Get Your Premium Membership

Mirza Ghalib translations

Near Sainthood
by Mirza Ghalib
translation by Kanu V. Prajapati and Michael R. Burch

On the subject of mystic philosophy, Ghalib,
your words might have seemed deeply profound
and we might have pronounced you a saint...
if only we hadn't found
you drunk
as a skunk!

by Mirza Ghalib
translation by Michael R. Burch

Not the blossomings of song nor the adornments of music:
I am the voice of my own heart breaking.

You toy with your long, dark curls
while I remain captive to my black, pensive thoughts.

We congratulate ourselves that we two are different:
this weakness has burdened us both with inchoate grief.

Now you are here, and I find myself bowing:
as if sadness is a blessing and longing a sacrament.

I am a fragment of sound rebounding;
you are the walls impounding my echoes.

by Mirza Ghalib
translation by Michael R. Burch

The miracle of your absence
is that I found myself endlessly searching for you.

The Mistake
by Mirza Ghalib
translation by Michael R. Burch

All your life, O Ghalib,
You kept repeating the same mistake:
Your face was dirty
But you were obsessed with cleaning the mirror!

by Mirza Ghalib
translation by Michael R. Burch

Life becomes even more complicated
when a man can't think like a man...

What irrationality makes me so dependent on her
that I rush off an hour early, then get annoyed when she's "late"?

My lover is so striking! She demands to be seen.
The mirror reflects only her image, yet still dazzles and confounds my eyes.

Love's stings have left me the deep scar of happiness
while she hovers above me, illuminated.

She promised not to torment me, but only after I was mortally wounded.
How easily she "repents," my lovely slayer!

by Mirza Ghalib
translation by Michael R. Burch

It's time for the world to hear Ghalib again!
May these words and their shadows like doors remain open.

Tonight the watery mirror of stars appears
while night-blooming flowers gather where beauty rests.

She who knows my desire is speaking,
or at least her lips have recently moved me.

Why is grief the fundamental element of night
when everything falls as the distant stars rise?

Tell me, how can I be happy vast oceans from home
when mail from my beloved lies here, so recently opened?

It's Only My Heart!
by Mirza Ghalib
translation by Michael R. Burch

It's only my heart, not unfeeling stone,
so why be dismayed when it throbs with pain?
It was made to suffer ten thousand darts;
why let one more torment impede us?

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019

Post Comments
Please Login to post a comment
Date: 10/13/2019 9:19:00 AM
Brilliant.. a great poet..
Login to Reply
Burch Avatar
Michael Burch
Date: 10/13/2019 3:45:00 PM
I think Mirza Ghalib was a great poet. You may enjoy my translations of other Urdu poets on this page: