• Nehru

    Alone, I never saw him
    And yet, whenever I saw him he was alone
    Like a spring somewhere in the desert
    Or a lighthouse in the ocean
    Or like thought amidst engulfing prejudice
    For centuries, thought has always stood alone
    For centuries, consciousness has always stood alone.

    And alone he wandered
    Through worlds new and old
    In mute darkness sometimes
    And sometimes, in the scorching sun
    And sometimes, in the moonlight of a dream
    His destiny was an uending search
    He looked for himself in every story he read.

    Burdens bent his back
    But in stature he grew taller still
    In struggle between good and evil
    Or in battles worthy in life
    He was always the first martyr
    The first always to ascend the cross

  • Lamp

    Not one, but twenty-six lamps,
    One by one, I have lighted today.

    One I lit in the name of freedom
    With burning lips it said:
    Ask for wheat from any nation
    We have the freedom to beg.

    One I lit in the name of prosperity
    The moment it was lighted
    It illuminated our confused reality:
    My stomach is empty, my pocket is empty.

    One I lit in the name of unity
    Wherever its light was able to reach
    We saw communities lose amity
    We saw a mother's shelter breach
    Its joints coming apart simultaneously.

    Exasperated, my wife shouted out
    Oil is dear and just not there
    Why have you lighted so many lamps
    o balcony or terrace, our house is bare
    There is no place for dreams anywhere.

    A wavw of anger
    Blew away the lamps
    But, yes, just one remained
    Its name is hope and it flickers on.

You can read more poems of Kaifi Azmi translated to English http://www.azmikaifi.com/collection/english-translation/