A Few Days More

A few days more, my dear, only a few days
Must we gasp in the shadow of tyranny
Bear oppression, writhe and weep.
This is our inherited condition:
Bodies imprisoned, feelings chained,
Thoughts captive and speech punished,
Yet we resolve to go on living.
Is life the coat of a pauper,
Hourly patched with scraps of pain?
But now the tyrant’s term expires,
Forbear a while, the days of grievance wane.
In this parched wasteland of our age
We must remain, but something will change —
The anonymous burden of foreign hands
We bear today, but not always.
This dust of hardship blurring your beauty,
Defeat on defeat in our transient youth,
The futile anguish of moonlit nights,
Fruitless throbbing of the heart
And the body’s wail of despair —
A few days more, my dear, only a few days.

Translation by Ruth L. Schmidt. This translation was first published in Annual of Urdu Studies 13 (1998), now made available by MINDS@UW under a Creative Commons license.