Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938)
The world is under His proud power’s sway
Whom all things were created to obey.
The sun itself is nothing but a mark
Of long prostration on the brow of day.
My heart is lit up by an inner flame;
Tears of blood lend my eyes a cosmic frame.
May he stray farther from life’s mystery
Who thinks that madness is Love’s other name.
Love breathes spring breezes upon garden bowers,
And it star-spangles hills and dales with flowers.
Its sunbeams pierce the darkness of the sea
And give the eyes of fish path-seeing powers.
Love humbles falcons’ proud, predaceous might,
And it makes tiny quails put them to flight.
However carefully we guard our hearts,
Love ambushes them in the quiet night.
Love paints the tulip’s leaves a vivid red,
And storms our hearts with its disastrous flood.
Split up your carnal frame and see how Love
Paves its way through your being’s core with blood.
On very few men is Love’s wealth bestowed;
Not all men find it does their system good.
The tulip’s breast glows with a purple heart,
But cold and sparkless is the ruby’s red.
I roam this garden like its flowers’ scent,
Not knowing on what quest my heart is bent.
Whatever be the fate of my desire,
Its fire in my breast never will be spent.
This world is mere dust and the heart its fruit–
A drop of blood at all its troubles’ root!
If we had not a double vision, we
Would find our world within our heart’s retreat.
"O gardener", said the nightingale one morn,
"No plant but grief has this soil ever borne.
The rose dies as soon as it reaches youth;
To a ripe old age lives the desert thorn."
From nothing did this world originate.
Loss and gain are twin principles in it.
Destroy the old: on its foundations build
Afresh. For Time’s sweet will we cannot wait.
Message from the East Versified English Translation A SELECTIVE VERSE RENDERING OF IQBAL’S "PAYAM-I-MASHRIQ"