Three Poetry

by Yasmeen Hameed


By Yasmeen Hameed, Translated from Urdu by Iffat Saeed
The smoky breath settles on the windows
once again, a city loses itself;
captive to the orbit of brick and mortar
I am the one alone on this perpetual stage of whirling time
seeping doubts creep
a flock of vivacious, gregarious females
leaps forward
looming towards me;
the heart burns in anguish,
scorches the flowery twigs
that blossomed in its orifice
a distrustful glance halts
stops short of the circuit of trust
once again inscribed in black and white
the charter of faith, special promise of love
renders itself into another contract
each leaf in the book of heart
is a witness
the book stands unread
scribble of the pen resounds
the voice of reason wraps itself
two names sunder and split
the long wait divides the terrain of the heart
winds break the silence
lights turn off
the household recedes into sleep;
another day slips past.


By Yasmeen Hameed, Translated from Urdu by Iffat Saeed
Household items like a mind, like some one’s corporeal self
became unholy,
freshly cooked food swept away in the open sewer
and the crawling animal on the ceiling
fell down on the floor with a thud,
a chasm broke through the wall
and she rushed outdoors.

Time at the end of day
is terrifying
Lights – light up and go off ,
nightmares planted in slumber
taint the day that follows.

Why do you scale epochs
by measures of days, months and years?
Who answered the prayers of suppliants
who spread out their palms in front of mythical gods?

Graves dug over a distance of a thousand years
remain the same,
and the rest – has it changed?
Has man changed?
Have his hand- made artifacts changed,
his weapons changed
or have the lessons in loyalty and treachery also changed?
How far apart is the world’s first lie
from the world’s last truth?
Has she been able to see through her enemy?

Civilization contoured beauty
on the face of the one at a distance;
abused and spat on the face of the one that came nearer
and filled its own lap with tears.


By Yasmeen Hameed, Translated from Urdu by Iffat Saeed
Let go
fling open the doors
free all the birds
these birds embody your being
your heart beats within them
your soulwithin them, lies agitated,
free them all.

The moment night falls,
in the flutter of wings,
all those tales
wake to life
that spin in your thoughts
resound in your ears
that you have written into being,
free them all.

Damp runs out of the thick dark,
tight shut eyes of the captives
remain awake, even in sleep
aghast with fear;
color their pale faces in gold
clad their cold bodies in new attires
free them all;
it is the last blood-circle
before the voyage of horror sets in
and icy breeze jams all shutters of life,
free them all.

Yasmeen Hameed is a Pakistani Urdu poet, translator and an educator. Yasmeen Hameed’s original literary contributions are her five books of poetry published in Urdu in 1988, 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2007. She has contributed to English writing through translation of contemporary Urdu poetry into English She has edited (in English), issues of Pakistani Literature published by the Pakistan Academy of Letters.[2] She has written scripts in English for cultural/fashion shows sponsored by the Government of Pakistan, performed in London in 1995 and Washington in 1996 and in the World cup cricket Cultural Festival in Pakistan in 1996. She has also contributed a monthly column to the “Books & Authors” supplement of The Daily Dawn newspaper. She has won

  • Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Medal of Distinction) for Literature awarded by the Government of Pakistan in 2008[2]
  • Fatima Jinnah Medal for Literature awarded by the Government of Punjab, Pakistan on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2006[2]
  • Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi Award for Poetry (2001) for the collection, Fana bhi eik saraab

Iffat Saeed is a writer and a translator based in Lahore Pakistan. He has translated the works of Yasmeen Hameed, Ada Jaffery, Munir Niazi amongst others.

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