Before You Came

Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Translated by Agha Shahid Ali
 
Before you came,
things were as they should be:
the sky was the dead-end of sight,
the road was just a road, wine merely wine.
Now everything is like my heart,
a color at the edge of blood:
the grey of your absence, the color of poison, of thorns,
the gold when we meet, the season ablaze,
the yellow of autumn, the red of flowers, of flames,
and the black when you cover the earth
with the coal of dead fires.
And the sky, the road, the glass of wine?
The sky is a shirt wet with tears,
the road a vein about to break,
and the glass of wine a mirror in which
the sky, the road, the world keep changing.
Don't leave now that you're here—
Stay. So the world may become like itself again:
so the sky may be the sky,
the road a road,
and the glass of wine not a mirror, just a glass of wine.
 
From The Rebel's Silhouette by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, translated by Agha Shahid Ali. Copyright © 1991 by Agha Shahid Ali. Used by permission of University of Massachusetts Press.

Poems by This Author

You Tell Us What to Do by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
When we launched life
Bangladesh II by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
This is how my sorrow became visible
Be Near Me by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Be near me now
Blackout by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Since our lights were extinguished
When Autumn Came by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
This is the way that autumn came to the trees


Further Reading

Poems about Objects
Tender Buttons [Objects]
by Gertrude Stein
A blurry photograph
by Martha Ronk
Amethyst Beads
by Eavan Boland
Blue Hanuman
by Joan Larkin
Compendium of Lost Objects
by Nicole Cooley
No mode of excitement is absolutely colorless
by Mónica de la Torre
Orkney Interior
by Ian Hamilton Finlay
Postcards
by E. Ethelbert Miller
Private Beach
by Jane Kenyon
The Hammers
by Jericho Brown
The Things
by Donald Hall
What the Angels Left
by Marie Howe
White Box (notes)
by Laura Mullen
Woman in Front of Poster of Herself
by Alice Notley