I said to my heart, let us wander—
An order has gone out that we
Be exiled again from our home.
Let us send echoes down the streets
As we turn from city to city
Searching for some sign
Of a friend with news to tell us.
Let us ask every stranger if
He knows the place where we once lived.
At the end of some urban maze
We will make nights from days,
Talking sometimes to someone
And sometimes to someone else.
The night of longing is a grim trial,
But how could I describe it to you?
We were destined to make a way,
Somehow, to the old conclusion . . .
“Once it comes, if it comes once
And for all, death will be no burden.”
Faiz Ahmed Faiz(1911–1984) was, in addition to the greatest Urdu poet of his generation, a prominent journalist, editor, and leftist.
Andrew McCord is translating poems for a projected book called Heart’s Companion: Last Poems of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. (2002)