in my dreams
Churning the vat of my heart
Hot tears my only curd

Don’t scold me
I have worn out my soul
For each act I was given a different costume
Made by the designer, I simply put it on

Don’t scold me
In the dust before me glint particles of sand
In my sky only darkness reins
Stars are trodden underfoot

Don’t scold me
My mantra neither Rab nor Rama
I seek benediction without supplication
Clutching neither Koran nor Gita

Don’t scold me
I have forged eternal bonds with fire
Red embers caress my palms
I, the baker, whose hand is married to the burning clay oven

Don’t scold me
I met my groom in my dotage
My ear rings hang loose from my ears
My nose cannot bear the knobbing ornament’s weight

Translated by the poet from Punjabi

4 comments on “English Poems

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