17 July 2011

The Sigh That Breathes Fire

Today, the sun was puzzled,
opened a window of light,
closed a window of clouds
and descended the stairs of darkness.

There was a sheen of perspiration
on the eyebrows of the sky,
I don't know why.
Shedding his moon-shirt,
be undid the stars.

Now I sit here in a corner of my being
A memory of you came
like the thick and bitter smoke
that rises from damp wood.

With it came so many thoughts -
the way parched wood breaths out
its crimson sighs of flame.

I have put out both those fires.
The years of my life are like scattered coals.
Some have gone out, some smoulder still.
The hand of Time began to sweep them aside
and he blistered his fingertips.

From the hands of your love
I this earthen vessel fell, and was broken.
History came to my kitchen today,
but went away hungry.

Amrita Pritam
(translated from Punjabi by Arlene Zide)

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