Saqi Farooqi

      An Injured Tomcat in an Empty Sack

Jan Muhmamad Khan
            the road is hard
This empty rice-sack
            stifles me
The stiff jute bars pierce my heart
And into the yellow bowls
            of my eyes
Coins of moonlight clink, chink
Night spreads through my body

Now who will light fires
            on your naked back?
Who will fan the coals?
Who will make the bloody flowers of struggle
            burst into bloom?
From my flint-and-steel claws
the life is gone
            Today the road is hard

Quite soon this path
breaks and falls into a dirty pond
Alone in my coffin
            I'll curl up and sleep
I'll dissolve into water
And you must go on—
go on deep-sleep-walking
And the sack that you don't see—
you don't know your own empty sack
Jan Muhmamad Kahn
            the road is hard

                        –Urdu; trans. Frances W. Pritchett

Saqi Farooqi, Urdu, trans. Frances W. Pritchett, A Listening Game, Lokamaya Press, 1987.