My Three Flowers Are Thirsty (and two other poems)

Original by Sara Shagufta
Translated, from the Urdu, by Arshi Yaseen


My Three Flowers are Thirsty

Falling of the mother’s tears to the ground
Is mere a thing of fun for the folks around
I’ve only seven days left to meet the death
The farewell shouldn’t be something like that!
The motherly hand is going to rest,
The tales would be weaved by my clothing’s thread
Thou don’t wail, as so much depressed is my blood
Thou don’t need to shower petals over my gravestone
As, the departed eyes would continue to live somewhere around

Maniac I wasn’t but they’re
Who stepped into my blood
I wish I could gift thee, wrapping my eyes
The eyes, which have been the most spendthrift
I had shared out a plenty of smiles
That my lips were bereaved of their own

Somebody shares food on my soul’s behalf
And himself starves
Someone carries my bier on the shoulders
And then goes past

Three flowers of my garland are left thirsty
Before then I get soften into the mud
Please do justice with me ___
Pardon me for my wrong ways,
I’m like a rope wavering in the well
That could burn to ashes
But couldn’t quench its thirstiness
On thy palms, I wish to put my eyes
And to many, I don’t even want to say goodbye

The Bridewell

Our half a torso is virtue and the other half is evil
And that’s the true human who honestly owns the whole

A supreme man-eater is a word
Subject thou to the bridewell

My arguments were a thing of fun for the folks
But I pleased much my dummy pretences
I continued to pilfer fortunes from the life’s selvedge
I never spent and distributed the whole coinage
I had been filling my flagons for the price
And my thirst costed me very high-priced

Someone told!
“Who born out of your wombs,
Because of your forbearance they had died:”
And the generous maid had to be exiled

Since the ocean begin to flow nearby
The children of my neighbourhood don’t go far away
Their mothers say
The ball is more expensive than the play
The tellers tell
Your mother is coughing
And costs four-annas even the empty bottle of the medicine
Either I’m the cause of her torment
Or the grave placed at somewhere land

The birth of a serpent-stone is a celebration too
But I have become more venomous than that
I cannot dance around my bead like heart

The peacock is crying for his feet
I’m crying for my humans
Whose fields’ wages are fixed up to the starvation

One more nail is driven into, when the shoes are damaged
So a new journey may be invented

Someone’s imaginary art-pieces will be paid off
And somebody might not even come up to perfection

Before the sunrise,
Instantly, the name of neighbourhood is changed
And the baby’s age is engraved on the gravestone

I was too used to think like the wooden-bars
I’d congratulate the departing one
And say good-bye to the coming one
Sculpt the bars so that we may create a new meaning of this imprison


O’ My Magnanimous God

The complainers always
Embraced me half-heartedly

While a human has two births
Then what is the purpose of this
Prolonged evening-interlude?

Living under my own watch
Made me dwindling
When the dogs sighted the Moon
They forgot to keep their clothing

Remained firm, even when I was severely hurt
But too repressed now under thy command
Hunting me, the solitude
O’ my magnanimous God
I kept praying to you even in the autumn season
But thou sentence the killer to keep slaying the killed one

I couldn’t bring home the unseen wild creeper
Then I engraved on my eyes’ jute-floor
I always would depart my body through the eyes
Then would return to life by the treads.
















Sara Shagufta (1954-1984) was a Pakistani poet who wrote in Punjabi and Urdu.

Arshi Yaseen is a graduate in English Literature from Lahore, Pakistan. She loves to translate Urdu poetry into English. Her translations have appeared in Columbia Journal.