Poem # 77
O GOLDEN ORIOLE !
golden oriole, winter's gone,
Gay spring has come again !
Step out and feast your weary eyes
On the myraid flowers abloom.
Born in a cage where the candle
Of your life has guttered low,
Shed your fear, and spreading wings,
Learn flight in God's free air.
Flowering plants have spread their arms;
Perch on the bough your fancy takes;
But with an alien as your gardener,
This freedom won't remain.
Know how precious midsummer is;
Don't let your youth run waste !
Pour the wine of universal love,
For all men are friends, not foes.
Goodness does not discriminate
Between the high and the low;
There's no greatness in lavishing bounty
On one's own kin alone.
Strength lies not in severe reprisals
Nor in cruel revenge;
You can win over bitterest foes
With the force of love alone.
Hawks have left your garden,
And birds are all in song -
But if you yourself turn a hawk,
How futile was this change !
Naive indeed is your faith to see
As saviours and redeemers
Interloping birds that burn
With envy of your lot.
The earthworm knows how the hoopoe bites -
Not others unaffected -
This grand high-turbaned bird who has
A retinue of hawks and crows.
The Wular Lake is still in flood,
The North Wind howling strong;
The shore is far away, and you
Must steer your course with care.
Mahjoor has always sung love songs
In freedom in his garden.
'This is no way', the new bulbuls say,
'He must enter a cage !'
Poem # 78
Let us all offer thanksgiving,
For Freedom has come to us;
It's after ages that she has beamed
Her radiance on us.
In western climes Freedom comes
With a shower of light and grace,
But dry, sterile thunder is all
She has for our own soil.
Poverty and starvation,
Repression and lawlessness, -
It's with these happy blessings
That she has come to us.
Freedom, being of heavenly birth,
Can't move from door to door;
You'll find her camping in the homes
Of a chosen few alone.
She says she will not tolerate
Any wealth in private hands;
That's why they are wringing capital
Out of the hands of everyone.
There's mourning in every house
But in sequestered bowers
Our rulers, like bridegrooms,
Are in Alliance win Freedom.
Nabir Sheikh knows what Freedom means,
For his wife was whisked away.
He went on complaining until
She bore Freedom in a new home !
They searched her armpits seven times
To see if she was hiding rice;
In a basket covered with a shawl
The peasant's wife brought Freedom home.
There's restlessness in every heart,
But no one dare speak out -
Afraid that with their free expression
Freedom may be annoyed.