The Love I Gave You Once


My beloved,
My own,
Do not demand the love
I gave you once.

For a moment, I really believed
That you alone gave meaning
To my withered life;
That the accelerating pain
Of my unrequited love,
Would make me forget
All other torments
Of this troubled world;
That your face lent stability
To the restless spring;
That nothing else mattered
In this empty world
But your deep, seductive eyes.

For a moment, I really believed
That if I could only possess you,
I could conquer Fate itself.

But all that was false,
A mere illusion.

This world of ours bleeds
With more pains than just the pain of love;
And many more pleasures beckon us all the time
Than just this fleeting pleasure of a reunion with you.

For untold centuries,
The affluent have always woven many webs of intrigue,
Dark and cruel and mysterious,
And dressed them up in silks and brocades.
And for all those years,
On every street and in every bazaar,
Human bodies have been brazenly sold,
Dressed in dust and bathed in blood,
Malnourished, misshapen and baked by disease.

Time and time again,
My eyes are diverted
To this tragic scene,
Your beauty is alluring as ever,
Your arms inviting as always:
But how can I ever ignore
All this ugliness, all this pain?

Yes, my love,
This world of ours bleeds
With more pains than just the pain of love;
And many more pleasures beckon us all the time
Than just the fleeting pleasure of a reunion with you.

My beloved,
My own,
Do not demand the love
I gave you once.


                  Urdu; trans. Mahbub-ul-Haq


Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Urdu, trans. Mahbub-ul-Haq, An Elusive Dawn: Selections from the Poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Pakistan National Commission for Unesco, 1985.